Stomachs full of Thanksgiving leftovers, closets full of Christmas presents, and now it’s time for Giving Tuesday.
First launched in 2012, the day was conceived to kickstart end-of-year charitable donations, many of which are made during this final month of the year. Originally about 1,400 organizations participated. Today, the concept has become so popular that the Giving Tuesday website is slow as molasses, presumably because so many people are looking it up.
Whatever the reason, we’re fully behind the notion of taking a minute to consider the many wonderful charitable organizations that, without help from folks like you and me, would have a difficult, if not impossible, time doing the good they do. There’s no shortage of organizations that need monetary help. Indeed, it can become overwhelming trying to figure out where to give your money.
With that in mind, here at Chicago Book Review we wanted to highlight some of the area’s organizations that focus on books and reading and writing and the like. We can’t hit them all, so we encourage readers to post their comments with a kind word or two about their favorite literary organizations so that others might become familiar with them.
The list below represents but a few of the organizations that could use help on Giving Tuesday—and every day. Some have matching programs, so check with your employer to see if that’s a way to make your giving dollars go even further.
- The American Writers Museum
Scheduled to open on Michigan Avenue in Chicago in 2017, The American Writers Museum is a 501(c)(3) organization whose mission is “to engage the public in celebrating American writers and exploring their influence on our history, our identity, our culture, and our daily lives.” Current plans call for a gallery dedicated to Chicago-area authors.
- Chicago Book Expo
Chicago Book Expo is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organized by a group of volunteers whose mission is to celebrate Chicago’s vital independent publishing scene. Launched in 2011, the Expo today is held at Columbia College Chicago. This year’s expo featured about 100 vendors and nearly two dozen programs. Hundreds of readers, writers, and bibliophiles attend the free Expo every year.
- Chicago Literary Hall of Fame
Founded in 2010 by Don Evans as a project of the Chicago Writers Association, the mission of Chicago Literary Hall of Fame is to honor and preserve Chicago’s great literary heritage through educational programming, awards, exhibits and other special events, particularly its annual induction ceremony (which this year will be held December 5).
- Chicago Writers Conference
Chicago Writers Conference is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization dedicated to connecting Chicago area writers and publishing professionals through conferences, workshops and literary events. NewCity writes that, “Mare Swallow created the Chicago Writers’ Conference after she noticed a lack of opportunity in Chicago for writers to rub shoulders with editors, agents, publishers and other literary professionals.”
- Guild Literary Complex
For 25 years, the Guild Literary Complex has been a Chicago–based literary organization presenting and supporting diverse, divergent, and emerging voices through programming that is as dynamic as Chicago itself. Actively working with individuals and organizations from all of Chicago’s many neighborhoods, the Guild seeks to connect seemingly disparate groups and geographies through literature—bringing unexpected writers, programs, and audiences together.
- Literacy Chicago
Literacy Chicago, Chicago’s oldest literacy organization, has its roots in two organizations—Literacy Volunteers of Chicago and Literacy Council of Chicago—which came together to address the needs of Chicago adults in the areas of language and literacy. The organization offers a number of programs, including basic literacy, GED preparation, and English as a Second Language.
- Open Books
Open Books is a nonprofit social venture that provides literacy experiences for tens of thousands of readers each year through inspiring programs and the creative capitalization of books. Open Books offers instructional programs as well as Book Grant programs, and it delivers thousands of books to schools and nonprofits across Chicagoland. Open Books runs an online store as well as brick-and-mortar shops in West Loop and Pilsen.
- The Poetry Foundation
The Poetry Foundation, publisher of Poetry magazine, is a 501(c)(3) independent literary organization committed to a vigorous presence for poetry in our culture by developing new audiences, creating new avenues for delivery, and encouraging new kinds of poetry. It’s home to the Midwest’s only library dedicated exclusively to poetry, which houses a collection of 30,000 volumes, audio and video recordings, and exhibits.
- Young Chicago Authors
Young Chicago Authors transforms the lives of young people by cultivating their voices through writing, publication, and performance education. Launched in 1991, YCA has evolved into an arts organization that engages youth in the act of telling their own stories through spoken word, verse and traditional journalism, playwriting, fiction, and many other forms.
There are myriad wonderful organizations across Chicagoland and throughout the Midwest, organizations that promote reading and writing and a love of all things literary. This list represents but a few of them. You can check out some other organizations in that list on the left of your screen. We encourage you to share information about your favorite local literary organization so that today, on #GivingTuesday, everyone can do more to #GiveLocal.