“Action is the foundational key to success.” Pablo Picasso
I need your help. Before I delve into that though, first let me thank you for attending our 2019 Whistler Writers Festival. The conversations generated, the relationships forged, and creative expression released – were incredible. We succeed because of you.
We’re launching on ongoing fundraising campaign. I’m hoping you will support us thorough donations. With your support, we will continue to provide the quality programming you’ve come to expect.
Some 1600 participants enjoyed the festival this year, and 94% said they’d be likely or very likely to attend again in 2020. Below are just a few of the examples we’ve received:
- “Saturday night speakers were incredibly impactful, and the food at Cooks with Books was great, and the Building Characters workshop was fascinating.”
- “Sunday brunch [was a highlight] – it was personality driven. Bill was brill. And all the participants were entertaining, bright, articulate.”
- “If I had to chose one writers fest it would be this one.
In addition to the festival, we have steadily expanded to provide concentrated support to emerging writers through our Writer In Residence Program (since 2007), introduce the spring reading series (since 2017) and have established an Author in the Schools Program (since 2011), which sees us provide students in 17 schools in the Sea to Sky corridor with class sets of visiting authors’ books. The students read the books, and in some cases, study them as part of their curriculum. The author then meets the students to discuss the book and answer questions.
In the first year of this program, we had 86 students, a handful of teachers and one very nervous organizer. Me.
As I watched the kids file into the auditorium at the Squamish Lil’Wat Cultural Centre that year, buds in ears, cell phones at the ready, some kidding around with their peers, I wondered what the hell I was thinking. Why did I think a program like this could work with kids? But then, author Richard Wagamese took the stage and as he started to speak, the room got very quiet. The audience listened to Richard’s every word. They asked questions after his presentation and got his autograph.
If even one student takes an interest in writing or reading I feel I’m making a difference. And isn’t that what it’s all about?
You can tell I’m pretty proud of our accomplishments. It hasn’t come easily. It’s taken a lot of hard work, determination (or naiveté), sacrifice and focus.
Before we can plan anything, we have to seek funding. We write grant proposals, pitch our ideas to local businesses in order to secure sponsorship and organize fundraising events. Then I hold my breath, cross my fingers and hope.
But the writing (no pun intended) is on the wall. Funding, particularly grant funding is shrinking. This year we saw a decline of $30,000 in government and other foundation funding. Not that we did anything wrong. More people are applying, funds are tight and many organizations want to give less to more groups rather than more to a certain number of groups.
Yes, we do generate revenue from ticket sales, but because we want to keep our programming accessible, we also want to keep ticket prices low. And some of our events are free. And besides ticket sales only fund 40% of the festival’s overall budget.
So now it’s my turn to come to you. I need your help, as I said before.
We’re launching an ongoing fundraising campaign. Through emails and direct appeal, I’m hoping you will support us through donations. With your support, we will continue to provide the quality programming you’ve come to expect.
We’ve been here for 18 years and I’d like us to be here for many more years. But I know we can’t do it alone. I hope you’ll come along for the ride.
Any amount helps. Yes, I dream of a corporate angel who might consider sponsoring our literary endeavours with a large, multi-year donation of $50,000 or more per year. And if that were to happen, wonderful! But everything helps. And donations over $25 will receive an electronic tax receipt in the name of the donor if an email address is provided. You can donate on our website right here: http://whistlerwritersfest.com/get-involved/donate/
If you’d like to watch some videos of our other programs check them out here.
Thanks again for your ongoing commitment and support for the literary arts. I appreciate it. Together we’ve made a difference. And in the end, isn’t that what it’s all about? Thank you.