Money for Women: A Call for Donations

Today I got my (I think) semiannual newsletter from Money for Women in the mail. Money for Women supports the work of female and feminist writers by giving relatively small grants for very specific purposes. One grantee this year was given funds to replace an old word processor with a laptop, and when I asked the organization for support a few years ago, I decided to be honest and tell them exactly what it would be used for: daycare for my son, so I could have the much-needed hours alone to finish my book manuscript. What writers need most to is time and some simple quality equipment. Money for Women understands this. They gave me the money, and I finished my book.

But that money did more than simply pay for daycare, it also affirmed my worth as a writer. It moved me deeply to know that a group of accomplished women looked at my work and said yes, this is worth funding.

The Money for Women fund is named for Barbara Deming, a feminist, lesbian, poet, writer and activist who died young of cancer. Below the signatures of the women who sit on the grant’s board, is a quote from Deming — it’s a kind of prayer to the universe, asking for help:

“Just back from an early morning swim. There was a tiny dog there, diving for stones — which she’d carefully bring back, one after another, to the shore. Wish they were new contributions for MFW. Little dog, find us an angel!” Barbara Deming, June 28, 1981.

Whether you feel more like an angel or a dog, it’s a worthy cause. If you are in a position to help Money for Women continue to support the work of emerging female writers, they would be very happy to receive a cheque from you. And if you live the US, it’s tax-deductible.

Send what you can. Here’s the address:

Money for Women/Barbara Deming Memorial Fund, Inc.
P.O. Box 309
Wilton, New Hampshire 03086

[Photo: [noone]]

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Summer grant deadlines for writers (and an aside)

My favourite blogger Mira Bartok has posted a new list of fellowships, grants and prizes for writers: for lesbian writers, poets (gay, straight or otherwise), Romance-language writers, non-fiction specialists (like yours truly) and the Money for Women/Barbara Deming Memorial Fund grant that I won last year. Check out Mira’s List here. Tell her I sent you!

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Barbara Deming (of the aforementioned Fund), a feminist and lesbian poet, writer, and civil rights activist founded the Money for Women Fund (that now carries her name) in 1975. She died  of cancer in 1984.

On her deathbed, Deming wrote a letter that the chair of her foundation now sends its fellows.

The letter moved me to tears when I read it. I plan to keep it forever, since it reminds me to honour those who went before me and to learn from their lives.

“May all be made whole,” wrote Deming. I love that.

Here’s the letter:

To so many of you:

I have loved my life so very much and I have loved you so very much and felt so blessed at the love you have given me. I love the work so many of us have been trying to do together and had looked forward to continuing this work but I just feel no more strength in me now and I want to die. I won’t lose you when I die and I won’t leave you when I die. Some of you I have especially loved and felt beloved by and I hope you know that even though I haven’t had the strength lately to reach out to you.

I love you. Hallowed be (may all be made whole), I want you to know, too, that I die happily.

Bobbie (Barbara) Deming

(Naples Community Hospital. Naples, Florida. July 21, 1984. 6:15 p.m.)

[Photo: philippe leroyer]

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