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2015 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Loft, Inc.

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Arts & Culture, Humanities

Mission: The Loft advances the artistic development of writers, fosters a thriving literary community, and inspires a passion for literature.

Direct beneficiaries per year: 10,000+

Programs: Creative writing education: the loft offers creative writing classes year-round at open book, at community sites throughout minnesota, and online. In fy14, the loft served 3,046 adults and 1,293 young creative writing students in over 420 classes and workshops and three conferences representing the broadest range of genres. In the past year's evaluation, 97% of students reported that their writing improved, 96% reported a greater understanding of the writing craft, 98% agreed that the class helped them identify their next steps as a writer. Poetry out loud - a recitation competition - offered students from 49 minnesota schools the opportunity to participate in literary learning opportunities and advance to a national competition.

awards, grants, and events: the loft provides mentorships, fellowship, and grants to support writers and their work. The loft mentor series awarded intensive artistic mentorships for 12 writers of demonstrated potential to work closely with nationally renowned writers. The mcknight artist fellowships for writers granted five $25,000 awards to buy accomplished writers the time to write. The minnesota emerging writers' grant program provided project funds of $2,300-$9,000 to help advance six writers' work. The spoken word community immersion fellowship provided grants to spoken word artists of color to engage in projects within communities that inspire their work. The authors' readings and performances helped develop audiences while promoting and advancing the work of individual writers. Community gatherings engaged both readers and writers in camaraderie and celebration of the written word. In the past year, 13,000 individuals attended more than 73 loft-sponsored readings, performances, and other literary events. Broadcasts and webcasts extended the loft's reach to another 779,000 individuals.

writing community and writers services: loft. Org, the loft's website, provided regular articles and fostered discussions about the writer's life and craft through our daily blog, the writers' block. There, writers found writing excercises, literary reviews, commentary, news, and discussion. The site also includes interviews, a calendar of loft readings and events, a catalog of loft classes, and writers' resources including information about writing groups, competitions, grants, awards, publishers, and agents. Visitors perused a variety of resources in the rachel anne gaschott ritchie small press library, 81 writers made use of the loft's writers' studios and more than 50 distinct literary groups used the loft's book club room this year.

Community Story

Client Served

Rating: 5

The Loft has been a central place for community, camaraderie, and inspiration. I've enjoyed hearing authors, established and emerging, read from their work. I've listened to works of prose and poetry that have been poignant and full of energy. Most of all, I've met wonderful teachers and peers at this central gathering place for artistic expression. I've been challenged. I've grown. I've been encouraged. My own writing has improved via classes and blossomed in a 9-month program, The Loft Mentor Series. The Loft has also been a source for connecting me with others.