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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 Stories

3 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters


Rating: 5

I have been a member of The Loft Literary Center for over two years. I currently work in communications and have also worked in PR and advertising. The resources, networking opportunities, classes, and venue itself consistently impress me. I have truly enjoyed being able to support such an organization.

I have also just loved the fact that the classes ACTUALLY help my writing!! It's hard to find good writing classes for people who work in communications and have studied writing in school. I've taken some other writing classes at other places, and they helped a little, but not even close to what The Loft has provided me. I really appreciate the expertise held by the class instructors. It is impressive. I have also greatly appreciated that the instructors have pursued writing professionally so I felt their advice and lessons were credible (at least the instructors I've had were writers) and also made themselves available to the students during and after the class. The classes have also provided wonderful networking opportunities with other writers.

Lastly, I have found The Loft to be just a great community of writers. It's hard to find such a large community of talented writers, and I believe The Loft makes that available.

So, needless to say, I am a fan of The Loft...and yes, I proudly sport my tote bag. :)


Rating: 5

I’ve had the great pleasure of being on both sides of the desk at the Loft. Inspiring teachers such as Dale Gregory Anderson and Robert Voedisch taught me to craft compelling fiction. Through the Loft Mentor Series, lead by the amazing Jerod Santek, I was able to work closely with distinguished writers such as Pete Hautman, Jim Moore, and Mary Rose O’Reilly. Now, having moved to Pennsylvania, I’m lucky to still be tied to the Loft through teaching online classes. Kurtis Scaletta’s terrific work to develop this program means I have students from across the nation. Just as my Loft teachers have inspired me, my students now inspire me. At a time when the arts have been the first programs to be cut, The Loft community fosters and fuels a love of writing and expands an ever-growing support for the written word.


Rating: 5

As a writer in the Twin Cities, it's difficult to overstate the importance of the Loft. Seriously. It just defies hyperbole. Imagine an aspiring guitar player whose freshman roommate turned out to be Jimi Hendrix, a painter who found that she went to same laundromat as Picasso, or a paper-folding enthusiast who lived upstairs from the World Champion of Competitive Origami. The Loft is like that. It's so vital. I've taken classes there, attended readings, entered contests, gone to conferences, and tucked myself into a corner when I needed a quiet place to write. The Loft is truly a spiritual center for the Minnesota writing community and beyond. I can't recommend it highly enough.