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Gloucester Writers Center, Inc.

 126 East Main Street
 Gloucester, MA 01930
[P] (978) 281-2355
[F] --
www.gloucesterwriters.org
[email protected]
Anne Thomas
Facebook Twitter
INCORPORATED: 2010
 Printable Profile (Summary / Full)
EIN 27-2817445

LAST UPDATED: 02/02/2017
Organization DBA --
Former Names --
Organization received a competitive grant from the Boston Foundation in the past five years Yes

Summary

Mission StatementMORE »

The Gloucester Writers Center was founded to celebrate, preserve, and promote Gloucester’s rich literary legacy, especially authors whose writings are born of the local cultural, political, historical, and physical landscape of Gloucester and Cape Ann – notably Vincent Ferrini (1913-2007) and Charles Olson (1910-1970).

Housed in the home of late poet Vincent Ferrini, GWC is a gathering place and resource center for local, national, and international writers in all genres and realms of interest - supporting writers and readers through literary readings, community education, a writer-in-residence program, and the Maud / Olson Library & GWC archives of print materials and audio and video files.

Mission Statement

The Gloucester Writers Center was founded to celebrate, preserve, and promote Gloucester’s rich literary legacy, especially authors whose writings are born of the local cultural, political, historical, and physical landscape of Gloucester and Cape Ann – notably Vincent Ferrini (1913-2007) and Charles Olson (1910-1970).

Housed in the home of late poet Vincent Ferrini, GWC is a gathering place and resource center for local, national, and international writers in all genres and realms of interest - supporting writers and readers through literary readings, community education, a writer-in-residence program, and the Maud / Olson Library & GWC archives of print materials and audio and video files.


FinancialsMORE »

Fiscal Year Apr 01, 2016 to Mar 31, 2017
Projected Income $170,000.00
Projected Expense $170,000.00

ProgramsMORE »

  • Community Education Program
  • Maud/Olson Library & GWC Archives
  • The Charles Olson Lecture Series
  • The Literary Series
  • Writer-in-Residence program

Revenue vs. Expense ($000s)

Expense Breakdown 2015 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2014 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2013 (%)

For more details regarding the organization's financial information, select the financial tab and review available comments.


Overview

Mission Statement

The Gloucester Writers Center was founded to celebrate, preserve, and promote Gloucester’s rich literary legacy, especially authors whose writings are born of the local cultural, political, historical, and physical landscape of Gloucester and Cape Ann – notably Vincent Ferrini (1913-2007) and Charles Olson (1910-1970).

Housed in the home of late poet Vincent Ferrini, GWC is a gathering place and resource center for local, national, and international writers in all genres and realms of interest - supporting writers and readers through literary readings, community education, a writer-in-residence program, and the Maud / Olson Library & GWC archives of print materials and audio and video files.


Background Statement

When Vincent Ferrini, Gloucester’s first poet laureate, died on Christmas Eve 2007, Henry Ferrini – documentary filmmaker and Vincent’s nephew - had a vision of making Vincent’s home a memorial to the poet.

Great minds travel the same paths. Paul Sawyer, an eminent Unitarian Universalist minister with roots in Gloucester was a friend of Vincent. Suffering from cancer, knowing his life was nearing its end, he asked himself what would be the best work he could accomplish in his short time remaining. The answer, he decided, was to help galvanize the energy and gather the resources needed to preserve Vincent’s house and studio as a gathering and learning place, as it had been during Vincent's lifetime.

Annie Thomas, Vincent’s close friend of many years (Vincent was the godfather of her children), cherished the hospitality and nurture that had emanated from Vincent’s house, and dedicated herself to the task of keeping that spirit alive in new and vibrant ways. In addition to her passion, she brought decades of experience in effective nonprofit organization to the effort.

Andre Spears, a New York based writer and scholar, was interested in preserving the legacy of another Gloucester poet, Vincent Ferrini’s friend Charles Olson.

Soon, Henry Ferrini, Annie Thomas, and Andre Spears agreed to create an organization to honor the legacies of both Ferrini and Olson.

Reaching out to the local community, and to national and international admires of the poets, revealed a diverse network of hundreds of people who cared about the fate of Ferrini’s home, and were ready to help keep it as a place where folks could go and talk about poetry - and end up talking about life. Contributions – a few large and many small - came quickly. The house was purchased and the Gloucester Writers Center was formally incorporated in June, 2010 - just before Reverend Sawyer passed away.

Today, programs include writing classes, readings, and a writers-in residence program. And now, in our sixth year, we have just acquired the world’s leading collection of Olson’s source books, collected by scholar Ralph Maud, and housed in a building just steps away from the Ferrini house.

We are working to keep Gloucester’s rich literary legacy alive, to bring new ideas to our island city from authors around the world, and to nurture and encourage our rich local community of writers – for this generation and for the next.


Impact Statement

Since its founding in 2010, Gloucester Writers Center (GWC) has become a hub for hundreds of writers - from around the block and from around the world. The skill and dedication of our board, staff, and volunteers, and the participation and support of the community makes our work possible. Their invaluable contributions give us life.

In 2016, GWC enjoyed success in these major areas: program growth, audience growth, increasing board sophistication coupled with board turnover; and increased accessibility to the Maud/Olson Library. 

GWC increased its program offerings, hosting 76 programs in 2016. A record 12 writers took advantage of the Writers-in-Residence program. Program audiences grew exponentially from 15-80 people to crowds of 200-300 for programs and events. Some had standing room only with people lining the sidewalks hoping to get in and hear portions of programs. A community education survey was conducted in November to plan for future programming. The board held its first retreat in December 2016. Several members rotated off the board and were successfully replaced. For a small, new organization, this first turnover is extremely critical to maintaining sustainability. In 2016, the entire collection of the Maud/Olson Library (MOL), of 4500 books, and hundreds of journals, magazines and other ephemera read by poet Charles Olson were processed, an enormous undertaking for one part-time staff person. Finally, The Giving Common staff helped GWC develop robust systems for effective governance and management and GWC is pleased to have earned Guidestar’s Gold level for non-profit transparency.

GWC goals in 2017 are to: increase accessibility for the MOL by installing a data system with meta-tags and by developing school standards-based curriculum for elementary and high school students using the Library's resources; to continue with board training and recruitment; and to expand the donor base to support one more full-time staff member for the MOL. 

Needs Statement

Retire the mortgage on 126 East Main Street - $10,000

Construct a new foundation for 126 East Main street - $35,000
 
Create a scholarship fund for low income students in writing $3000 (10 scholarships @ $300)
 
Acquire laptops for GWC's writing classes $3000 (10 @ $300 for hardware, software, and peripherals)
 
 

Technology upgrade: Hardware: sound system, computer, high speed copier for economical in-house printing. Consulting and training: to transform GWC’s institutional memory from paper, Word/Excel files, and personal memory into a powerful, expandable, interconnected, and easily searchable database (Salesforce).   ($15,000)


CEO Statement

The Gloucester Writers Center has completed another year of growth, while strengthening our internal organization and fortifying our team approach.

GWC was founded in 2010 to preserve the home of the late poet Vincent Ferrini as a literary center and educational space. Central to our mission is ensuring that diverse voices are heard. In 2016 we hosted 76 literary events for writers of all genres. Some are well known published authors; others are participants in GWC’s classes, workshops and writing groups for veterans, students, waterfront workers, scholars, historians, artists, and people from all backgrounds and ages. Some gatherings are intimate. Others, like Fish Tales – an oral storytelling event - regularly attracts over 100 people. Podcasts are made from most programs and are available on the GWC website. Of particular interest to scholars are recordings of Olson and Ferrini’s contemporaries. Amiri Baraka delivered the Charles Olson lecture at GWC at the age of 79 and passed away soon after what was probably his last public appearance; the podcast is probably the last recording of his work.

In 2015,our campus and our mission expanded with the acquisition of the Maud / Olson Library. Ralph Maud, a renowned scholar of Gloucester poet Charles Olson, worked for decades to collect over 4500 books read by Olson. This is the most important collection of Olson source material in the world. = Now housed in a building steps away from GWC’s original venue in the Ferrini house, the library opened in June with an open house that attracted more than 200 people and regular hours two days per week. It is already in use by scholars and university students. Last year the Maud collection, and books and papers that were at the Ferrini and the GWC papers, audio and video recordings and archives were sorted and processed in preparation for entering all information into a relational database. Our goal this year is to acquire licenses and begin data entry in order to make this valuable resource available.


Board Chair Statement

As a young man in NYC working in the field of maritime transportation, and as a poet and a scholar interested in the interrelationship between literature and archaeology, I entered the work of Charles Olson—and stayed. I was drawn in by Olson, and by his poetic commitment to the seaport of Gloucester.

I made the acquaintance of Ralph Maud, a leading Olson scholar, in 1996, over the course of a “peripatetic tour of Charles Olson’s Gloucester” that he had organized. It was on this first visit to Gloucester—during which I saw Olson’s lodgings overlooking Ten Pound Island (where he wrote most of the Maximus poems), dropped in on Olson’s friend and Gloucester poet Vincent Ferrini, walked through Stage Fort Park and Dogtown—that I met Henry Ferrini, Greg Gibson, and others—who would later become my friends at the Gloucester Writers Center.

It was shortly after visiting Maud in his Vancouver home that I first encountered his unique masterpiece—the facsimile library of Olson’s books. Maud had spent decades collecting replicas of every book Olson was known to have owned or consulted… re-copying Olson’s original annotations into them. In the process, until his death in December of 2014, he assembled what is now the world’s leading source library for the study of Charles Olson’s work.

Ralph had a dream of creating an Olson Study Center, with the collection as its heart. He asked me to help, and Maud’s dream became my dream as well. When Vincent Ferrini died at the end of 2007, his house became available for sale, and at the urging (as his dying wish) of retired UU minister Paul Sawyer, Ferrini’s friend, the project to acquire the house and transform it into a writing center was initiated by Anne Thomas, Henry Ferrini and myself. I contributed part of the acquisition cost, and the balance was quickly raised from a grassroots campaign. Ferrini’s humble lodgings became the GWC soon after, and officially opened its doors in 2010.

In its short years of life, the GWC has experienced rapid growth and remarkable success as a local writers’ center. All along, however, I kept Ralph Maud’s original project in mind…

We were looking forward to Maud’s visit to Gloucester in the fall of 2014 to deliver the fifth annual Charles Olson lecture. Sadly, he became too ill to travel. In the last weeks of his life, I worked with him to decide the best option for stewardship of the Maud / Olson library. Maud bequeathed his Olson collection to the GWC, and after his death, as details with the estate were worked out, a venue for the books was found—just steps from the GWC. In October of 2016, GWC co-director Henry Ferrini and board member Gregor Gibson loaded about 4000 volumes onto a truck and brought the Maud / Olson Library from Vancouver to its new home in Gloucester.

The Maud / Olson library, which stands as a local Gloucester monument to the “marriage” of poetry and scholarship, opened in June 2016. It is a place for local writers, visitors and scholars. Ralph Maud’s dream, that became my dream—to create a social and cultural space that will allow energies to coalesce around Olson’s work–is now, thankfully, a reality.

Today, work continues to make the reality of the collection available to anyone. Work is progressing on sorting and processing the entire collection. In only a few months’ time, one’s year time, the entire collection has been made orderly. This year we hope to make all Olson’s notations that depict his thinking ideas available through an online relational database.


Geographic Area Served

NORTHEAST REGION, MA
Located in Gloucester, the GWC is actively engaged with the local Cape Ann community, as well  national and international literary communities, providing a resource and gathering place for writers. Local zip codes are 01930, 01929, 01944, 01915, 01966.  

Organization Categories

  1. Arts,Culture & Humanities - Humanities
  2. Education - Vocational & Technical Schools
  3. -

Independent research has been conducted on this organization's theory of change or on the effectiveness of this organization's program(s)

No

Programs

Community Education Program

The Community Education Program helps participants develop their own spoken and written voices, the better to express themselves as individuals and as citizens.

 

Offerings include:

Writing Group for Veterans (w/ Gloucester Office of Veterans Services)

Portraits of a Working Waterfront (w/ Cape Ann Museum)

A Group of One’s Own: an on-going writing group for low-income women

Open Mike: A monthly opportunity to read from works in progress

Writing Workshops for elementary school children

Poetry Slams for young poets

Teen Essay Mentoring Program

Elements of Story

Writing Fiction

Writing and Producing Ten Minute Plays

Fish Tales: true stories told live, in the spirit of the Moth Story Hour

Modernism in America: Art, History & Ideas

Write on! Works in Progress

New courses in development based on educational survey results. Fee structure changing to provide revenue stream for GWC. Core value policy of "no one turned away for lack of funds" will continue.

Budget  $26,889.00
Category  Arts, Culture & Humanities, General/Other Arts, Culture & Humanities, General/Other
Population Served Adults College Aged (18-26 years) Adolescents Only (13-19 years)
Program Short-Term Success 

Provide new offerings including two series of 6 classes featuring different writing genres, as well as popular ongoing offerings.

 

Program Long-Term Success  Provide an atmosphere of learning and creativity and embodies the pedagogy and ideals that guide our community education model.  
Program Success Monitored By  Success will be measured in the following ways: positive written and verbal feedback,  robust attendance numbers, and when appropriate, publication and performance of work produced by participants 
Examples of Program Success 

Participant in the Flash Fiction workshop: “You gals/guys at the Gloucester Writers Center have got it going on! Yesterday’s workshop was fantastic and a cliché as this may sound, invaluable. I especially appreciated being able to connect with a group who cares about the craft of writing.


Maud/Olson Library & GWC Archives

Charles Olson, Gloucester resident, is considered one of the most important poets of the 20th century. Ralph Maud was Olson’s friend and the leading authority on his work. To better understand the sources of Olson’s poetry, he identified and collected copies of every book Olson owned, read, or referred to. This collection includes 4500 titles of Olson source materials, plus 800 volumes of books by and about Olson. Maud bequeathed entrusted the library to the GWC, Gloucester Writers Center, where it is housed and open to scholars and the general public. The GWC archives are housed there as well and include audio and video recordings of many of GWC’s literary readings and rare archival footage of Olson, Ferrini, and other poets. This year the entire Maud collection was processed, inventoried and given some initial conservation treatment. In 2017, we hope to install an open source data base that will allow for meta-tagging of key words, thereby opening research on these significant materials to all.


Budget  $50,583.00
Category  Arts, Culture & Humanities, General/Other Arts, Culture & Humanities, General/Other
Population Served Adults Adolescents Only (13-19 years) US& International
Program Short-Term Success 

Current users of the website will report improved functionality and ease of use. More people will access and download recordings from the audio and video archives.

Program Long-Term Success 

The GWC website will be where people go for information about local writing classes and public literary events, as well as opportunities to volunteer and donate to GWC. The video and audio archives will be a well-used resource for local, national, and international readers and scholars.

Program Success Monitored By 

In addition to qualitative feedback from users of the site, success will be measured quantitatively by tracking:

time spent on the site

number of pages visited

pages per visit

bounce rate

social shares or mentions

streaming and downloads of audio and video archives

Examples of Program Success  Participants in GWC's classes and public literary events report that they rely on the website as their primary source for upcoming events.  Still, we are aware of the need to improve the search functions of the site, and especially of the video and audio archives.  We also need to make it more accessible to mobile devices and easier to share via social media.

The Charles Olson Lecture Series

 

GWC’s was founded in 2010 - the centennial year of Gloucester Poet Charles Olson (1910 – 1970). The first Olson Lecture was part of the city-wide Centennial celebration, and the annual lecture continues to bring Olson scholars of global standing to Gloucester.

Olson lectures to date:

2010 Diane di Prima (b 1934) - Feminist Beat poet, first Poet Laureate of San Francisco

2011 Iain Sinclair (b 1943) - British writer and filmmaker, fellow of the Royal Society of Literature

2012 Anne Waldman (b 1945) - prominent poet in the beat generation, former director of St. Mark’s Poetry.

2013 Amiri Baraka (1934-2014) - African-American writer of poetry, drama, fiction, and essays.

2014 Ralph Maud (1928 – 2014), was to deliver the 2014 Charles Olson Lecture. Sadly he fell ill before the lecture and, soon after, passed away. Maud had studiously assembled a library of works that influenced Olson, which he has bequeathed to the care of the Gloucester Writers Center.

2015 Michael McClure (b 1932) – GWC has invited American poet, playwright, songwriter and novelist to deliver the 2015 lecture.

 2016 Hettie Jones-written about Beat poetry and friend of Charles Olson

Budget  $9,651.00
Category  Arts, Culture & Humanities, General/Other Arts, Culture & Humanities, General/Other
Population Served Adults College Aged (18-26 years) Adolescents Only (13-19 years)
Program Short-Term Success 

GWC collaborates with the Cape Ann Museum, CUNY and UMass Lowell, to recruit internationally known writers who bring fresh perspective on writing.

Program Long-Term Success  The annual Olson Lecture aims to honor the legacy of poetic investigation that Olson practiced during his life.  
Program Success Monitored By  Success is measured by positive written and verbal feedback,  and robust attendance.
Examples of Program Success  Lecture attendee: "Last week, I caught artist and arts educator Susan Erony’s lecture at the ... Gloucester Writers Center. There are hundreds of such centers springing up around the country but few are as picturesque and intimate as this ...center in the former home of late Gloucester poet Vincent Ferrini." 

The Literary Series

 

Each year GWC’s Literary Series offers 50+ public events and brings dozens of nationally and internationally recognized poets and writers to Cape Ann to read and discuss their work. Eminent visitors in the 2015 season include Pulitzer Prize winning poet Stephen Dunn and Ron Silliman – poetry blogger and winner of the Poetry Foundation’s Levinson prize.

The series also provides a forum for area writers - from emerging young talent to renowned veteran authors. Recent authors include past and present Poets Laureate of Gloucester, Rockport and Swampscott, New Bedford and MA Cultural Council Artist Fellows.

In 2014 GWC added the Diggers Program. Local writers investigate and write about the hidden histories of Cape Ann. Topics to date: Native Americans after the arrival of Europeans, and the attempt to erase them from memory; Gloucester’s complicity in the slave trade, and early participation in the abolitionist movement; and racial exclusion in hiring on Cape Ann in the 50’s.

 

Budget  $48,331.00
Category  Arts, Culture & Humanities, General/Other Arts, Culture & Humanities, General/Other
Population Served Adults College Aged (18-26 years) Adolescents Only (13-19 years)
Program Short-Term Success 

GWC will recruit  and engage veteran and novice writers in an exchange of ideas in a setting that supports creative expression in the writing arts

Program Long-Term Success 

GWC will provide an ongoing forum for local, national, and international writers to share their work in a setting that encourages creativity and inspiration.

Program Success Monitored By  Success is measured in the following ways: positive written and verbal feedback,  robust attendance numbers, and when appropriate, publication and/or performance of work produced by participants 
Examples of Program Success 

Salon Participant: "In an Increasingly virtual and placeless time, the Gloucester Writers Center is a place where language can gather, be shared, and be affirmed. Everyone was incredibly warm and welcoming. I didn’t want to leave!"


Writer-in-Residence program

The Writers-in-Residence Program offers authors time to write, and to engage with local writers, including participants in our education program, while living in Vincent Ferrini's historic home. It also allows GWC to attract authors from all parts of the country and the world, supporting our core value of introducing local citizens to other perspectives, and connecting the global with the local.

 

GWC has brought a great diversity of writers to read in Gloucester. American authors such as Susan Deer Cloud, Amiri Baraka,Eileen Myles, and Sam Cornish reflect the diverse fabric of American life: Native American, African American, Lesbian, Straight, academic, independent scholar, youth and senior.

International writers and researchers - including Yorio Hirano from Japan, Shahar Bram from Israel, Iain Sinclair from Britain, and Romanian-born Andrei Codrescu - further expand the horizon of ideas and perspectives which the Writers-in-Residence program brings to GWC audiences.

Budget  $7,586.00
Category  Arts, Culture & Humanities, General/Other Arts, Culture & Humanities, General/Other
Population Served Adults College Aged (18-26 years) Adolescents Only (13-19 years)
Program Short-Term Success 

bring writers of note to the Writer-in-Residence program to expand the writing experience of the Cape Ann Community

Program Long-Term Success  To foster an atmosphere that supports dedication to writing and creativity
Program Success Monitored By 

Success will be measured in the following ways: positive written and verbal feedback,  robust attendance numbers, and when appropriate, publication and performance of work produced by participants 

Examples of Program Success 

 GWC Writer-in-Residence program’s goal of stimulating thought that connects the local struggle for survival and transcendence with global perspectives is illustrated by this except from an interview with the Gloucester Daily Times by Writer-in-Residence Andrei Codrescu, on teaching the poetry of Charles Olson in Louisiana.

“The side benefit of studying a mad Yankee’s attempt to tell lyrically the epic story of a town (Gloucester) beginning in prehistory, and following every line of geographical, economical, and political thought his mind could conceive of, was that the method was good for any place, depending, of course, on the quality of mind working it.

“My students started thinking in Olsonian terms about Baton Rouge and the lower Mississippi, an exercise that proved most useful when the catastrophe of Katrina found us.

“When Katrina turned everybody’s life inside out, it became necessary to think like Olson, because the disaster had historical and social precedents, as well as environmental ones.”

 


CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

The Gloucester Writers Center has completed another year of growth, while strengthening our internal organization and fortifying our team approach.

GWC was founded in 2010 to preserve the home of the late poet Vincent Ferrini as a literary center and educational space. Central to our mission is ensuring that diverse voices are heard. In 2016 we hosted 76 literary events for writers of all genres. Some are well known published authors; others are participants in GWC’s classes, workshops and writing groups for veterans, students, waterfront workers, scholars, historians, artists, and people from all backgrounds and ages. Some gatherings are intimate. Others, like Fish Tales – an oral storytelling event - regularly attracts over 100 people. Podcasts are made from most programs and are available on the GWC website. Of particular interest to scholars are recordings of Olson and Ferrini’s contemporaries. Amiri Baraka delivered the Charles Olson lecture at GWC at the age of 79 and passed away soon after what was probably his last public appearance; the podcast is probably the last recording of his work.

In 2015,our campus and our mission expanded with the acquisition of the Maud / Olson Library. Ralph Maud, a renowned scholar of Gloucester poet Charles Olson, worked for decades to collect over 4500 books read by Olson. This is the most important collection of Olson source material in the world. = Now housed in a building steps away from GWC’s original venue in the Ferrini house, the library opened in June with an open house that attracted more than 200 people and regular hours two days per week. It is already in use by scholars and university students. Last year the Maud collection, and books and papers that were at the Ferrini and the GWC papers, audio and video recordings and archives were sorted and processed in preparation for entering all information into a relational database. Our goal this year is to acquire licenses and begin data entry in order to make this valuable resource available.

Management


CEO/Executive Director Mr. Henry Ferrini
CEO Term Start June 2010
CEO Email [email protected]
CEO Experience Henry Ferrini is the co-founder of the Gloucester Writers Center, the President of the North Shore Jazz Project and a documentary filmmaker. His work has played on PBS and at museums and galleries around the world. His films include:  Polis is This: Charles Olson and the Persistence of Place; Poem in Action, a portrait of his uncle Vincent Ferrini; and Lowell Blues: the Words of Jack Kerouac.  He is developing a new film about the iconic jazz stylist Lester Young.  He lives in Gloucester with his wife and son.
Co-CEO Ms. Annie Thomas
Co-CEO Term Start June 2010
Co-CEO Email [email protected]
Co-CEO Experience Annie Thomas is the co-founder of Gloucester Writers Center.  Vincent Ferrini was her close friend for 37 years and the godfather of her children.  Annie brings years of nonprofit management experience to the project, including expertise in volunteer coordination and 12 years experience of highly successful fundraising as Development Director of Wellspring House, Inc.  She also brings a commitment to maintaining the Vincent Ferrini House as a place of hospitality and nurture, in his honor. 

Former CEOs and Terms

Name Start End
-- -- --

Senior Staff

Name Title Experience/Biography
-- -- --

Awards

Award Awarding Organization Year
Gold Level for Non-profit Transparency Guidestar 2015
Pioneer in Partnership Award Essex Heritage 2014

Affiliations

Affiliation Year
-- --
Member of state association of nonprofits? No
Name of state association --

External Assessments and Accreditations

External Assessment or Accreditation Year
-- --

Collaborations

GWC collaborates with the Cape Ann Museum,  the Sawyer Free Library, UMass Lowell, UMass Boston, Endicott College,  Salem State College, CUNY, Mass Poetry Festival, the Cultural Center at Rocky Neck, Peabody Essex Museum,  Rocky Neck Cultural District, Gloucester Cultural District, Gloucester Stage and Maritime Gloucester to offer programming that is enhanced and synergized by these partnerships.  Without these partnerships it would be difficult to provide space for our growing audiences or manpower to plan and develop them.  

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

What sets the GWC apart from other cultural organizations is its ability to bring together a sense of history with the intimacy of poet Vincent Ferrini’s home.  To quote his friend and fellow Gloucester poet, Charles Olson, "This is the private soul at the public wall."  From 1948 to 2007 Ferrini, Gloucester’s first poet laureate wrote dozens of books of poetry, plays and letters to the Editor from his home above the tide. Some feel all this poetic energy consecrated the place. Writers feel it when they enter the building.   MacArthur Genius recipient Ed Sanders said, " my visit to the GWC was very inspirational…There's something about that set of rooms, the Center that seems to shout "Yes!" to poetry, writing, rumination, study and planning." This same spirit is reflected in its extensive programming and carries over to the cozy quarters of the Maud/Olson Library, where visitors and scholars can sit at Olson’s desk and stare out at the harbor. 

The GWC continues work on its policies and procedures with the help of its board. It is working on a marketing and communications plan for the Library, with the help of a new board member who is a marketing executive with Warner Brothers. As the organization grows, its co-directors find that communication among a growing number of contract staff is a challenge that requires continual feedback. The GWC needs to build more capacity, particularly regarding communications and integration of appropriate organizational systems and the use of appropriate software to track data and reduce administrative time.

Foundation Comments

--

Staff Information

Number of Full Time Staff 0
Number of Part Time Staff 4
Number of Volunteers 120
Number of Contract Staff 2
Staff Retention Rate % 100%

Staff Demographics

Ethnicity African American/Black: 0
Asian American/Pacific Islander: 0
Caucasian: 4
Hispanic/Latino: 0
Native American/American Indian: 0
Other: 0
Other (if specified): 0
Gender Female: 3
Male: 1
Not Specified 0

Plans & Policies

Organization has Fundraising Plan? Yes
Organization has Strategic Plan? Under Development
Years Strategic Plan Considers --
Management Succession Plan Yes
Business Continuity of Operations Plan Yes
Organization Policies And Procedures Yes
Nondiscrimination Policy Yes
Whistle Blower Policy Yes
Document Destruction Policy Yes
Directors and Officers Insurance Policy Yes
State Charitable Solicitations Permit Yes
State Registration Yes

Risk Management Provisions

Accident and Injury Coverage
Liquor Liability

Reporting and Evaluations

Management Reports to Board? Yes
CEO Formal Evaluation and Frequency Yes Annually
Senior Management Formal Evaluation and Frequency Yes Annually
Non Management Formal Evaluation and Frequency Yes Annually

Governance


Board Chair Mr. Andre Spears
Board Chair Company Affiliation Olson Scholar
Board Chair Term June 2015 - June 2017
Board Co-Chair --
Board Co-Chair Company Affiliation --
Board Co-Chair Term -

Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
Ms. Maureen Alyward Professor at Endicott College Voting
Ms. Charlee Bianchini Writer, educator --
Ms. Mary Jo Boylan Lawyer Voting
Ms. Amanda Cook Writer Voting
Ms. Ariane Doud Independent Marketing and Communications Voting
Mr. Dan Duffey innkeeper --
Mr. Henry Ferrini Independent Filmmaker, Co-Director GWC Exofficio
Rev. Wendy Fitting Minister Emeritus, Unitarian Universalist Church Voting
Ms. Sumiko Giarratani Anthony Hodge Voting
Mr. Gregor Gibson Writer, Publisher Voting
Ms. Brenda Hiltz Anthony Hodge, CPA Voting
Ms Amielle Major Writer Voting
Mr. Andre Spears Writer Voting
Mr. William Taylor William Taylor Antiques Voting
Ms. Annie Thomas Gloucester Writers Center Co-Director Exofficio

Constituent Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Youth Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Advisory Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
Ammiel Alcalay Community Volunteer NonVoting
Peter Anastas Community Volunteer NonVoting
Shahar Bram Community Volunteer NonVoting
Andrei Codrescu Community Volunteer NonVoting
Fred Dewey Community Volunteer NonVoting
Diane di Prima Community Volunteer NonVoting
Jim Harrison Community Volunteer NonVoting
Mark Kurlansky Community Volunteer NonVoting
Michael Rumaker Community Volunteer NonVoting
Ed Sanders Community Volunteer NonVoting
Anne Waldman Community Volunteer NonVoting

Board Demographics

Ethnicity African American/Black: 1
Asian American/Pacific Islander: 1
Caucasian: 13
Hispanic/Latino: 0
Native American/American Indian: 0
Other: 0
Other (if specified): 0
Gender Female: 10
Male: 5
Not Specified 0

Board Information

Board Term Lengths 3
Board Term Limits --
Board Meeting Attendance % 86%
Written Board Selection Criteria Yes
Written Conflict Of Interest Policy Yes
Percentage of Monetary Contributions 100%
Percentage of In-Kind Contributions 100%
Constituency Includes Client Representation Yes

Standing Committees

  • Building
  • Development / Fund Development / Fund Raising / Grant Writing / Major Gifts
  • Education
  • Finance
  • Personnel
  • Program / Program Planning

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

The board held its annual retreat in 2016, and is working to strengthen its committees.  The  co-founders and co-directors rotated off the board as voting members and were successfully replaced with new and enthusiastic members who bring needed experience in the areas of grassroots community development and marketing and communications.  This is an important achievement; many organizations as small as the GWC often falter when the founders/directors turn over the reins to a new cohort of board members.  

This year the board will continue its work on a strategic plan.  To date this has been an internal process but in the coming months we will be working with an experienced outside consultant to guide us through this complex process.  We will also continue to address the question of succession for the co-directors, particularly since it's unlikely that both would resign at the same time.  For these individuals, this arrangement works but may not in the future.  Discussing the issue of succession in relation to a strategic plan will lead to a very realistic plan that is actually achievable.  
 
 The challenge for the future is to continue to recruit new board members who are effective and connected to both the literary arts as a discipline and to donors who can contribute to the GWC. 
 
 

Foundation Comments

--

Financials


Revenue vs. Expense ($000s)

Expense Breakdown 2015 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2014 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2013 (%)

Fiscal Year Apr 01, 2016 to Mar 31, 2017
Projected Income $170,000.00
Projected Expense $170,000.00
Form 990s

2015 GWC Form 990

2014 GWC Amended Form 990

2013 GWC Amended Form 990

2012 GWC Amended Form 990

Audit Documents --
IRS Letter of Exemption

IRS Letter of Determination

Prior Three Years Total Revenue and Expense Totals

Fiscal Year 2015 2014 2013
Total Revenue $142,386 $66,868 $64,925
Total Expenses $73,846 $70,729 $59,601

Prior Three Years Revenue Sources

Fiscal Year 2015 2014 2013
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
-- $14,550 $10,250
Government Contributions $0 $300 $0
    Federal -- -- --
    State -- -- --
    Local -- -- --
    Unspecified -- $300 --
Individual Contributions $130,326 $33,268 $45,738
Indirect Public Support -- -- --
Earned Revenue -- $5,310 $5,235
Investment Income, Net of Losses $55 $51 $35
Membership Dues -- -- --
Special Events $12,005 $13,389 $3,667
Revenue In-Kind -- -- --
Other -- -- --

Prior Three Years Expense Allocations

Fiscal Year 2015 2014 2013
Program Expense $60,787 $56,842 $45,289
Administration Expense $13,059 $8,338 $8,108
Fundraising Expense -- $5,549 $6,204
Payments to Affiliates -- -- --
Total Revenue/Total Expenses 1.93 0.95 1.09
Program Expense/Total Expenses 82% 80% 76%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue 0% 9% 10%

Prior Three Years Assets and Liabilities

Fiscal Year 2015 2014 2013
Total Assets $178,546 $110,006 $113,867
Current Assets $65,923 $10,006 $13,867
Long-Term Liabilities $10,000 $10,000 $10,000
Current Liabilities $0 $0 $0
Total Net Assets $168,546 $100,006 $103,867

Prior Three Years Top Three Funding Sources

Fiscal Year 2015 2014 2013
1st (Source and Amount) -- --
-- --
-- --
2nd (Source and Amount) -- --
-- --
-- --
3rd (Source and Amount) -- --
-- --
-- --

Financial Planning

Endowment Value --
Spending Policy N/A
Percentage(If selected) --
Credit Line No
Reserve Fund Yes
How many months does reserve cover? 4.00

Capital Campaign

Are you currently in a Capital Campaign? No
Capital Campaign Purpose --
Campaign Goal --
Capital Campaign Dates -
Capital Campaign Raised-to-Date Amount --
Capital Campaign Anticipated in Next 5 Years? Yes

Short Term Solvency

Fiscal Year 2015 2014 2013
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities -- -- --

Long Term Solvency

Fiscal Year 2015 2014 2013
Long-term Liabilities/Total Assets 6% 9% 9%

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

With an annual projected budget of approximately $175,000, a robust and enthusiastic volunteer base and the donation of pro-bono services, the GWC continues to be sustainable, intentional about our growth, and very cost effective. We expect our success in fundraising to continue with the help of an active Board of Directors, enthusiastic leadership team, a seasoned and successful part-time development officer and an engaged and generous community.  Our challenge is to grow our operating budget so that we can accommodate at least one additional staff member and continue to offer free programming for anyone who lacks the price of admission.

This year our capital needs are to retire the mortgage ($10,000) on the Ferrini home and GWC headquarters, rebuild the foundation of the Ferrini home ($35,000) and acquire software, licenses and computers for the Maud/Olson Library ($10,000).

Foundation Comments

Financial summary data in the charts and graphs above is per the organization's IRS Form 990s. The nonprofit provided further revenue breakout detail for Foundation & Corporation and Government sources for fiscal years 2014 & 2013. Contributions from foundations and corporations are listed under individuals when the breakout was not available. As well, the organization provided a breakout of Administrative and Fundraising expense details for fiscal years 2014 & 2013.
 
Please note, Gloucester Writers Center worked with its preparer to amend its fiscal year 2014, 2013 and 2012 IRS Form 990s (amended files posted above), as the program expenses were inadvertently misstated. Please see the 990 files posted above for more information.
 

Impact

The Impact tab is a section on the Giving Common added in October 2013; as such the majority of nonprofits have not yet had the chance to complete this voluntary section. The purpose of the Impact section is to ask five deceptively simple questions that require reflection and promote communication about what really matters – results. The goal is to encourage strategic thinking about how a nonprofit will achieve its goals. The following Impact questions are being completed by nonprofits slowly, thoughtfully and at the right time for their respective organizations to ensure the most accurate information possible.


1. What is your organization aiming to accomplish?

Gloucester Writers Center’s goal is to honor, celebrate, and promote the rich literary tradition and practices on Cape Ann, and to bring the literary arts to the whole community, ensuring that diverse voices are heard.

Our programs promote writing, reading and storytelling as intrinsically valuable ways for people to build healthy community, and to learn about themselves and others. We create bridges between the literary world, the academic world, and the people living and working in our community - providing a platform for both known and unknown writers to share their work with our local audience. Scores of literary readings have been recorded in audio or video, and are available gratis, via internet.

Inclusion of people of all ages, classes, and backgrounds, and learning by listening to one another’s different experiences, are core values. We encourage enquiry, research, and development of writing practice as tools for self-awareness and social justice.

GWC’s goals for the next five years are to preserve and strengthen the dynamic engagement of community members and writers of local, national, and international stature in our classes, literary reading series, writer-in-residence program, and the new Maud / Olson Library. We have grown very fast in our first six years. Achieving our mission requires building an organization that will be sustainable for the next 50 years – and beyond. As we consider the many new opportunities to expand, we remain cognizant of the need to support and strengthen existing resources and programs - ensuring their continuity and maintaining their high quality.

In pursuit of excellence in governance, we continuously strive to improve GWC’s operational procedures and governance policies, aligned with accepted best practices for nonprofit management, and to implement these policies diligently.

We are stewards of an historic house – the home of Gloucester’s late poet laureate, Vincent Ferrini. Maintenance of the home is a key dimension of our mission. We have replaced the roof and upgraded systems. Foundation work is needed within the next few years; we are developing a long-term program of planned maintenance, to preserve the building as a community resource in perpetuity.

GWC has recently acquired another historic treasure, and assumed responsibility for its permanent care and conservation. The Maud / Olson library consists of all the books and other publications known to have been read by, and to have influenced the writing of, world-acclaimed Gloucester poet Charles Olson. The library was collected over a span of 50 years by Olson scholar Ralph Maud (1928-2014), who, interested in the sources of Olson’s poetry, undertook the ambitious task of identifying and collecting a copy of every book Olson had ever owned, read, or referred to. By the time of Maud’s death, he had collected 3100 such works, identified where and when each was read, analyzed its impact on Olson’s work, and transcribed Olson’s margin notes.

Over the next 12 months, GWC will carry out the needed physical conservation of the collection, and transform Maud’s catalog information and critical notes, as well as Olson’s margin notes, into a database available and fully searchable online.

GWC’s ultimate goal is to nourish the literary life of Cape Ann. Long term success will mean that in each generation, more people are writing and reading. It will mean people finding their voices, being better able to articulate whatever is important to them, whether personal or political, in speaking or in writing. The metric of our success is the extent to which the local cultural consensus advances toward the understanding that literature is our shared global human heritage, belonging to each of us, and when the ability to express oneself in words - and to be heard – is known to be - not the domain of a privileged few - but rather an essential part of being human.

 


2. What are your strategies for making this happen?

GWC’s mission and programs are completely aligned – each program represents a different strategy for enriching the literary life of Cape Ann.

Literary Readings

Each year GWC’s Literary Series offers 40+ public events and brings dozens of nationally and internationally recognized poets and writers to Cape Ann to read and discuss their work. Eminent visitors in the 2015 season include Pulitzer Prize winning poet Stephen Dunn and Ron Silliman – poetry blogger and winner of the Poetry Foundation’s Levinson prize.

The series also provides a forum for area writers - from emerging young talent to renowned veteran authors. Local authors include past and present Poets Laureate of Gloucester, Rockport, Swampscott, New Bedford and MA Cultural Council Artist Fellows.

Annual Charles Olson Lecture

GWCs was founded in 2010 - the centennial year of Gloucester Poet Charles Olson (1910 – 1970). The first Olson Lecture was part of the citywide Centennial celebration, and the annual lecture continues to bring Olson scholars of global standing to Gloucester. Olson lectures to date: Dianne DiPrima, Iain Sinclair, Anne Waldman, Amiri Baraka, and Michael McClure and Hettie Jones. 

Writers-in-Residence

This program offers authors accommodations in Vincent Ferrini's historic home – solitary time to write, plus the opportunity to interact with local writers, including participants in our education program. It attracts authors from all parts of the country and the world, supporting our core value of introducing local citizens to other perspectives, and connecting the global with the local.

Maud / Olson Library

This extraordinary collection includes nearly every book Gloucester poet Charles Olson is known to have ever owned, read, or referred to. Now entrusted to the stewardship of the Gloucester Writers Center, it is housed at 108 East Main Street, in Gloucester – a few steps from GWC, and is accessible to local residents and visiting scholars.

Community Education

This program helps participants develop their own spoken and written voices, the better to express themselves as individuals and as citizens. Offerings include:

Writing Group for Veterans (w/ Gloucester Office of Veterans Services)

Word Play for preschool children (W/ Pathways for Children)

A Room of One’s Own: an on-going writing group for economically distressed women

Women and Mining

Open Mike: A monthly opportunity to read from works in progress

Writing Workshops for elementary school children

Poetry Slams for kids and for teens

Teen Essay Mentoring Program

Elements of Story

Writing Fiction

Writing Memoir

Writing and Producing Ten-Minute Plays

Fish Tales: true stories told live, in the spirit of the Moth Story Hour

Write on! Works in Progress

Finish Line – a self-run group for authors of nearly finished works

Classes are small. Many programs are free. Some have a fee. In order to make GWC programming accessible to a diverse audience, we have a well-publicized policy that no one is turned away for lack of funds.

Organizing courses for specific populations, e.g. veterans, or waterfront workers, is another outreach strategy. We also bring programs out from GWC and into the community, offering programs at the venues of sister organizations, in public outdoor space, and at local businesses.

We publicize events and tell our story in the local press, through our email news blast and social media, and through our website. In addition to news about upcoming events, the web is the portal to archived audio and video recordings of scores of past GWC literary events. 
 
 This year the fee structure will change, as the result of an educational survey conducted in November 2016. Some programs will have fees but our core value policy of "no one is turned away for lack of funds" will remain in place.  Increasing fees will provide a revenue stream for the GWC.


3. What are your organization’s capabilities for doing this?

In the seven years since our founding, GWC demonstrated many capacities:

® to engage the literary community, locally and beyond;

® to help a wide range of people develop their writing practices;

® to provide a safe, hospitable, and beautiful place for writing groups and classes to flourish;

® to document, archive, and provide free access to a wide range of literary offerings;

® to offer hundreds of events, incorporating many literary genres;

® to provide creative community programs initiated by staff and volunteers;

® to engage other organizations in collaborative efforts connected to our mission of including all and ensuring that diverse voices are heard;

® to connect Cape Ann’s literary and poetic heritage to Cape Ann’s contemporary life;

® to host a writer-in-residence program;

® to raise the money and people power to support these efforts;

® to tell the story of GWC in our ongoing narrative.

We also are proving our ability to create a unique and original organization, based on healthy practices and articulated principles, with an egalitarian vision for our internal way of working with one another, our public programs, and our relationships with other organizations within the community. We value and make time for reflection, and are receptive to creative ideas that enhance the mission.

Staff Our core team is made up of five part-time staff members – our two co-directors (who are also GWC co-founders), and three admin staff.

Board of Directors GWC’s work is governed by a volunteer board of directors, comprised of the three founders, and nine other members. André Spears, Olson scholar and GWC co-founder, is president; co-founder and co-ED Anne Thomas, who has decades of nonprofit management experience, is clerk; Brenda Hiltz, CPA with Anthony Dodge, Inc. brings exceptional nonprofit accounting expertise to the role of treasurer. Many board members are well known writers; every board member brings expertise, and a rich network of relationships within the local community and/or within the national and international literary world.

Advisory Board Gloucester Writers Center is supported by an advisory board of writers and scholars of national and international acclaim.

Education Program GWC's dozens of courses and workshops are taught by highly qualified teachers. Some faculty work under contract with GWC, or with shared revenue agreements; many are volunteers.

Volunteers Over 120 local volunteers support the GWC as teachers, writers, playwrights and actors for special events, in fund development, on organizational development, accounting, gardening, building maintenance – in short, in every aspect of our work. The total number of volunteer hours exceeds many fold the hours for which staff are compensated; even paid employees contribute many additional hours, as unpaid volunteers.

Writers and Scholars The project of building a bridge between great contemporary writers and our public rests, obviously, on world class writers offering their priceless time to GWC’s mission. Cape Ann’s dynamic literary community, and GWC’s keen audiences, have attracted – and continue to attract – some of today’s leading writers, across every genre and field of interest.

Our Public Over 2000 individuals – mostly local residents – participate in GWC’s readings, classes, and other events, each year.

Budget Gloucester Writers Center’s projected annual budget for the coming year is $175,000. Approximately 60% comes from community contributions (major donors, direct mail appeals, and special events), 30% from grants, and 10% from program revenue.

 


4. How will your organization know if you are making progress?

GWC has created an inclusive community education program, breaking down some of the stratifications that impede democracy, and allowing a wide variety of people to feel comfortable “telling their stories”. We know this is working because:

§ We receive direct feedback from participants about the benefits they receive from our programs;

§ Other organizations enthusiastically collaborate with us;

§ The number of participants in our programs is large and growing, and many are repeat participants and/or participants in ongoing programs;

§ Our fundraising has been successful, with a growing base of support;

§ The dedication of our talented teaching staff to their students is demonstrated through their continued work, offering repeat classes and new offerings,

§ Board, staff, and a growing body of volunteers have worked tirelessly for six years.

The formal measures we use to evaluate our work are

1. Every course is evaluated by participants and faculty using a uniform set of questions at the beginning and the end of the course – or twice a year for ongoing courses.

2. Board, co-executive directors and all staff participate in an annual evaluation process, which starts with a self-evaluation. Support staff consult with the ED’s, ED’s consult with the board, and board members consult with one another, to complete the evaluation process and draft a work plan for the coming year.

3. Each program is evaluated annually by the program managers. The evaluation considers the program’s own specific goals, as well as GWC’s long term goals, as reflected in GWC’s response to Charting Impact.

4. The Charting Impact responses are reviewed annually by board, staff, and other members of the GWC community.

GWC tracks all events including the number of participants, and demographic info about participants. As we continue to bring recordkeeping into the 21st century, we will develop tools to make the data collected more accessible and more useful

As we do so, we ask, “What should we be counting? Is there a numeric measure that sheds light on how well we are achieving our mission? Is there something we could measure, which would guide us to improve our programs?”

At present, we do not have numerical goals. We are not pursuing growth for growth’s sake. Rather, we will regard our work as successful when we are able to maintain, over the long run, and across stages of growth, the high quality, and the rich array, of programs we deliver.

 


5. What have and haven’t you accomplished so far?

GWC is bringing the world of literary academics and professional writers to Cape Ann, and provides a space for writing, research, and dialogue.

GWC’s accomplishments to date include:

Ø encouraging writing as a means of expression and community building, for people from a cross section of the community;

Ø bringing literary events to thousands of residents,

Ø collaboration rather than competition with other non-profits,

Ø a space for writers to teach, and to be midwives to the work of other writers

Ø accommodation for writers from all over the world, who, in turn, share their insights and wisdom with the people of Cape Ann,

Ø preserving the memory, and illuminating the relevance, of our “founding poets” - Ferrini, Olson, and others,

Ø a forum for artistic endeavors beyond writing - including music, dance, theater, graphic design, and film,

Ø local dialogues on topics of global importance – from fields like politics, science, and the environment,

Ø bringing the humanities to people on a grass roots level, to benefit the community, with no profit motive,

Ø an egalitarian model of giving what one can in money, time, and shared effort,

Ø standing up for honoring and remembering poets, writers, and story tellers.

As a still young organization, we have not yet experienced programming failures – but we have learned many lessons along the way!

GWC was founded to preserve the home of Vincent Ferrini - not as a museum, but as a living place filled with his spirit of encouragement for writers. We have taken care of urgently needed rehab- including replacing the roof - and it is now a beautiful and much-used space. Still, the physical foundation under the house needs rebuilding. As we intend to preserve this historic treasure for posterity, the foundation is a high priority, to be addressed within the next few years.

The building is also a metaphor for GWC’s organizational development. In the first years of our existence, we grew rapidly, and built a beautiful, well-attended, and well-appreciated program. Seeing that we had succeeded in developing a Writers Center worthy of preserving for future generations, we recognized the need to build a strong institutional foundation under our organization.

Like any new non-profit, as we were inventing ourselves, our procedures were improvised. Making the transition to a mature organization with a firm foundation requires more formality. The first step was identifying and correcting weaknesses in our accounting methods. Next, we are upgrading to 21st century record keeping. We have analyzed and written out our processes and procedures, job descriptions, and a host of governance policies. Planning for the long term, we have developed a Succession and Leadership Development plan, so that when our founders eventually retire from their posts as co-directors, their institutional memory and relationships will already have been shared with their successors.

Our efforts to optimize our governance and operations has been supported by invaluable advice from the staff of Boston Foundation’s Giving Common, and we can now say with confidence that Gloucester Writers Center rests upon a firm organizational foundation. We are now putting our newly developed policies and procedures into practice - and to the test - and we will continuously review and refine them, in years to come - as conditions evolve.

Risks and obstacles? Gloucester Writers Center’s ultimate goal is to support a city of readers, writers, and thinkers, engaging with and creating literature, with membership accessible to everyone in the community, without regard to age, race, gender, or class. Our daily challenge is to remain open to new opportunities for growth, taking care not to grow faster than our capacity to sustain the very high quality of existing programs.