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The foundation presently supports a dozen programs that align to our mission, vision, and values. These programs vary regarding the target markets they serve; some activities are best accomplished on an in-person basis while others work well with more remote stakeholders.

Currently Active

Cards of Kindness — This program celebrates creative ways to sharing kindness within our communities through the handcrafting of cards intended for isolated and at-risk senior citizens. Literary quotes and positive words are paired with creative design to bring joy to people in need. This program is limited to Kent, Ottawa, and Muskegon counties. The program director is Jay Brown.

Grand River Writing TribeThe Tribe is a collection of in-person and virtual critique-focused small groups, affiliated under a single organizational banner so as to share resources and programming opportunities across the groups. Each individual group runs itself but the Tribe as a whole shares a Discord server and a community website. The program is self-funded from voluntary donations from participants; it does not incur material expenses. The program director is Andrew Ronzino.

Independent Creator Program — This program offers structural support, including fiduciary agent services, for independent authors, poets, and writing groups that are not affiliated with a non-profit entity or an academic institution but nevertheless pursue specific programs that are eligible for grant funding or discounts for non-profit status. For grants, the foundation serves as custodian of those funds and as the fiscal officer, thus empowering these indie creators to enjoy the same access to resources as their institutionally positioned peers. The Foundation keeps 10 percent of each grant as an administration fee, which funds this program. There is no cost to partnering on a per-event basis to leverage the Foundation’s non-profit status. The program director is Brittany Wilson.

LitConnect is a website running the HumHub open-source social collaboration software. It’s intended to allow members (who may register accounts for free) to post events and network within affinity communities within the platform. The site’s static webpage is intended to be a platform for leveraging This program incurs no material expenses but earns revenue through community donations. The platform is administered by the Foundation.

The Literary Salon — The Salon program, offered in partnership with Jason’s Books & Coffee, features a weekly block of time for writers and poets to work within the bookstore and to obtain free help from the program director. The Salon includes standing activities that occur each month (game nights, book-club nights, a conversation club, and craft seminars) to enrich participants’ experience. The program director is Jason Gillikin.

West Michigan Author Alliance — The WMAA is a group of roughly 100 published and aspiring writers (mostly novelists) located mostly in Kent, Ottawa, and Muskegon counties. The group offers a mix of in-person and virtual programming and is intended to help authors progress on their writing journey. It’s not a critique group but rather a collective of authors who look to each other for support and encouragement. The group offers writing challenges throughout the year, including a major novel-writing activity in the late autumn. The WMAA is formerly the Grand Rapids region of National Novel Writing Month, which disaffiliated from NaNoWriMo in early 2024. The program director is Melanie Van Weelden.

Currently Retooling or About to Launch

Independent Literary Professional Certification Program — This program consists of a series of carefully crafted online learning modules that cover the entire spectrum of the essential acumen people need to know to be successful in the indie literary space. These online, on-demand, self-paced courses culminate in a certificate of completion. Initial steps

The Lakeshore Review — this literary journal, originally launched by Lakeshore Literary, Inc., will move to the Foundation with the opening of the reading window for Issue No. 7. The journal is largely self-funded by submission fees from submitters from outside of the region. The transition from Lakeshore Literary to Lakeshore Literary Foundation was depressingly shambolic, but the ship will be righted by late spring 2024.

Literary Internship Program — The internship program, which ran through a previous publishing company, equipped undergraduate students for both the craft and the business of being a literary professional. This program will re-launch in the autumn of 2024.

The Midwestern Lit Podcast — There’s a lot of great talent in the indie author and small-press pace. This season-based weekly podcast will launch in the summer of 2024 with a rotating cast of guest hosts.

On the Horizon

Great Lakes Book Awards — The book awards (a more definitive title for the program will be developed later) will recognize top works by emerging writers who are located in the region. The first submission schedule is slated for (potentially) late 2024. Criteria are still being finalized, but it’s expected that the top five books by genre category will receive judged awards and the top category winners will receive a targeted residency. The program will be designed so as to not directly compete with programs like Michigan Notable Book, the Midwest Book Awards, the CLMP Firecracker Awards, and the Benjamin Franklin Awards. Costs are likely to exceed $20,000 with revenue coming from submission fees and institutional sponsorships.

LitBox Mystery Box Program — This program offers back issues of literary journals and various small-press books to subscribers to a monthly “mystery box” product. Proceeds from the subscriptions fund the program, as well as compensating the contributing small presses at 60% of the list price of their content. This program is slated for launch in the first half of 2025.