Literary New York State (LitNYS)


Nonprofit literary arts presenters, publishers and service organizations are often profoundly under-resourced, while serving as one of the distinguishing assets of communities across NYS. LitNYS Advancement Regrants are offered each year (with announcement in January, deadline in April and awards made in June) to support thoughtful program development and expanded capacity building opportunities for literary publishers, presenters and service organizations throughout New York State. Inspired by the National Endowment for the Arts’ former Advancement Program, which was instrumental in helping to professionalize literary arts organization in the 1990s, the program was designed and is directed by Debora Ott, LitNYS Founding Director, and administered by Laurie Dean Torrell, Executive Director, Just Buffalo Literary Center.
Launched in 2013, the Advancement Program has awarded sixty-four (64) capacity building regrants of $2,500-$10,000 to date, distributing $330,000 to the field. Advancement Awards Listing 2013-2019
For those completing prior Advancement Regrant projects, here is the Final Report Form: Advancement Regrant Final Report Form

2022 Grants

Fourteen New York State literary arts organizations have been awarded 2022 Advancement Regrants:

Girls Write Now, New York, NY: $10,000

To support the recruitment of 35 additional mentorship pairs to participate in the Publishing 360 Program.

Brooklyn Book Festival, Inc., Brooklyn, NY: $7,500

To upgrade its website;  establish Virtual Festival Day as a permanent feature of the Book Festival; and to develop a growing “library” of archived videos.

The Feminist Press, New York, NY: $7,500

To relaunch the Louise Meriwether First Book Prize for debut work by women and nonbinary writers of color in 2022.

Herstory Writers Workshop, Centereach, NY: $7,500

To establish an ongoing training program and curriculum resource for high school and middle school teachers based on Brave Journeys/Pasos Valientes, an anthology of student writing by immigrant children who crossed the border by themselves.

Lambda Literary, New York, NY: $7,500

To revamp and relaunch The Lambda Literary Review, a free, online publication.

Urban Word NYC, New York, NY: $7,500

To develop a Mentor Training Professional Development Module for a trauma-informed pedagogy through poetry workshops.

Restless Books, Inc., Brooklyn, NY: $6,500

To overhaul its technological infrastructure via the purchase of new desktop computers, laptops for staff members, and video recording equipment to aid in digital marketing and development efforts.

Writers & Books, Rochester, NY: $6,500

For capacity building in financial management and fundraising.

Poetry Society of New York, New York, NY: $5,000

To support its BIPOC Advisory Committee.

Walt Whitman Birthplace Association, Huntington Station, NY: $4,500

For pre-production script development of “The Whitman Project,” a 6-person play using Walt Whitman’s words to stimulate informative public-facing discussions on issues of DEAI.

Bright Hill Press, Inc., Treadwell NY: $2,500

For website redesign to enhance accessibility, efficiency and meet technological needs.

The Flow Chart Foundation, Hudson, NY: $2,500

To purchase museum display cases for its exhibit space. and showcase cross-genre literary work.

Pen Parentis New York, NY: $2,500

To hire a Strategic Planner.

Yara Arts Group, New York, NY: $2,500

To create Poetry in Performance videos featuring poetry by Ukrainian women translated into English. PDF Full Press Release

2021 Grants

Nine New York State literary arts organizations have been awarded 2021 Advancement Regrants:

BOA Editions, Rochester, NY: $10,000 For the production and marketing of six books within the BOA Audiobook Series. The Community of Literary Magazines & Presses, New York, NY: $10,000 To upgrade outdated office computers. n+1 Foundation, Brooklyn, NY: $7,500 For website upgrades that ensure ADA accessibility and increased reader engagement. Poetry Society of America, New York, NY: $7,500 For website refreshment to address questions of equity and social justice, and to ensure access regardless of age or ability. Teachers and Writers Collaborative, Brooklyn, NY: $7,500 For website redesign to ease access to lesson plans and articles and essays on teaching writing; create a platform for student writing; and archive 47-years of the TWC magazine. Electric Lit, Brooklyn, NY: $5,000 To make the Virtual Salon Series of events, developed during Covid, into a permanent offering. Hudson Valley Writers Center, Sleepy Hollow, NY: $5,000 To purchase an AV Technology system for in-person and virtual hybrid programming. Nightboat Books, Brooklyn, NY: $5,000 To increase diversity and access in the field of literary publishing by establishing a BIPOC Editorial Fellowship Program. Wendy’s Subway. Brooklyn, NY: $2,500 For developing a comprehensive domestic and international distribution strategy to support the circulation of authors’ work and reach wider audiences and readerships. (PDF) Advancement Awards Press Release 
2020 Grants Nine New York State literary arts organizations have been awarded 2020 Advancement Regrants: Cave Canem Foundation, Brooklyn, NY: $8,500 To launch an organization-wide professional development and emerging administrator mentorship initiative. The Poetry Project, New York, NY: $8,500 To build a shared commitment among board and staff around equity, justice, anti- oppression, and inclusion. Writers & Books, Rochester, NY: $6,000 To design and implement a new web site that enhances user experience and increases efficiencies for staff.  The Brooklyn Book Festival, Brooklyn, NY: $4,500 To host the 2020 Brooklyn Book Festival & Literary Marketplace online, live streaming events on “virtual stages” and their web pages The Arts Branch of the YMCA of Central NY, Syracuse, NY: $2,500 To expand and promote their new online programming to a wider, national audience. Bright Hill Press & Literary Center, Treadwell, NY: $2,500 To upgrade computer equipment and software programs. The Center for Fiction, Brooklyn, NY: $2,500 To establish a Digital Media Fellowship, and expand audiences for Center for Fiction programs. Kweli Journal, New York, NY: $2,500 To redesign their website for increased functionality and accessibility. The National Book Foundation, New York, NY: $2,500 To develop a 2021-2023 Strategic Plan that fosters significant organizational growth by increasing visibility, streamlining operations and programming, and developing fundraising capacity. Click here to read the full release  
2019 Grants Nine New York State literary arts organizations have been awarded 2019 Advancement Program Regrants: Words Without Borders ($10,000) for a strategic rebranding process, including a new logo and style guide, that will inform the redesign of its website. Community of Literary Magazines & Presses ($5,650) to complete a web upgrade redesign, improving user experience, conversion rate, and search engine optimization. BOA Editions ($5,250) for a video marketing and educational campaign that promotes the poems of Western New York poet Lucille Clifton via a book trailer and short documentary film. Herstory Writers Workshop ($3,800) to create an editorial/management consultancy from a volunteer position, thereby securing needed support for the organization. Poetry Society of America ($3,750) to upgrade and modernize its technology systems, improve the process for award submissions, and purchase new equipment. One Story ($3,750) to hire a consultant and embark on a strategic planning process. Girls Write Now ($2,800) to create talent pipeline to publishing and media industries for Girls Write Now mentees. Ugly Duckling Presse ($2,500) to install industrial shelving within its workspace, doubling the capacity for backlist storage and increasing the press’ ability to print larger, forthcoming print runs. Kundiman ($2,500) for a capacity-building project that will impact communications and design. Includes hiring a design consultant to create communications materials, and staff training. Click here for full 2019 Award Announcement 2019 ADV Award Release 071519
2018 Grants In June, 2018 seven New York State literary arts organizations were awarded $40,000 in LitTAP Advancement Regrants: Cave Canem Foundation ($8,750) to implement an organization-wide technology upgrade including: a shift from an in-house email and file server system to a cloud-based system with present-day capabilities; and replacing outdated computing equipment with modern machines. Poets & Writers ($8,750) to hire an outside consulting firm to conduct a feasibility study and strategic planning, thereby laying the groundwork for a campaign tied to the organization’s 50th anniversary. BOA Editions ($5,000) to purchase office hardware, conduct an organizational technology update, and expand BOA’s online Visual Arts Library. The Brooklyn Rail ($5,000) to support a Website development project: expand portion of its archive available online; upload multi-media content; and make online platform more accessible and searchable. The Feminist Press ($5,000) for new software, the development of an anniversary logo and associated digital content, targeted outreach, and videography to support organizational development and capacity building initiatives in preparation for its 50th anniversary. Theatre Communications Group ($5,000) to partially underwrite the purchase and implementation of a new, automated, royalty tracking and payment system. Nightboat Books ($2,500) to support a redesign of its website, which will enhance the visibility of its books, and increase its presence in the literary community as well as with general readers. Click here for full Announcement
2017 Grants In June, 2017, nine New York State literary arts organizations were awarded $45,000 in LitTAP Advancement Regrants:
  • Community of Literary Magazines & Presses: $10,000, to implement a capacity building technology project.
  • Writers & Books: $7,500, to replace its current e-commerce portal and database.
  • Poetry Society of America: $5,125, to make its Website mobile- and user-friendly, reflective of PSA’s new branding and design.
  • A Public Space: $5,000, to update its online store, and engage its readers in workshops and a series on editing.
  • Brooklyn Book Festival: $5,000, for website conversion and training for staff and interns.
  • Ugly Duckling Presse: $4,875, to redesign its accounting system and purchase two desktop computers.
  • Art Resources Transfer: $2,500, for Poulin Project educational research & outreach.
  • Conjunctions/Bard College: $2,500, for electronic marketing and outreach.
  • Fence Magazine: $2,500, to deign a social media program for its 20th anniversary.

2016 Grants In 2016, eight New York State literary arts organizations were awarded a total of $45,000 in LitTAP Advancement Regrants:
  • Bellevue Literary Press: $10,000, for audience development.
  • Poets House: $7,000, for Web and digital infrastructure development
  • Poets & Writers: $6,750, for Web site reorganization, upgrade and redesign.
  • The Asian American Writers Workshop: $6,500, to help fund a P/T development associate.
  • Herstory Writers Workshop: $5,000, for infrastructure development consultant fees.
  • Words Without Borders: $4,250, to build digital outreach and analytic capacities.
  • Cave Canem: $3,000, for technology analysis and planning.
  • Bright Hill Press & Literary Center: $2,500, to hire a Web site designer.

2015 Grants Six literary arts organizations were awarded a total of $25,000 in 2015 Advancement Re-grants. Re-grant awardees are:
  • A Public Space ($4,650): to develop a comprehensive three-year strategic plan aligning editorial projects with organizational capacity.
  • Bellevue Literary Press ($4,450): to reach new audiences via academic institutions and libraries expanding readership, diversifying revenue streams and further stabilizing the organization.
  • BOA Editions ($4,650): to design, develop, implement, promote and launch a modernized organizational website and mobile website while preserving brand integrity.
  • One Story ($4,300): to revamp its website incorporating its broadened organizational scope, a second magazine, and educational and membership programming.
  • The Poetry Project ($4,450): to increase awareness and support of key programs by rebuilding its online literary platform, revamping its website and creating podcasts accessible via iTunes.
  • The Writers Room ($2,500): to enhance and expand its website and develop a literary platform befitting its status as New York’s (and the nation’s) oldest and largest urban writers’ colony.
Applications were assessed on a 5-point scale to measure each of (3) criteria – Artistic Quality, Managerial Competence and Demonstrated Need, and were judged by experienced NYSCA Literature panelists Gloria Jacobs, arts and literature consultant; John Haworth, Director, National Museum of the American Indian; and Andrea Louie, Executive Director, Asian American Arts Alliance.  Applicants’ annual operating budgets ranged from $295,000 to $1,557,667.