In January, a new Friends of Writers Scholarship, initiated by current students in the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson, was announced in Swannanoa at the Graduation banquet—along with news of a substantial contribution by the graduating class.  In the months that followed, the response has been tremendous, with generous gifts and pledges arriving from our extended community. As a result of this remarkable support, excitement over the Ellen Bryant Voigt Scholarship has just gained some serious momentum: Members of the Friends of Writers’ Board will personally match every donation given between May 19th and June 28th, dollar for dollar, up to $25,000.

This means that your gift can double in size. Please join us in celebrating the program’s 40th anniversary by making a donation or pledge in the next 40 days! (Yes, three-year pledges will be covered by the match, as long as the first payment is made in 2016– a great option for people wishing to break up their gift over time.)

In order to harness this exciting opportunity, we need your help right away.  First, make a tax-deductible contribution, online at, or with a check sent to:

Friends of Writers, Inc.

P.O. Box 128

Marshfield, VT 05658

Be sure to note in the “Notes” section online or on your check that your gift is for the EBV Scholarship.

Second, spread the word!  Please tell ALL your fellow Wallie friends and former classmates. If we all open our own wallets as wide as we can, this can result in $50,000 more for the EBV scholarship by the end of June. We’ll announce the results of this challenge at the 40th Anniversary Gala in Swannanoa, on June 28, and with your participation, we are confident we can achieve our goal.

Here’s the backstory:

In the fall of 2015 Ellen Bryant Voigt—poet, teacher and founder of the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College—received a prestigious MacArthur Fellowship. When current students heard the news, they began brainstorming a way to celebrate Ellen and to honor what she has done for poetry, for graduate writing education, and for this inimitable Warren Wilson community. Their idea? Create a scholarship in her name.

Ellen and the FOW board approved the idea. Ellen wrote: “The MacArthur Fellowship was such a lucky lucky thing—providential, actually, especially in the timing of it—I never thought my gratitude and joy could be further amplified. But I was wrong. This effort, initiated by current students in the Program, students with busy lives and all sorts of impediments to doing their important work, moves me profoundly. I will be proud to have an endowed scholarship bearing my name.”

The Ellen Bryant Voigt Scholarship will be need-based, like all FOW scholarships, and will support an extra semester of graduate study, giving recipients a strong start toward a book-length manuscript. Awards will begin after the balance has generated enough investment income to fund the scholarship. If we meet our 2016 goal of $100,000, the first award could happen for the January 2018 semester.

But we cannot reach this target without you. No amount is too small…or too big. You can mail in your tax-deductible gift or donate online. You can give once or monthly. You can also give annually for three years, making a pledge to be completed by 2018. If you have already given this year, we thank you again, and you can make a pledge for 2017 and have it doubled by the match.

Please join us in honoring Ellen Bryant Voigt, and in celebrating the Program’s past by ensuring its robust future for writers still to come.

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