Mutual, Membership Benefit
• Monthly programs are presented on a wide range of topics, designed to offer insight and inspiration to writers. Programs usually include a meal, offering members and guests a chance to socialize while enjoying the presentation. Attendance has been averaging 20-35 at each program. Programs are currently taking place remotely on the Zoom platform in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
• Member gatherings and interactions nurture the friendships and professional contacts that DWPC members cite as one of the most important reasons for staying. In a recent survey of club members, 71 percent said they joined the club in order to meet other professional women writers. When asked why they stay in the club, 65 percent cited friendships and relationships with other club members as the primary reason.
• Looking forward and expanding upon this valuable data, the club engaged in a strategic planning effort, dubbed "Back To Our Future," to assess the nature, needs and notions of DWPC and to improve the club's offerings, outreach, and appeal to members and potential members..
A recent survey indicated that 40% of members had attended 6 or more programs during the year and 60% attended 5 or fewer. More than 75% of members volunteered to help with various programs.
Arts, Culture & Humanities
Female Youth/Adolescents (14 - 19 years)
The Denver Woman's Press Club supports the local and regional writing community and enriches the city's cultural and historic resources.
• Programs open to the public include special events at the clubhouse. From September 2018 through May 2019, there were approximately 15 events showcasing authors' new work and providing the audience with both inspiration and practical tools for advancing their writing. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all public programs are cancelled.
• For many years, DWPC has hosted the Unknown Writers' Contest. It's open to both men and women who are Colorado residents, age 18 or older. Entrants must never have been professionally published. Categories include short-form fiction, nonfiction essays and poetry. DWPC is investigating potential ways to offer the contest safely during the current public health emergency.
DWPC promotes the contest to unpublished writers throughout the community, including those at The Gathering Place, a day shelter for homeless women and children. In recent years DWPC has partnered with the Gathering Place to help clients and nurture the creative process there. It's now home to a thriving writers' group which published its own book, One Day, One Night at a Time: Women Write of Poverty, Homelessness, and Hope, in June 2013.
Regardless of background and circumstances, the Unknown Writers' Contest is a delight and an inspiration to all. The entries are judged by members, who review each piece and offer comments and suggestions to help each writer improve.
• The innovative Salon Series, presented periodically on Sunday afternoons since 2016, is an informal, interactive session hosted by professional writers on a topic of interest. Recent topics included writing by, for, and about minorities; writing strong female characters; writing about sex; historical fiction and women in the press. These events are presented free with donations suggested. Now in its third year, each salon routinely draws 12-24 attendees. We are now offering salons on Zoom.
• DWPC regularly hosts seminars, workshops and networking events to help writers develop diverse skills and abilities. These are typically half-day interactive sessions on topics such as marketing one's work and improving a particular writing style. These workshops are geared toward developing writers and are open to the public. Some are collaborations with other professional writers' organizations. Fees go toward general operating expenses at DWPC. These are all on hold during the pandemic.
• The DWPC also hosts an annual poetry event at the clubhouse in spring of each year, to provide support for poetry and poets of all ages and experience. The 2019 event had to be canceled due to the pandemic.
• The annual holiday jewelry sale is an important fundraising event with proceeds supporting DWPC's long-standing scholarship program. It's also a cherished holiday tradition that draws hundreds of community members into the clubhouse. Attendance at the three-day event typically ranges from 800-900 people. Unfortunately, the sale was not held in 2020, but we are funding scholarships this year from prior year sale proceeds and member donations.
• In recent years, DWPC has collaborated or partnered with cultural and charitable organizations including the Gathering Place, Doors Open Denver, Facing History and Ourselves, Alliance Francaise, History Colorado, and the Damon Runyon Award. These agencies share DWPC's goal of supporting not only the writing community, but also the cultural and historic resources that strengthen the community as a whole.
• Outreach needs a place to reach out from, and that is our historic clubhouse. To insure its valuable role in the community and to members, the club recognizes the need to commit substantial time and resources to maintain our unique and wonderful home. This commitment remains strong even though we are not holding events and programs at the house during the pandemic.
Public programs routinely sell out and outreach events attract more than a thousand visitors throughout the year. The Unknown Writers Contest offers professional support free of charge each year to a diverse group of 50-60 individuals interested in writing, some of whom face economic and social challenges.
Female Young Adults (20 - 25 years)
Female Youth/Adolescents (14 - 19 years)
Each year, the Denver Woman's Press Club awards three scholarships to outstanding young women writers at Colorado colleges and high schools. These scholarships were each established by DWPC members in order to support and nurture the profession. Award amounts vary each year, based on the proceeds from the annual DWPC holiday jewelry sale, which is the primary funding source for the scholarship program. Additional contributions to the scholarship program are accepted throughout the year.
Monies are divided equally among the three award recipients, and in recent years, individual awards have varied between $1,500 and $2,500. Here are the specifics on each award:
Frances Belford Wayne Merit Award
Named for Frances Belford Wayne, this monetary award recognizes the outstanding journalistic abilities of a University of Colorado School of Journalism student. Frances Belford Wayne, a Central City native, distinguished herself during a 40-year career with The Denver Post and won national recognition as an investigative reporter and feature writer. She was the first honorary member named by the Denver Woman's Press Club. The scholarship was initiated in 1940 by DWPC President Gladys Van Vranken Parce, and has been donated from DWPC general funds for more than half a century.
Ruth Murray Underhill Award
The Ruth Murray Underhill Award was established in 1985 to honor the memory of one of the DWPC's most distinguished members. Dr. Underhill was a lifelong advocate of the English language, an anthropologist and an authority on North American Indians. She was a journalist and author in the fields of science, fiction and poetry.
Scholastic Art & Writing Award
The Scholastic Art & Writing Award, established in 1923, is the largest and most prestigious awards program for talented high school students in the nation. The Awards & Philanthropy Committee of the Denver Woman's Press Club selects the winner each year from among Colorado students who earn top honors in the program. Winners from the Colorado region proceed to New York for national judging. .
Year after year, DWPC makes a difference in the lives of young Colorado women writing students at the beginning their careers. They receive not just financial awards in the $1,500-$2,500 range, but also affirmation and support. Stephanie Lynne Couey, who recently received the DWPC Ruth Murray Underhill Scholarship Award while an MFA student of creative writing at the University of Colorado Boulder, said "I hope to continue to contribute to fields of writing both academic and aesthetic, and am sincerely grateful for the recognition of this award."