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Share the Erma love on #GivingTuesday

When attendee Joanne Brokaw of Rochester, New York, met author Sophfronia Scott at an early Erma Bombeck Writers' Workshop, the keynoter shared a contact at a major magazine - and gave the Rochester, New York, writer the confidence to pursue other writing outlets for her work.

"I ended up doing a monthly subscription news thing to dozens of small newspapers across the U.S. and Canada and that led to feature stories and yada, yada, yada," said Brokaw, improviser, performer and author of the newly released Suddenly Startdust: A Memoir (Of Sorts) About Fear, Freedom and Improv.

"It's the Erma tale: successful folks sharing their knowledge, inspiring ideas and gently pushing us out of our comfort zones," she said. "I feel like I could give you a beautiful story for pretty much everyone I've met on faculty at Erma over the years."

The Erma Bombeck Writers' Workshop is wrapping up its ambitious crowdfunding campaign this week by asking Erma champions far and wide to use their creativity to show their love and support of the workshop on #GivingTuesday on Dec. 3.

#GivingTuesday is a global day of giving that harnesses the collective power of individuals, communities and organizations to make a difference in the lives of others and the causes they support. In the past three years scores of writers have made donations to the workshop's endowment fund, then created inspiring, imaginative and funny "UNselfies" to share through social media on #GivingTuesday to encourage others to give. Every dollar raised goes directly into the workshop's endowment fund to help keep the experience affordable for writers. Registration fees cover less than half the cost of operating the nationally renowned biennial workshop.

To make a gift, click here. Here are step-by-step instructions for creating your UNselfie:

Download blank UNselfie. Share how you are giving back or why you give on the UNselfie sign.

Hold up the #UNselfie sign and take your selfless selfie with your smart phone.

Or make it easy on yourself and download one of these Erma #UNselfie signs to use at your photo shoot: You Can Write UNselfie,It Takes A Lot of Courage UNselfie or When Humor Goes, There Goes Civilization UNselfie.

Or go wild, forget the templates and create your own masterpiece of Erma love.

On Tuesday, Dec. 3, share your #UNselfie on social media and encourage your friends to give. Use these hashtags: #ErmaChampions #GivingTuesday. We plan to compile a Facebook album, so please send your #UNselfie to Take a look at our Facebook albums of Erma champions in 2018, 2017 and 2016.

This year's fundraising effort kicked off early on Nov. 4 with the announcement of a $10,000 matching gift challenge from an anonymous donor. Several generous supporters have created their own challenges and matches. Click here to see current matching gift efforts, challenges, donors and advocates. Who's stepping up? Writers on both coasts, Erma's home state of Ohio and a number of other states. Help us fill out the map with your participation this week.

"We're inviting writers - and those who love them - to support Erma's legacy of laughter and the dreams of writers," said Teri Rizvi, founder and director of Erma Bombeck Writers' Workshop. "Through the workshop, we inspire writers to find their authentic voice, and we work to cultivate new generations of writers who will see the world through the lens of humor and humanity - just as Erma did.

"The size of the gift doesn't matter. We'd love to see broad support from those who love the workshop and believe in its future."

The Erma Bombeck Writers' Workshop will celebrate two decades of supporting writers with the launch of the April 2-4, 2020, workshop. Registration opens at noon (EST) on Thursday, Dec. 12.

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