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For the Love of Erma

When we transformed the 2020 Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop into a virtual gathering, a number of generous attendees donated part or all of their partial refunds to help us in our quest to keep the workshop affordable — and accessible to writers.

Their donations underwrote the registrations of writers hit hard financially by the pandemic, several underrepresented writers, two facing cancer and an aspiring writer in the Ohio Reformatory for Women.

Fueled by a generous $10,000 gift by a donor who wishes to remain anonymous, we’re running a crowdfunding campaign through #GivingTuesday on Dec. 1 to continue to build the workshop’s endowment. For every dollar donated, this longtime supporter of the workshop will double your contribution, up to $10,000. 

That’s quite an impact.

“If we had to charge all our expenses to attendees, our registration fee would more than double. That’s why we need your support. Earnings from the endowment supplement our operating budget, allowing us to keep the registration fee low and bring in national-caliber presenters,” said Teri Rizvi, founder and director.

That’s why we’re asking Erma champions far and wide to use their creativity to show their love and support of the workshop on #GivingTuesday, 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 four 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.

We’d like anyone who’s contributed to the workshop through a gift this year, either directly to the crowdfunding campaign, a check popped in the mail or a donation of an honorarium or registration fee refund to create and post an “UNselfie.”

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 smartphone.

You can make it easy on yourself and download one of these Erma #UNselfie signs to use at your photo shoot: I Support the Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop Because… or Change the World.

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

We also have available two graphics  — “When Humor Goes, There Goes Civilization” and “It Takes a Lot of Courage” — for posting.

When you share your #UNselfie or graphic on social media on Dec. 1, please encourage other writers 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 201920182017 and 2016.

Click here to see current matching gift efforts, challenges, donors and advocates for our crowdfunding campaign. 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 by Dec. 1.

"We're inviting writers — and those who love them — to support Erma's legacy of laughter and the dreams of writers," Rizvi said. "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 next Erma Bombeck Writers' Workshop is slated for March 24-26, 2022, at the University of Dayton, Erma’s alma mater.

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