"Grub is Like Hogwarts" and 4 Other Reasons To Give
This month, Grub's Founder and Executive Director Eve Bridburg challenged her kids to advocate for the organizations they believe in. Inspired by their efforts, she decided to take the challenge herself and asked Grub donors why it's important to give to Grub.
It’s that time of year.
After our Thanksgiving feast next week, which my husband lovingly prepares every year, I plan to sit down with him and my kids to decide how best to invest the money we can afford to give away this year. GrubStreet, as you might imagine, has been at the top of our giving list since the beginning. But this year, I’ve asked my kids to pitch their own ideas about what causes and organizations we should be supporting. I’ve asked them to come prepared to make the case. Inspired by the seriousness with which they are taking this on, I decided to up my own game in making my case for GrubStreet by speaking to a few of our donors about why they give.
Here’s a snapshot of what I learned.
GrubStreet has put Boston on the national literary map. It’s grown from being a small, niche organization to a place that’s broadly known in the country. A lot of people think about Boston in a different way now because of what’s been built here. In fact, people are moving here or closer in because of GrubStreet. The other more visible arts organizations—the museums and the theaters—are wonderful, of course, but Boston has a rich literary history that GrubStreet is keeping alive and remaking for the 21st century.
It boils down to community and access. In my “normal” life, I sometimes feel I’m with muggles. Grub is like Hogwarts. It’s this one place where I’m with fellow tribe members who understand what I’m doing. It’s really hard to be a writer on your own. People get MFAs to find a sense of community and to network, but for me there was nothing after my MFA until I found GrubStreet. Everything I’ve done associated with Grub has been high quality and almost like a life-long MFA. And the fact that so many can access it is amazing because when I was young the only way you could access this level of training and instruction was by getting an MFA. And when I think of what I paid for my MFA, it’s not something everyone can do. I wasn’t even aware of the obstacles or gates that others may face back then, but I am now.
It’s a sustainable organization. Every dollar you give can have a direct impact on someone’s life and I think that’s rare. Moreover, GrubStreet brings together people of various backgrounds and I hugely value that for my art. Makes me a better and more aware writer.
I love the summer youth programs, especially YAWP, and I wish I’d had to something like GrubStreet when I was a teen! I think these programs build self-esteem and confidence and allow teens to see themselves as writers, rather than just wanting to be a writer “some day.”
“I think the humanities get short shrift. They aren’t the most important thing to a lot of people, and there isn’t as much attention paid when it comes to equitable access as there is for other needs. But the humanities, and I place the narrative arts at their center, are hugely important. In terms of helping people become the kind of human beings they want to be, there’s nothing more meaningful.”
—Christine Gross-Loh, writer
Eve Bridburg is the Founder and Executive Director of GrubStreet. Under her leadership, the organization has grown into a national literary powerhouse by expanding offerings to better educate and equip writers in the digital age, launching new, innovative programming for advanced students, and significantly expanding scholarship opportunities to ensure access. Eve curated GrubStreet’s NEA-funded Publish it Forward lecture series and our innovative Launch Lab, led GrubStreet’s Diversity Task force, laying the foundation for GrubStreet’s next chapter, and was the driving force behind establishing the country’s first Literary Cultural District in downtown Boston. Eve’s work has been recognized by Boston Magazine, who named her one of Boston’s 50 most powerful women in 2010, and by BostInno Magazine who gave her their 2014 Arts and Entertainment Award for driving innovation in Boston. Having graduated from its inaugural class, Eve remains active with the National Arts Strategies Chief Executive Program, a consortium of 200 of the world’s top cultural leaders, which addresses the critical issues that face the arts and cultural sector worldwide. Eve has presented on publishing, the future of publishing, and on what it takes to build a literary arts center at numerous conferences, including AWP, O’Reilly’s Tools of Change, GrubStreet’s own The Muse and the Marketplace, Whidbey Island Writers Conference, The Sanibel Island Writers Conference, and Writers at Work. Her essays and op-eds on publishing, the role of creative writing centers and the importance of the narrative arts have appeared in The Boston Globe, Huffington Post, Cognoscenti, Writer's Digest and TinHouse. Eve worked as a literary agent at The Zachary Shuster Harmsworth Literary Agency for five happy years where she developed, edited, and sold a wide variety of books to major publishers. Before starting GrubStreet, she attended Boston University’s Writing program on a teaching fellowship, farmed in Oregon, and ran an international bookstore in Prague.See other articles by Eve Bridburg