Dear Friends of Urban Word:
Eight years ago, Urban Word launched the nation’s first Youth Poet Laureate Program to both honor and celebrate young American poets who have achieved the highest levels of artistic achievement, while also having exhibited a strong commitment to civic engagement and youth leadership.
This fall, we are raising $50,000 to support the naming of the inaugural National Youth Poet Laureate at Gracie Mansion in April. Your support will honor the necessity of cultivating youth voice and social justice by helping to sponsor more than 100,000 young poets across the country, growing Youth Poet Laureate Programs to more than 50 cities nationally, awarding $25,000 in scholarships to the finalists, and publishing the work of local Youth Poet Laureates in each of our partner cities.
The first Youth Poet Laureate Program was spearheaded in New York City in 2008. Three years ago, that powerful idea spread to ten cities; then thirty-five cities in 2015; and now we aim to serve more than 50 cities across the United States by the end of 2017. This past summer, Urban Word partnered with the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities to name the top five Regional Youth Poet Laureates and finalists at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.
The excitement about Urban Word’s important and necessary work continues to spread. In September, First Lady Michelle Obama invited these five finalists of the National Youth Poet Laureate Program to the White House to celebrate their powerful work as both poets and community leaders.
Of course, the first people we wanted to share this exciting news with is you. Our programs have grown and thrived because of the support from committed individuals who recognize and acknowledge the impact that platforms for youth voice have in our communities and our nation. Civic discourse is important now more than ever, and by supporting programs like ours, you are empowering thousands of youth to vote with their creative voices.
In consideration of your tax-deductible donation of:
$1 – $99 contribution receives a monthly newsletter featuring all of Urban Word’s public events and free programs for teens locally and nationally.
$100 – $500 contribution receives a beautiful broadside of a poem by NYC Youth Poet Laureate and finalist, Nkosi Nkululeko.
$500 – $1,500 contribution receives a chapbook of poems by all 5 finalists of the National Youth Poet Laureate program.
$1,500 contribution receives 1 VIP ticket to Gracie Mansion this April where we celebrate this program and name the inaugural National Youth Poet Laureate (Additional VIP tickets are available for $500 contribution).
$2,500 contribution receives 2 VIP tickets to Gracie Mansion, plus the broadside and chapbook.
To find out more about this powerful program, view the participating cities and finalists, please visit www.youthlaureate.org. To learn more about Urban Word NYC or to make an online donation, please visit www.urbanwordnyc.org.
In peace and poetry,
Michael Cirelli, Executive Director