Founder Jill Pollack addresses attendees at the first annual StoryStudio Writers Festival cocktail party.


What stories do you have to tell? What stories do you want to hear from others? How do we make our stories matter?

Stories Matter Foundation was founded in 2018 to build communities of storytellers trained to question, explore, celebrate, and change their worlds using the power of story.

We do this through our scholarship programs and the Chicago Stories Project. Join us by making a tax-deductible contribution here.

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See below for specific campaigns dedicated to unique fundraising initiatives.

Chicago Stories Project

The Chicago Stories Project is the community engagement arm of Stories Matter Foundation. Encompassing our “classes on the road” framework, as well as library partnerships, scholarships, and sponsorships, the Chicago Stories Project works to amplify voices from underserved communities in Chicago and the region. 


Youth Summer Camp writers on their last day

Youth Summer Camp Scholarships

Every summer, we offer creative writing camps to young writers across the city. With our virtual offerings, we can offer them to students across the country! Your donation will help cover the full cost of attendance and bring a young writer to StoryStudio for one of our summer camps, designed to unleash the creativity and potential of young writers.


Scholarships for In-a-Year Programs

We have two scholarship funds for our year-long programs: Both are in memory of former students. 

Doro Boehme (Novel in a Year 2017) and Ryan Joseph Letcher (Novel in a Year 2021-22) were both beloved members of Rebecca Makkai’s cohorts. The Doro Boehme grant provides multiple $500 grants to writers in all of our In-a-Year programs. The Ryan Joseph Letcher Fund provides one full scholarship for a writer working on a novel with LGBTQ+ themes.

These scholarships provide grants to inspired or emerging writers in our In-a-Year programs to create, publish, and change the world with their stories.



From Ryan’s husband and family: “Ryan was a passionate reader and writer who was dedicated to creating stories, characters, and projects that offered an authentic glimpse into the lives of LGBTQ+ individuals and our diverse community. We hope that this fund will inspire others to tell and create their own stories, and that it will continue to offer opportunities for LGBTQ+ writers and voices here in Chicago.”

Dana logo copy

Dana Wood Chaney Writers Fund

Dana Wood Chaney was a long-time member of the Studio and vital in its founding programs. The Stories Matter Foundation awards the Dana Wood Chaney Writers Fund as a $1,500 tuition grant to a student who is working on a novel, memoir, short story, essay collection, or poetry that addresses social change.


Donations for the Chicago Review of Books

The Chicago Review of Books is a publication of StoryStudio Chicago dedicated to making the literary conversation more inclusive by covering diverse genres, presses, voices, and mediums; shining a light on Chicago’s literary scene; and serving as a forum for literature in the Midwest. 


Writers Festival Scholarships

Our popular, annual Writers Festival sells out quickly but we save a number of spots for those who need financial assistance. Consider donating to help an aspiring writer attend panels lead by prominent authors.


Chicago Asian Writers Workshop

We are pleased to be a sponsor for the Chicago Asian Writers Workshop. Chicago Asian Writers Workshop (CAWW) is a creative writing workshop for Asian diasporic writers and writers of color based in Chicago and the Midwest. It was founded in summer 2020 by writer and bookseller Mal Pavel.



With your help we can grow these programs and bring to life more of the stories we need to hear—something we deem more important now than ever before. Would you contribute to this with a tax-deductible contribution?
We are very grateful for all the love and support you’ve shown us this year…and every year. Thanks for supporting Stories Matter Foundation.
Make your donation today, and help change the world.