It’s the fifth day of our 12 Days of Charitable Giving! In December, I’ll be focusing on twelve charitable organizations which my readers have nominated as most deserving of your charitable donation. You have a couple more weeks to squeeze in you charitable deduction for tax purposes in 2014 – so why not consider one of our twelve?
Today’s featured charity is City of Asylum/Pittsburgh. City of Asylum/Pittsburgh offers sanctuary to endangered literary writers so that they can continue to write.
City of Asylum has roots back to 1989 when, after publication of his novel The Satanic Verses, a fatwa was issued by the Supreme Leader of Iran that ordered the killing of its author, Salman Rushdie, forcing into hiding. In 1993, a group of writers led by Rushdie formed the International Parliament of Writers which provided one to two years of support for endangered writers in exile. The specific cities in Europe were called “Cities of Asylum.” Four years later, Rushdie gave a talk in Pittsburgh and spoke about the Cities of Asylum network. Diane Samuels and Henry Reese heard Rushdie’s talk and wrote to Cities of Asylum in Europe about starting a chapter in Pittsburgh.
In 2004, City of Asylum/Pittsburgh officially opened its doors. Today, City of Asylum provides an exiled writer and the writer’s family with a house, a stipend, medical benefits, and other assistance including an immigration attorney.
Exiled writers who have been in residence include:
2004-2006: Huang Xiang (China)
2006-2009: Horacio Castellanos Moya (El Salvador)
2008- 2011: Khet Mar (Burma)
2011- present: Israel Centeno (Venezuela)
Visiting international writers in residence include:
2007: Vijay Nair (India)
2008: Glaydah Namukasa (Uganda)
2009: Maxine Case (South Africa), Marius Ivaskevicius (Lithuania),
Irakli Kakabadze (Georgia)
2010: Billy Kahora (Kenya), Beverly Perez-Rego (Venezuela)
2011: Fabienne Kanor (France), Marvin Victor (Haiti)
2012: Vijay Nair (India, Fulbright Scholar), Barlen Pyamootoo (Mauritius)
City of Asylum also presents readings, concerts and literary events featuring international literary authors, local musicians and writers of interest in many genres. Annual performances and literary events include the Jazz-Poetry Concert, Writers in the Gardens, and Cave Canem Poets Reading.
So how can you help?
You can make a donation online. You can also send a donation by mail:
City of Asylum/Pittsburgh
330 Sampsonia Way
Pittsburgh PA 15212.
Or over the phone:
(Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.)
As always, you want to make sure that your donation is going to a qualified charitable organization. A search using the IRS’ Exempt Organizations Select Check reveals that City of Asylum/Pittsburgh is on the list. To find out more about the work of the organization, check out their website, like them on Facebook or follow them on Twitter.
Remember, submissions to the 12 Days of Charitable Giving are made by readers and in most cases, I can’t personally vouch for the good work that these folks do. So be generous. But be smart. Do your homework.
For more on making charitable donations, check out some of these prior posts:
- Making Your Gifts Count: 10 Smart Tips For Charitable Giving
- 12 Tips for Year End Charitable Giving
- Ask the taxgirl: Charitable Contributions and Receipts
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