We Need Diverse Books, the organization that emerged last April from the controversy over BookCon’s initial author lineup, has officially become a 501-c-3 public charity with tax-exempt status. All contributions made to WNDB are now tax-deductible, retroactive to the organization’s official founding on July 14, 2014, when it dropped its original hashtag and incorporated as a volunteer-run nonprofit.
Now that it is a 501-c-3 nonprofit, WNDB is eligible for government and foundation grants to support its programs, which include the Walter Award for established authors and Walter Dean Myers grants for emerging writers; its publishing internship program; the WNDB in the Classroom initiative in collaboration with the National Education Association’s Read Across America program, An Open Book children’s literacy foundation, and First Book that launched in January; and the children’s literature diversity festival, scheduled to be held in Washington, D.C. in August 2016.
“We are thrilled to be awarded 501(c)(3) status,” WNDB vp of finance Marieke Nijkamp stated in a release. “WNDB is committed to the ideal that embracing diversity will lead to acceptance, empathy, and ultimately equality. Being recognized as a public charity will strengthen us in our mission to make the literary landscape more inclusive.”
WNDB consists of an eight-member executive team headed by founder Ellen Oh, plus an advisory board of eight authors known for incorporating multicultural characters and themes in their works.