Arts, Culture, and Humanities

Poetry Center of Chicago

  • Chicago, IL
  • www.poetrycenter.org

Mission Statement

An independent not –for –profit arts organization founded in 1974, The Poetry Center of Chicago's mission is to promote poetry through reading, workshops, residencies and arts education; to make poetry accessible to the general public; to stimulate and encourage young poets; to advance the careers of poets by offering them professional opportunities; and to fulfill the need for creative learning opportunities in Chicago classrooms. The Poetry Center of Chicago offers Hands on Stanzas, a dynamic program that enhances literacy through poetry. Over 10,000 people served.

Main Programs

  1. Six Points Reading Series
  2. Hands on Stanzas Creative Literacy
Service Areas

Self-reported

Illinois

The Reading Series draws from Chicago and its suburbs
Hands on Stanzas Creative Literacy is completely in Chicago Public Schools classrooms.

ruling year

1975

Executive Director

Self-reported

Ms. Elizabeth M. Samspon

Keywords

Self-reported

Arts Organization

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EIN

23-7400515

 Number

6296792502

Contact

Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Arts, Cultural Organizations - Multipurpose (A20)

IRS Filing Requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990-N.

Programs + Results

How does this organization make a difference?

Programs

Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Program 1

Six Points Reading Series

In 1973, a small group of Chicago poets banded together to create Chicago’s first regular poetry reading series. Battling issues of censorship and championing free speech, the Poetry Center’s first reading took place in the basement of the Museum of Contemporary Art and featured Allen Ginsberg and William Burroughs.
Today the Poetry Center of Chicago’s Annual Reading Series is one of the most prestigious and recognized series in the Mid-West. Events have featured the most important writers of our time from Pulitzer Prize winners like Gwendolyn Brooks and John Updike, to Poets Laureate such as Billy Collins and Kay Ryan. Since establishing the reading series, now in its 43rd year, the Poetry Center has sought additional methods to support new writers, to develop new audiences, and to use poetry as a catalyst for educational achievement. The readings series hosts a range of programming— poetry readings, info-sessions on grants for writers, and youth literacy conferences. Last year we debuted the Six Points Reading Series: a monthly poetry reading that has been hosted in the Chicago Cultural Center, and since January, at innovative venues around the city, and features award-winning emerging and established writers.

Category

Arts, Culture & Humanities

Population(s) Served

General Public/Unspecified

Budget

$42,000

Program 2

Hands on Stanzas Creative Literacy

In 1997 the Poetry Center created the Hands on Stanzas program to meet the growing need for creative literacy programming in Chicago Public Schools. In the following 18 years, Hands on Stanzas has become the benchmark program of the Poetry Center of Chicago. The program places poets in Chicago schools for long-term residencies, usually spanning most of the school year. Poets read and write poetry with their students, and publish student work weekly. At the core of the program’s mission is its scholarship model—which ensures this poetry exists wherever it is needed in the community. The program supports the Poetry Center’s mission in providing paid teaching opportunities for Chicago poets and in providing poetry to the Chicago community.

Category

Arts, Culture & Humanities

Population(s) Served

Children and Youth (infants - 19 years.)

Poor/Economically Disadvantaged, Indigent, General

Budget

$55,220

Service Areas

Self-reported

Illinois

The Reading Series draws from Chicago and its suburbs
Hands on Stanzas Creative Literacy is completely in Chicago Public Schools classrooms.

Funding Needs

#1 Funding for additional Hands on Stanzas scholarships. The poetry Center places poet teachers in underserved Chicago Public School classrooms at no charge to the schools who qualify based on needs and a lack of arts programming in the school. #2 General Operations. Salaries for staff, expansion of staff, and day to day expenses. #3 Support for Reading Series. Funds for small honoraria for reading poets, marketing, and management of the series.

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Financials

Financial information is an important part of gauging the short- and long-term health of the organization.

Poetry Center of Chicago
Fiscal year: Jul 01-Jun 30

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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

Poetry Center of Chicago

Leadership

NEED MORE INFO ON THIS NONPROFIT?

Free: Gain immediate access to the following:
  • Address, phone, website and contact information
  • Forms 990 for 2011, 2010 and 2009
  • Board Chair
  • Access to the GuideStar Community
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Executive Director

Ms. Elizabeth M. Samspon

BIO

Elizabeth Sampson is a graduate of The University of Iowa and of the graduate writing program at The School of the Art Institute. Elizabeth's creative work is a hybrid of writing and visual art. She has published and shown work in the US, Egypt, and Germany. Before Hands On Stanzas, Elizabeth taught creative practice workshops in Cairo and Sinai, Egypt, taught at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and was editor of the electronic magazine, Dear Navigator. As founder of the literary journal, Dear Navigator, she became adept at the skills needed to run an arts organization. Elizabeth began work with The Poetry Center of Chicago eight years ago as a poet/ teacher in the Hands on Stanzas program. Three years ago she undertook the task of re-starting Hands on Stanzas after a one year hiatus. The number of classrooms in the program has doubled or tripled each year since. Elizabeth also manages three paid interns for the Poetry Center, she has a thorough, working knowledge of the organization and a firm grounding in non-profit fundraising and management.

Governance

BOARD CHAIR

Mr. Henry J. Sampson

The Poetry Center of Chicago

Term: July 2011 -

BOARD LEADERSHIP PRACTICES

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RESPONSE NOT PROVIDED

BOARD ORIENTATION & EDUCATION

Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations?


RESPONSE NOT PROVIDED

CEO OVERSIGHT

Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year?


RESPONSE NOT PROVIDED

ETHICS & TRANSPARENCY

Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year?


RESPONSE NOT PROVIDED

BOARD COMPOSITION

Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership?


RESPONSE NOT PROVIDED

BOARD PERFORMANCE

Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years?