Freelancers are economically vulnerable to emergencies that prevent us from working. ASJA’s Writers Emergency Assistance Fund (WEAF) was founded to provide grants to professional freelance writers who are temporarily or permanently prevented from continuing with their freelance writing businesses.
Established in 1982 as the Llewellyn Miller Fund, the name was changed in 2000. Since then, WEAF has awarded more than 160 grants totaling approximately $400,000. Among recipients have been writers of diverse backgrounds and interests with an impressive list of honors and credentials. Each year, many such talented and deserving writers appeal to WEAF for help.
Am I Eligible?
- You do not need to be an ASJA member, but you must qualify for professional membership in ASJA. This means you must be an established nonfiction freelance writer with clips in national publications and/or more than one book with a traditional publisher.
- As an established freelance writer, your normal writing capacity must be severely diminished or non-existent as a result of illness, disability, a natural disaster (such as a fire or hurricane) or an extraordinary professional or personal crisis (such as a professional lawsuit or having to care for a seriously ill spouse or child).
- You will be required to provide documentation that demonstrates your need and the reasons you are eligible for a WEAF grant. See the checklist below.
- WEAF funds are not available to those who are experiencing economic difficulties because of downturns in the publishing industry, a client or publication that has not paid for contracted work, the closure of a publication or client’s business, or the loss of a staff or permalance position.
- WEAF does not award grants for writing projects, nor does it fund works-in-progress. WEAF grants are offered to help recipients meet living expenses, because they are unable to work.
- No more than two WEAF grants can be awarded to one candidate.
The following materials must accompany your application. Before starting your application, please gather the required documentation.
- Links to books published by traditional publishers. These links may come from Amazon, a publisher’s website, or Bookshop.org, for example.
- Links or pdfs of bylined, full-length magazine or newspaper articles or other nonfiction writing done on a freelance basis for major publications, including national consumer or trade magazines and websites
- Links or pdfs of non-bylined articles or other nonfiction writing done on a freelance basis for content marketing companies, plus documentation—such as a signed contract—demonstrating that you completed this work
- A list of magazine and/or book credits
- Your bio or CV
All of the following documents are required. If your application does not include one or more of the following, it cannot be considered for a grant.
- Schedule C and pages 1 and 2 of the 1040 from your income tax return filed for the most recent year in which you made a living as a professional freelance writer
- Schedule C and pages 1 and 2 of the 1040 from the most recent year in which your income was diminished by disability, illness, or crisis
- The most recent bank statement(s) from all of your bank accounts, showing the amounts on deposit
- A completed W-9 form (download now)
Medical and Household Documentation
- Copies of medical, household and other monthly bills to help the review committee understand your financial need
- Professional and/or medical references to document your illness or disability
- If you are applying due to a natural disaster or an extraordinary professional crisis, an explanation (including dates) and how your ability to work has been affected
You must apply through ASJA’s online WEAF application forms. Email and snail mail applications will not be considered. All supporting documentation must be submitted via links and/or pdfs.
The WEAF grant review process takes approximately two to four weeks and is based on volunteer availability. Response times may fluctuate.