James River Writers
2319 E. Broad St.
Richmond VA 23223
Mission Statement James River Writers (JRW) builds community by connecting and inspiring writers and readers in Central Virginia.
CEO/Executive Director Ms. Katharine Herndon
Board Chair Ms. Joanna S. Lee
Board Chair Company Affiliation Poet
Contact Information
Address 2319 E. Broad St.
Richmond, VA 23223
Telephone 804 433-3790
Fax 0 0
E-mail info@jamesriverwriters.org
History and Background
Year of Incorporation 2003
Financial Summary
Projected Revenue $165,808.00
Projected Expenses $165,808.00
Additional Documents
Annual Report2010View
Mission James River Writers (JRW) builds community by connecting and inspiring writers and readers in Central Virginia.

2015 Accomplishments

  • Nearly 150 aspiring writers improved their skills by writing with agents and published authors in JRW workshops and Master Classes.
  • Over 300 individuals increased their knowledge of advanced writing concepts by participating in our annual conference.
  • Over 450 people attended the 15th year of Writing Show programming, our monthly panel event on the craft and business of writing.
  • Began partnership with The Poe Museum on contests and events.


2016 Goals
  • Strengthen membership model to increase benefits and revenue.
  • Continue to increase youth involvement in JRW programs.
  • Increase breadth and depth of community participation in JRW programs.
  • Continue to build nonprofit partnerships like the ones with Firehouse Theatre, The Poe Museum, and ROSMY.




  • Recruitment and utilization of volunteers with development and technical skills
  • A professional publicity plan to engage the community and advertise our nationally recognized programming.
  • $35,000 in various sponsorship opportunities for programs such as the annual conference and The Writing Show
  • $18,000 in unrestricted contributions to cover lean operating expenses
  • A committee to undertake the planning and implementation of an engaging fundraising event for 2017.



JRW was established in 2003 to address the needs of writers and literary fans in Virginia by hosting Richmond’s first writing conference. Since then, JRW has grown into a multifaceted organization of close to 400 members. Today, JRW promotes the art of writing and the love of books for people of all ages. By encouraging readers and aspiring writers with a wide array of programs and events, JRW serves and celebrates our community while making Richmond a nationally known literary hub.  

Our major programs are:
  • JRW Annual Writing Conference, where over 300 authors, publishing professionals, aspiring writers, and lovers of books come together in downtown Richmond to hear luminaries in the field of publishing, such as David Baldacci and Adriana Trigiani, discuss various topics related to the art and craft of writing;
  • Master Classes that offer hands-on education from industry professionals in a classroom setting;
  • The Writing Show, our on-going, monthly educational and entertaining forums on the craft and business of writing;
  • Biannual novel and poetry contests and annual student essay contests in conjunction with Richmond Magazine and The Richmond Area Reading Council;
  • Get Your Word On/Literary Events Calendar, an e-newsletter e-mailed bi-monthly to over 3,000 subscribers; 
  • Writers Wednesdays, a monthly community networking and social hour for writers held at local venues; and
  • Writers Farmhouse, a weekly community networking and writing event held at Urban Farmhouse Midlothian. 



CEO Statement The most valuable aspect of JRW is the sense of community it provides for writers of all ages, genres, and abilities. The organization does not require proof of publication or rank our members by professional successes. We welcome and celebrate everyone, regardless of where they are on their writing journey. It is this feeling of inclusion and support that has kept JRW around for more than a decade. In fulfilling our mission, we have helped numerous writers along the road to success. Every issue of our newsletter brings new evidence that with education and care we can support each other in achieving our artistic goals.
Areas of Service
Areas Served
Metro Richmond
Tri-cities Region
Richmond, City
Chesterfield County
Colonial Heights, City
Dinwiddie County
Goochland County
Hanover County
Henrico County
Hopewell, City
Petersburg, City
Powhatan County
Prince George County
Sussex County
Charles City County
Gloucester County
King and Queen County
Lancaster County
Louisa County
Mathews County
Middlesex County
New Kent County
Northumberland County
Hampton Roads
Northern Neck
Northern Virginia
Shenandoah Valley
Southside Virginia
Southwest Virginia
Board Chair
Board Chair Ms. Joanna S. Lee
Company Affiliation Poet
Term Jan 2016 to Dec 2016
Email chair@jamesriverwriters.org
Board of Directors
Board Members
Ms. Rishonda Anthony Community Volunteer
Mr. John S. Blake Poet
Mr. Bill Blume Author, Henrico 9-11
Mr. Josh Cane Community Volunteer
Ms. Lindsay Chudzik VCU
Ms. Mary Chris Escobar Author
Ms. Robin Farmer Richmond Times-Dispatch
Ms. Leila Gaskin Mead WestVaco
Ms. Melissa Gay Reynold's Community College
Ms. Kristen Green Author
Ms. Lana Krumwiede Author
Ms. Joanna S. Lee Community Volunteer
Ms Suzan McKenzie Community Volunteer
Ms. Erica Orloff Community Volunteer
Ms. Rebekah L. Pierce Community Volunteer
Mr. Jon Sealy Author
Ms Katarina Spears Author
Ms. Kris Spisak Midlothian Web Solutions
Board Demographics - Ethnicity
African American/Black 4
Asian American/Pacific Islander 0
Caucasian 14
Hispanic/Latino 0
Native American/American Indian 0
Other 0 0
Board Demographics - Gender
Male 4
Female 14
Board Term Lengths 2
Board Term Limits 3
Written Board Selection Criteria? Yes
Written Conflict of Interest Policy? Yes
Percentage Making Monetary Contributions 84
Percentage Making In-Kind Contributions 100
Number of Full Board Meetings Annually 7
Standing Committees
Other Boards
The tables below contain information about other groups that advise this nonprofit on operations and projects.
Advisory Board Members
Ms. Gigi Amateau Author
Ms. Ellen F. Brown Community Volunteer
Dr. Susann B. Cokal Virginia Commonwealth University; author; community volunteer
Ms. Constance Costas skirt! Magazine
Mr. Kirk Ellis screen writer, executive producer of JOHN ADAMS
Ms. Phaedra Hise author; community volunteer; founding co-chair of JRW
Ms. Caroline Kettlewell author; community volunteer
Mr. Dean King author; community volunteer
Mr. Jon Kukla Writer
Ms. Virginia Pye Author
Mr. David L Robbins author; community volunteer; founding co-chair of JRW
Mr. David B. Robinson Custer Robinson, LLC; formerly CenterStage Richmond
Ms. Rebecca Joines Schinsky
Mr. Kirk Schroder Schroder Fidlow, PLC
Ms. Maya Payne Smart Writer and Community Volunteer
Mr. Ron Smith author; community volunteer;
Ms. Sandra Treadway Library of Virginia
Mr. John Ulmschneider VA Commonwealth University

James River Writers believes that a great city deserves to have a thriving cultural life. It is our belief that a more literate city is a better and more vibrant city. To that end, our goal is to help redefine the role of the literary arts in our community, not only among writers, but also for all citizens.  


Some ways that we are achieving this are:


Inviting authors from the New York Times bestseller list, and who have won numerous other scholarly awards to Richmond to speak and engage the public.

Providing area writers resources for learning, growing, and networking.
Gaining national recognition for our programs, which helps to strengthen the Richmond community and attract more high caliber speakers to the area. 


Overall, our challenge is our small staff and the popularity of our programs that has led to our rapid growth. We believe that we provide Central Virginia with a vital link to the literary arts and we continue to tap an exceptionally talented and respected board of directors to help us continue to innovate and expand. 


Executive Director
Executive Director Ms. Katharine Herndon



Full Time Staff 0
Part Time Staff 4
Volunteers 50
Contractors 0
Retention Rate 75
Organization has a Fundraising Plan? Yes
Organization has a Strategic Plan? Yes
Years Strategic Plan Considers 3
Date Strategic Plan Adopted Oct 2010
Management Succession Plan? No
Organization Policy and Procedures Yes
Nondiscrimination Policy Yes
Whistleblower Policy No
Document Destruction Policy No
Directors and Officers Insurance Policy Yes

Library of Virginia

Firehouse Theatre

Culture Works 

Richmond Magazine

Virginia Commission for the Arts / National Endowment for the Arts


The Poe Museum
The Podium Foundation
RVA Creativity Awards 
Theresa Pollak Prize for Excellence in the ArtsRichmond Magazine2006
named the founding of JRW as one of the pivotal moments in the past quarter century of Richmond arts.Style Weekly2007
Named then-JRW Board Chair Maya Payne Smart one of its inaugural Women in the Arts award recipients.Belle Magazine2011
Best Workshops and/or Classes for Aspiring Writers in the annual Best & Worst IssueRichmond Magazine2012
Emerging Nonprofit Leadership Program completed by Executive DirectorNonprofit Learning Point2015

Over 300 authors, publishing professionals, aspiring writers, and lovers of books come together in Richmond for two and a half days to hear expert panelists discuss various topics related to the art and craft of writing and participate in Master Classes. Since 2003.  

Budget $137,400.00
Short Term Success

Short Term Successes: Connecting aspiring writers to agents and editors; exposing Richmond writers and readers to publishing professionals and highly successful authors; teaching craft and business of writing through the experiences of publishing professionals and highly successful writers


Long Term Success Expanding and deepening the understanding of regional readers and writers on how books are written and published; putting Richmond on the "literary map" by having our city be a destination for successful authors, their agents and editors; improving the overall definition of literacy in the Richmond region; creating a robust arts and cultural community that includes the literary arts.

A monthly professional development series for local writers and book lovers on the craft and business of publishing. Moderated panel discussions on a topic of interest to all writers. Q and A from the audience.  January - September. Since 2005.

Budget $18,500.00
Short Term Success

Offers affordable, entertaining and enlightening programs for readers and writers interested in learning more about the craft and business of writing. The audience for the Writing Show has surged in the last two years to almost 100 people each month.

Long Term Success

Has allowed us to create a unique professional development model for writers that expands on our successful conference. On-going panel discussions throughout the year provide additional support and information to the local literary community. 


Three major writing contests:

Best Unpublished Novel (BUN): In partnership with Richmond Magazine. Winner receives a cash prize, a ticket to the annual conference, and has an excerpt of the winning manuscript published in Richmond Magazine.  Two finalists also receive cash prizes. Since 2007.

Shann Palmer Poetry Contest:  In partnership with Richmond Magazine. Winner receives cash prize, ticket to conference, and publication in Richmond Magazine. Two finalists also receive cash prizes. Since 2009, alternating years with BUN contest.

Best Self-Published Novel Contest: Winner receives cash prize, ticket to conference. Two finalists also receive cash prizes. Since 2014, alternating years with BUN contest.
Budget $6,000.00
Short Term Success JRW receives more than 100 manuscripts each year for each of its contests. This competition provides opportunities for collaboration with local publishers, such as Style Weekly and Richmond Magazine, to benefit local writers at the early stages of their careers. 
Long Term Success Our contest model continues to evolve to meet the needs of local Richmond writers.  
Description Monthly networking opportunities ("Writers Wednesdays"), weekly writing groups ("Writers Farmhouse" at local restaurant), an extensive literary events calendar, a free bi-monthly e-newsletter, a monthly members-only newsletter, and inspiration for writers and readers in Central Virginia. 
Short Term Success JRW continues to deepen its reach into serving young people who have limited access to arts programming. Our partnerships are now targeting youth from low socio-economic backgrounds and from multicultural backgrounds. We have added a new partnership each year for the last three years.  In 2010, JRW added a partnership with the Richmond Area Reading Council and LEAP (Latino Education Advancement Program).
Long Term Success JRW shares its talent to support youth in improving writing skills both in academic settings and in after school settings. We receive increasing requests for our support with other organizations already serving youth.
Description From two to six hands-on classes per year offering a chance for writers to improve their mastery of a craft or business aspect of writing. Classes have included an eight-week exploration of narrative fiction, social media for writers, a focus on inspiration, and memoir writing. (An additional four to six Master Classes are also offered as part of the annual conference, and these are included in the annual conference budget.)
Budget $8,700.00
CEO/ED/Board Comments
Programming is the backbone of our non-profit organization. We provide high-quality educational experiences that connect writers with each other, provide inspiration, and build community. A significant number of published area authors regularly site JRW as having been helpful in their success. 
Fiscal Year
Projected Revenue $165,808.00
Projected Expenses $165,808.00
IRS Letter of Exemption
Detailed Financials
Revenue SourcesHelpThe financial analysis involves a comparison of the IRS Form 990 and the audit report (when available) and revenue sources may not sum to total based on reconciliation differences. Revenue from foundations and corporations may include individual contributions when not itemized separately.
Fiscal Year201420132012
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
Government Contributions$5,525$0$0
Individual Contributions$58,378$99,128$81,708
Investment Income, Net of Losses$34$39$38
Membership Dues$14,234$8,240$10,003
Special Events--$16,315$20,206
Revenue In-Kind------
Expense Allocation
Fiscal Year201420132012
Program Expense$110,562$132,119$129,893
Administration Expense$36,750$33,732$21,126
Fundraising Expense$9,810$19,102$22,005
Payments to Affiliates------
Total Revenue/Total Expenses0.951.021.11
Program Expense/Total Expenses70%71%75%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue15%17%18%
Assets and Liabilities
Fiscal Year201420132012
Total Assets$95,281$104,378$100,445
Current Assets$94,045$101,471$96,397
Long-Term Liabilities$0----
Current Liabilities$0$1,301$722
Total Net Assets$95,281$103,077$99,723
Short Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201420132012
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities--77.99133.51
Long Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201420132012
Long-Term Liabilities/Total Assets0%0%0%
Capital Campaign
Currently in a Capital Campaign? No
Capital Campaign Anticipated in Next 5 Years? No
State Charitable Solicitaions Permit
Solicitations Permit
Solicitations Permit Application Confirmation 1/2016View
Organization Comments
You will note a discrepancy between audits and 990s contained here. The difference is the manner in which donated services are shown in the two documents. James River Writers includes an estimated value of these services in the cash flow statements as offsetting debits (expenses) and credits (income). The auditor's report accounts for these numbers as they are included on the company's statement and provides assurance that they are reasonably accurate and they do not distort the company's financials. The auditor clarifies, in Footnote 3 to the statements, the fact that the income and expense figures include donated services so there is no confusion as to the amount of cash and property actually received and dispensed by the charity.

The 990, on the other hand is more direct, in that Part I and Part II of the 990 only show actual cash and property received and dispensed. Donated services are accounted for in Lines 82a and 82b.

Line 82a reads, "Did the organization receive donated services or the use of materials, equipment, or facilities at no charge or at a substantially less than fair rental value?"

Line 82b then reads, "If "Yes," you may indicate the value of these items here. Do not include this amount as revenue in Part I or as an expense in Part II." 


- Audit Report shows total revenue of $161,887 (with Footnote 3 indicating amount of donated services).

- Form 990, Part I shows total revenue of $111,894. Add line 82b (Donated Services) amount of $49,993 and the total is $161,887, matching the audit report.

- Audit Report shows total expenses of $161,539 (with Footnote 3 indicating amount of donated services).

- Form 990, Part II shows total expenses of $111,546. Add line 82b (Donated Services) amount of $49,993 and the total is $161,539, matching the audit report.

Note, too: The amount on form 990, Line 82b is broken down in a supplemental schedule which accompanies the Form 990.

Foundation Comments
  • Form If an organization has gross receipts less than $200,000 and total assets at the end of the tax year less than $500,000, it can choose to file Form 990-EZ.