Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

SCBWI Announces the Impact and Legacy Fund


The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) is proud to announce the launch of the SCBWI Impact and Legacy Fund, a division of SCBWI created to support new and impactful charitable activities of the organization. Of particular note, The Fund’s projects will not be limited to SCBWI members but will be available to the entire children’s book community. “We believe the best way to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the SCBWI is to create and fund programs that benefit the life-affirming spirit of children’s book creators everywhere,” commented Bruce Coville, a long-time member of the Advisory Council. Sarah Baker, SCBWI’s Executive Director, said “I’m excited for the new opportunities the Impact and Legacy Fund will provide for members of the children’s book community all over the world.” 

The mission of the SCBWI Impact and Legacy Fund is to provide specific endowments, grants, awards, and programs that enhance the reach and impact of creators of children’s books. Specifically, the initiatives undertaken by the Impact and Legacy Fund will seek to (1) support emerging authors and illustrators (2) provide grants and awards for excellence in the field (3) promote equity and inclusion of all marginalized voices domestically and globally (4) increase access to quality children’s books in all communities (5) honor the legacies of significant children’s book creators (6) support freedom of expression and thought in children’s books, and (7) support other non-profit children’s organizations as they undertake programs of mutual interest.

The Impact and Legacy Fund will be supported by private contributions and grants. Generous contributions have already been donated by several family foundations, individuals in the publishing community, and the estates of renowned writers and illustrators. Initially, The Fund will be guided by Lin Oliver, co-founder of SCBWI and retired Executive Director, working along with a steering committee of 13 volunteers: Arthur Levine, Ellen Hopkins, Christopher Cheng, Lawrence Schimel, Tara Michener, Federico Erebia, Cynthia Mun, Karen Winnick, Michael Harley, Ana Otaru, Kim Castellano, Carrie Pearson, and Rob Sanders. A Committee of Friends is also being formed.

The Impact and Legacy Fund is launching with two exciting initiatives—The Russell Freedman Award for Nonfiction for a Better World, and The Student Advocates for Speech project, a collaboration with the National Coalition Against Censorship.



On May 15, submissions opened for the new and prestigious Russell Freedman Award for Nonfiction for A Better World. Funded by a generous grant from the estate of Mr. Freedman, this award will be bestowed annually to an author or author/illustrator of a book for children or young adults recognized for both its excellence and for its contribution to understanding that helps create a better world. There will be a monetary award of $2500, and the award is open to any author or author-illustrator combination whose nonfiction book has been or will be published in 2022. SCBWI membership is not required to enter.  Evans Chan, Mr. Freedman’s husband, partner, and noted filmmaker, recalled Mr. Freedman once saying, “You cannot not believe in a better world when you are writing for children,” a belief his inspiring body of work exemplifies. Anne Hoppe, Editorial Director of Clarion Books at Harper Collins, stated of the award, “This is a perfect tribute to the legacy of an author whose elegant, thought-provoking, inclusive books made the world a better place.”

The winner of the Russell Freedman Award will be announced December 15, 2022. To apply, click HERE. Applications may be submitted from May 15 to September 1, 2022.



In another exciting announcement, The SCBWI Impact and Legacy Fund is collaborating with the National Coalition Against Censorship, an organization of over 50 national nonprofits who engage in advocacy and education to support First Amendment principles. A grant from the SCBWI will support NCAC’s new Student Advocates for Speech project, whose mission is to empower the next generation of leaders to engage in discussion and analysis of the essential tenets of free expression. As part of SAS, high school students from around the U.S. will form clubs at their schools, interview banned authors, write newspaper articles, issue a public statement and participate in public events. SCBWI will help students present a virtual public panel discussion with authors on November 30, 2022, in which they consider why particular books should or should not be banned. Dr. Christine Emeran, Director of the Youth Free Expression Program of NCAC, stated, “NCAC is thrilled to partner with SCBWI on this initiative at a time when students’ access to books is under threat like never before. Giving young readers access to the authors who matter to them will help students better advocate for their own rights. Connecting two major stakeholders—students and authors—strengthens our ability to fight for kids’ right to read.”

Throughout the SAS project, SCBWI will work with the high school student representatives, help populate the panel of authors, and broadcast the panel discussion to the community.

To read more about the SCBWI Impact and Legacy Fund, or to make a tax-deductible donation, click HERE. Beginning July 15, The ILF Steering Committee will be open to receiving requests for proposals from groups or organizations and will be making announcements about additional programs in the coming months. For further information about applying for grants, or to help fund a new program, write