Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Jim Russell had a Dream

What would it take to encourage you to speak out and make your voice be heard in order to make a positive difference in America? Cash? Lots of it?

If you're a writer, you've probably heard of the Amy Foundation and its annual cash awards. If you're not a writer, let me introduce you to the Amy Awards:

The Amy Foundation was founded in 1976 by the late W. James Russell and his wife Phyllis. Named after their daughter Amy, Jim had a dream: to raise up Christians in America to write Biblical truth for general-market (meaning secular or non-religious) newspapers and other publications. Jim saw our nation was losing its knowledge of Scripture. He also knew many people read newspapers and that the most-read page of the newspaper is the Op-Ed page and the letters to the editor written by citizens (not professional writers). So he began to offer cash prizes to Christians who would write for non-religious publications. Mr. Russell only required that a verse of Scripture be used and be identified that it is from the Bible.

And Mr. Russell didn't mess around. He knew cash would get our attention. He wanted to really encourage writers and what he called "the latent writers in the church" to take this opportunity to disciple our nation seriously. So...he made first prize $10,000! And this is a contest anyone can enter--even you.

Each year ten prizes are awarded for a total of $34,000 annually. According to the Amy Foundation web site at, the Amy Award "is acclaimed as the most popular journalism contest in the nation."

The Amy Foundation is best known for this journalism reward, but it does a lot more, such as curriculum for starting and running a church writing group, a bi-monthly newsletter Pen & Sword, awards for writing letters to the editor of newspapers, free resources for discipling our nation in this generation, and a syndication offering opinion and commentary articles to your local newspapers...for free. I'll be telling you more about those resources throughout the month. But that's not all...

I'm very excited that I have been privileged to interview the First Place prize-winner of the 2006 (most recent) Amy Award. For years Jan White has been writing a column called "Everyday Faith" for her home-town newspaper, The Andalusia Star-News in Andalusia, Alabama. I'm looking forward to sharing with you how Ms. White came to have her column in her local newspaper and what it's like to win First Place in the prestigious Amy Awards. I'll be posting my interview with Jan White throughout October.

1 comment:

Sue Tornai said...

Dianne, Thank you for this post. I am looking forward to learning more about this opportunity. I am looking forward to this exciting interview too. Thank you for all you do to help Christian writers find ways to serve God.