Where Characters Connect

Virginia Bch, VA   |
GuideStar Charity Check


EIN: 26-2829390


Hampton Roads Writers enriches the Hampton Roads literary arts community by connecting, encouraging, and educating writers of all ages, talents, and genres. By creating literary events throughout Southeastern Virginia, we serve as a resource dedicated to helping all writers grow in their writing craft and work toward publication success.

Ruling year info


President of the Board of Directors

Lauran Strait

Vice President of the Board of Directors

Nancy Blumenberg

Main address

P.O. Box 56228

Virginia Bch, VA 23456 USA

Show more contact info



Subject area info

Arts and culture

Arts services

Population served info



Work status and occupations

NTEE code info

Arts Service Activities/Organizations (A90)

Arts, Cultural Organizations - Multipurpose (A20)

Arts, Cultural Organizations - Multipurpose (A20)

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

We need to establish a plan for succession for the President of the Board of Directors

We need to create and implement a sexual harassment policy

We need to raise enough capital to bring in a HUGE name author to keynote one of the conferences; we need a dedicated $50,000 to that end.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

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

Annual Writers' Conference

A multi-day motivational and instructional literary festival designed for literary artists of all genres and experience levels and for everyone else desiring to meet and mingle with writers while learning about the craft of creating and selling literary art.

Population(s) Served

2.5 hour writing craft and business of getting published workshops. $10 for fulltime high school students and undergrads, $20 for HRW members, $30 nonmembers. Approximately 10 workshops a year.

Population(s) Served
Work status and occupations
Age groups

Free Opportunity to read ten minutes of your prose** (short story, memoir, or novel chapter ONLY) to the audience, followed by brief professional critiques by our 2 guest critiquers. 4 readings per session for the dinner meetings and 6 readings at Saturday morning sessions.

Population(s) Served
Military personnel
Retired people
Self-employed people

Where we work


Emyl Jenkins Award 2013

James River Writers

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

No similar literary arts group in Hampton Roads exists that serves writers of ALL genres and ages and offers the comprehensive services provided by HRW, including myriad networking opportunities, classes, workshops, writing conferences, opportunities to showcase work before the general public, and a website filled with resources for writers.

HRW aims to:
• Assess the needs of the writing community
• Assist writers in all stages of their writing careers
• Create events that address the needs of the writing community
• Inspire, nurture, educate, and encourage the writing community
• Increase the size of the Hampton Roads writing community and promote professionalism within it
• Increase and improve networking opportunities and writing resources for the writing community
• Foster a love of literature and a deeper understanding of the craft of writing among members of the writing community
• Awaken and/or renew interest in writing among readers and help them overcome the fears and insecurities shared by so many writers
• Make the public and writers aware of the opportunities HRW provides through our diversified services and events and make these affordable to all interested
• Provide opportunities for education and aid in all phases of writing, from the start of a project to its finish
• Provide opportunities for writers to present work and obtain critical feedback
• Provide opportunities for writers to market their work, attain literary agent representation, and/or attain a publisher
• Provide opportunities for professionally judged, no-fee writing competitions annually as part of the writers' conference
• Provide a platform and a showcase for writers to promote their works, connect with editors, agents and publishers and get published
• Provide collegial writing events that allow aspiring writers to be inspired by association with accomplished writers while learning both the art and the craft of excellent writing
• Provide scholarships to our cost-based events for writers who otherwise could not financially afford to attend
• Provide a sense of belonging to a population involved in a necessarily isolating endeavor
• Provide a website for writers to access video teaching, writing prompts, and links to other learning sites and connections with agents and publishers
• Maintain a highly professional level of teaching of basic writing skills and the craft of writing
• Inform writers of contest opportunities and calls for publication submission when possible
• Facilitate an annual writers' conference that addresses the needs of all writers and maintains a standard of excellence to be emulated by all writing groups; we set the highest standards in the Commonwealth of Virginia
• Position ourselves as the go-to writing education source for writers in Virginia, Maryland, West Virginia, D.C., and North Carolina

We strive to accomplish our aims through a variety of programs such as:

• Open Mic Events provide free opportunities for prose writers and poets to share their work in three to five minute increments and receive audience feedback and for others to sit back and enjoy the work.

• Show and Grow your Prose with Professional Critique programs afford prose writers the free opportunity to read (and have electronically displayed) ten minutes of their work and receive a detailed critique by both a writing professional and a facilitator. After each reading -- time permitting -- the audience is encouraged to ask questions or give feedback. Neither the writing professional, nor the facilitator (nor anyone else for that matter) is paid for their services.

• Traveling Pen Series of Writer Workshops provides a low-cost venue for two and a half hour workshops that focus in on a particular area of craft or industry knowledge. These workshops are taught by professional writers, teachers, and published authors who are given a $50 honorarium for their participation. Participants pay $10 (members) to $20 (nonmembers) to attend these workshops. Scholarships are available for anyone otherwise financially unable to afford the event.

• Annual Writers' conference brings best-selling authors, literary agents, editors and independent publishers to our area which allows opportunity for writers to interact with the professionals on a one to one basis. Our conferences, which are always focused on writing craft education and on education about the business of getting published, also offer a wealth of practical knowledge, inspiration, and motivation for all attendees.

• Youth Writing Platform features yearly Black History Month Events usually held in conjunction with The Cultural Alliance of Greater Hampton Roads and Barnes & Noble. In general, we create two to three black history events each February and one of them always involves preschoolers through high-schoolers.

• Bi-monthly E-Newsletter offers articles about the art and practice of writing. It usually features one or more members of Hampton Roads Writers, as they detail their journey toward publication.

• Comprehensive Website, updated almost daily, offers access to educational essays and writing market opportunities, and listings of other local writing groups and other literary happenings in the area. The website contains nearly 900 writing prompts and/or writing exercises designed to stimulate writers to create work and improve their writing skills. Via the website, writers also can access video teaching and links to other learning sites and connections with agents and publishers as well as past and future HRW learning events.

• HRW has developed an extensive network of volunteers who vision and facilitate the events (OMs, S&G, TPS, and annual conference). Many of these individuals make up the executive and advisory boards of Hampton Roads Writers. Other volunteers come from within the membership of HRW, lending an occasional hand as needed.

• HRW has developed a great working relationship with professors at Tidewater Community College, Old Dominion University, Hampton University, Norfolk State University, Virginia Wesleyan College, and the Muse Writing Center of Norfolk. Professionals (teachers, writers, etc) from these places have been recruited as some of our workshop leaders and/or prose critiquers. Virtually all of these individuals give support HRW in a voluntary capacity.

• HRW also has developed an effective working relationship with many of the large writing, less well organized writing clubs. We disseminate their news and volunteer for them when needed and they often return the favor. Currently, we work with the Muse Writers Center in Norfolk, the Virginia Beach Writers and the Chesapeake Bay Writers, which are affiliates of the statewide Virginia Writers group, with the Portsmouth writers group, Tidewater Writers, and with the Kempsville Presbyterian Church writers.

• HRW has developed a financial relationship with TowneBank, which partially sponsors our annual conference, with Prince Books of Norfolk, which sells books at the conference and returns 20% of the gross profits to us, and with both the Virginia Arts Commission and the Virginia Beach Arts and Humanities Commission, which have awarded us grants. We also have developed a network of corporate sponsors who help offset some of the conference expenses.

• HRW has an ever-increasing donor base of individuals who financially contribute to the organization by becoming members, donating a minimum of $35 each year. The number of members and the donations collected has grown approximately 10% each year since HRW's inception in 2008. At present, HRW has about 190 financially active members.

• HRW's all-volunteer boards are comprised of published writers, editors, journalists, secondary and post-secondary teachers, physicians, administrators, and community leaders, all of whom have the ability and desire to share their love of literature and writing with others. Each member of the board also has joined the organization, contributing not only their time and talents, but also their financial treasures.

2016 Goals:
• Establish a committee for the establishment of an HRW annual Journal as well as criteria for Journal submissions. GOAL MET
• Grow conference to over 200 attendees GOAL NOT MET
• Grow dinner meeting attendees by 10% GOAL NOT MET
• Obtain adequate underwriting for prominent keynote speakers GOAL NOT MET
• Continue to grow membership and increase membership renewal rate GOAL MET
• Continue to raise awareness of HRW within and outside of Virginia GOAL MET
• Raise capital to purchase a complete sound system GOAL partially MET
• Raise capital to fund $1000 worth of scholarships to conference (enough for approximately 5 people) GOAL MET

2017 Goals:
• Publication of annual Journal GOAL NOT MET
• Create committee to research the creation of a youth summer writing program for the Hampton Roads area GOAL MET
• Create committee to study HRW membership and determine how better to obtain new members and retain old ones. GOAL MET
• Create optional 4-hour, pre-conference boot camp for new writers GOAL MET
• Grow conference to over 300 attendees GOAL NOT MET
• Grow dinner meeting attendees by 10% GOAL MET
• Create daytime S&G events in Norfolk GOAL MET
• Participate in Give Local 757 fundraising campaign to raise $1000 for scholarships GOAL EXCEEDED
• Provide $1000 worth of scholarships GOAL EXCEEDED
• Obtain underwriting ($10K) for prominent keynote speakers GOAL NOT MET
• Grow membership and increase membership renewal rate GOAL MET
• Raise awareness of HRW within and outside of Virginia GOAL MET

2018 Goals:
• Establish annual HRW Journal to writers outside Virginia GOAL REVISED
• Repurpose HRW Blog into 'Characters Corner' to publish members' writing created in response to writing prompts on HRW's Facebook and Twitter pages.
• Begin youth summer writing program for Hampton Roads GOAL DEFERRED
• Grow membership to 175 members IN PROCESS
• Grow conference to over 350 attendees GOAL REVISED DOWN TO 200 unique people over the 3 days
• Create optional 4-hour, pre-conference Master's class for experienced novelists IN PROCESS, GOAL EXPECTED TO BE ACHIEVED
• Grow dinner S&G meeting attendees by 10% UNCERTAIN AS WE HAVE NOT YET HAD A 2018 DINNER MEETING
• Grow daytime S&G meeting attendees by 10% GOAL EXCEEDED at 1st 2018 event
• Participate in Give Local 757 fundraising campaign to raise $5000 for scholarships to conference IN PROCESS
• Establish monthly, VB-based book club featuring works from HRW members; authors will attend meetings or via Skype IN PROCESS
• Initiate a monthly or bi-monthly writers' coffee hour in Virginia Beach, rotating through local coffee shops IN PROCESS
• Create committee to plan and implement at Reverse Ekphrastic Event in Virginia Beach in 2019
• Obtain adequate underwriting to pay prominent keynote speakers IN PROCESS
• Raise awareness of HRW within and outside of Virginia IN PROCESS
• Establish a dedicated HRW writing center in Virginia Beach, leasing space to writers GOAL DISCARDED

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • Who are the people you serve with your mission?

    Adults, vets, senior citizens, occasionally children

  • How is your organization collecting feedback from the people you serve?

    Electronic surveys (by email, tablet, etc.), Paper surveys, Suggestion box/email,

  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve, To understand people's needs and how we can help them achieve their goals,

  • What significant change resulted from feedback?

    We recently instituted a new website so that we can use online registration for our events and donations. Members can update their own webpages now and add to their writer bios on their own without waiting for admin action.

  • With whom is the organization sharing feedback?

    Our board,

  • How has asking for feedback from the people you serve changed your relationship?


  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We collect feedback from the people we serve at least annually, We aim to collect feedback from as many people we serve as possible, We act on the feedback we receive,

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    It is difficult to get the people we serve to respond to requests for feedback, It is difficult to get honest feedback from the people we serve,


Fiscal year: Jan 01 - Dec 31

Revenue vs. expenses:  breakdown

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info
Note: When component data are not available, the graph displays the total Revenue and/or Expense values.

Financial data

Source: IRS Form 990 info


Revenue & expenses

Fiscal Year: Jan 01 - Dec 31

SOURCE: IRS Form 990

Fiscal year ending: cloud_download Download Data


Balance sheet

Fiscal Year: Jan 01 - Dec 31

SOURCE: IRS Form 990

The balance sheet gives a snapshot of the financial health of an organization at a particular point in time. An organization's total assets should generally exceed its total liabilities, or it cannot survive long, but the types of assets and liabilities must also be considered. For instance, an organization's current assets (cash, receivables, securities, etc.) should be sufficient to cover its current liabilities (payables, deferred revenue, current year loan, and note payments). Otherwise, the organization may face solvency problems. On the other hand, an organization whose cash and equivalents greatly exceed its current liabilities might not be putting its money to best use.

Fiscal year ending: cloud_download Download Data


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

Form 1023/1024 is not available for this organization

President of the Board of Directors

Lauran Strait

n 2008, I established a 501c3 group--The Hampton Roads Writers--of which I am the president of the Board of Directors. My goals for this group include creation and implementation of affordable writing classes for Hampton Roads (Virginia) writers at all levels, promotion of local writers just starting out in the business, and establishment of a 2-plus-day annual, high quality writers' conference in Hampton Roads. These goals were met within HRW's first 2 years.

Vice President of the Board of Directors

Nancy Blumenberg

Nancy, one of HRW's co-founders, is the vice-president of HRW. She has served on the board since HRW's inception in 2008. Nancy taught special education English to students in grades 7 through 12 in New York before retiring to Virginia Beach with her husband, Karl, in 2000. Their 3 children and 7 grandchildren live up and down the east coast and as far away as Japan. Apart from family most of the year, Nancy credits her warm welcome into the HRW writing community as a major reason she now calls Virginia Beach home. She has rediscovered her love of writing and enjoys crafting short stories and middle grade fiction. One of her stories placed first in a General Federation of Women's Club's national writing competition, and another took 3rd place in HRW's inaugural juvenile fiction contest. However, most of her time spent with letters lately involves editing, critiquing, and working with her very special Wednesday morning critique family.


Officers, directors, trustees, and key employees

SOURCE: IRS Form 990

Show data for fiscal year
Compensation data
Download up to 5 most recent years of officer and director compensation data for this organization

There are no highest paid employees recorded for this organization.


Board of directors
as of 12/31/2022
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board of directors data
Download the most recent year of board of directors data for this organization
Board co-chair

Lauran Strait

Hampton Roads Writers

Term: 2008 - 2025

Board co-chair

Nancy Blumenberg


Term: 2016 - 2024

Lauran Strait

Hampton Roads Writers

Nancy Blumenberg


Linda Cobb


Valerie Wilkinson


Michael Khandelwal


Evelyn Wagoner


Karrie McDaniels


Rita Budrionis


Marvin Eley


Skip Keith


Sandy Robinette


Kim Thorn


Karen McSpadden


Florencia Wannebo


James Hill


Fran Ward


Alice Holmes


Penny Hutson


Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and 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? No
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? No
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 12/31/2022

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.


The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Gender identity
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

The organization's co-leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Gender identity
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity


Sexual orientation

No data


Equity strategies

Last updated: 12/31/2022

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

Policies and processes
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.