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National Novel Writing Month (nonprofit)

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The Office of Letters and Light (abbreviated OLL) is the parent nonprofit that runs National Novel Writing Month and Script Frenzy. It was founded in 2006 when NaNoWriMo was at a crossroads regarding its future. After Chris Baty returned from Scotland on an apartment exchange in early 2006, he and nonprofit expert Wrimo Ellen Martin began the journey to create a nonprofit that would run NaNoWriMo. Together they brainstormed for a name, and Chris came up with the Office of Letters and Light's current name after narrowing the list down to four finalists. The other finalists included The Eureka Project, International Letters and Light (which had the unfortunate acronym ILL), The Starting Line, and The Corporation for Public Letters.

Tavia Stewart-Streit joined OLL as the first employee and managing editor in September 2006. The OLL team found an office in Oakland, California with the map company of Tim Lohnes, one of the original 21 Wrimos, and stayed there until May 2010. OLL was approved as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit just before NaNoWriMo 2006.

2007 saw the launch of Script Frenzy, OLL's second event, led by Kristina Malsberger and the beginning of the Year of Doing Big, Fun, Scary Things Together, both of which continue to this day. OLL also received its first foundation grants from the San Francisco Foundation and the Bennack-Polan Foundation to run its events.

In the spring of 2008 the OLL team and board of directors wrote a strategic plan for the next three years. Highlights in this strategic plan include launching NaNoWriMo programs in libraries, bookstores, and adult classrooms, a new OLL event, and a year-round way for participants to do NaNoWriMo. With this plan in mind, Tavia and Chris hired Lindsey Grant as the first community liaison. 2008 also saw changes: Jennifer Arzt took over as Script Frenzy program director as the event was moved to April, and Heather Dudley replaced Cybele May as forums moderator while Cybele moved on to test new site features.

In May 2010 the staff moved to a new office in Berkeley with two floors. The new office gave the team more room to grow and store the supplies that were starting to take over the office.

Board of Directors

The Office of Letters and Light selected a board directors when beginning their pursuit of obtaining a nonprofit status. The original members of the board of directors were Eric Doherty, longtime Wrimo and journalist Kara Platoni, longtime Wrimo and computer guru Diane Reese, tech superstar Russell Uman, and former YWP director Ellen Martin.

Today's board consists of Chris Baty , Grant Faulkner, Eric Doherty, Elizabeth Gregg, Steve Held, Kara Platoni (board secretary), Nick Turner, and Christopher White. Viking hats are present at board meetings; in fact, board members indicate their willingness to pass a motion by donning their viking helmet[1].

The Office

The office as seen from the outside, November 2011

The current office is located on 3354 Adeline Street in Berkeley, California. The first floor contains a display area, the workspaces of the OLL staff, the shipping station and supplies, storage areas (including a cupboard under the stairs) a bathroom, a painting of Tom Selleck, a sink area with hot water, and Voldefridge. All the NaNoWriMo and Script Frenzy winner certificates and posters are on display on the first floor, along with the winners of the Donation Derby.

The second floor contains a conference table, a bookcase, a couch, and a bathroom.

The office also has a yard area in the back, which connects to the Sweet Adeline Bakery next door.

External Links