Chatham News

Chatham University Receives Grant From Staunton Farm Foundation In Support of Words Without Walls

PITTSBURGH: Chatham University has announced that it has been awarded a grant of $11,200 from Staunton Farm Foundation in support of the Maenad Fellowship, a new program within Words Without Walls, a creative partnership between the Chatham MFA Creative Writing ProgramAllegheny County Jail, State Correctional Institution Pittsburgh, and Sojourner House.

Beginning January 2017, the Maenad Fellowship will support women who are in recovery from substance abuse, including those who have graduated from Sojourner House, a residential treatment facility for addicted women and their children. The fellowship will encourage a continuing writing practice through a community of writers, and provide $500 Giant Eagle gift cards to each participant in 12-week writing workshops that will be held on the Chatham campus. Participants will craft a collection of  their own writing, which Words Without Walls staff will help them design and share in a public reading of their work at the end of the 12-weeks.

The Maendad Fellowship is named in remembrance of the mythic female followers of Dionysus who were associated with divine possession.  Maenad  literally translates as “mad” or “raving ones.”  As followers of Dionysus, the maenads were often portrayed as inspired into a state of ecstatic frenzy and drunken intoxication. “ Our maenads,”  Sheryl St. Germain, director of the MFA Creative Writing Program at Chatham writes, “are inspired not by drink, but by pen and word.”

About Words Without Walls
Words Without Walls is a Since 2009, creative writing classes have been taught by students at Chatham University who are earning their MFA in Creative Writing. The program teaches 18 classes per year, serving over 360  men and women in the Pittsburgh area. In addition to the Staunton Farm Foundation grant, additional major funding for Words Without Walls is provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities; A.W. Mellon Charitable and Educational Trust Fund of The Pittsburgh Foundation; Staunton Farm Foundation; Laurie and Henry Reich; Melanie and Fred Brown; and Margaret and Tom Whitford.

About Staunton Farm Foundation
The Staunton Farm Foundation is a family foundation established in 1937 in accordance with the wishes of Matilda Staunton Craig, who wanted her estate to be used to benefit people with mental illness. Following the direction set in her will and in response to current needs, the Trustees of the Staunton Farm Foundation make grants to support treatment, services, and systems improvements for children, youth, and adults with behavioral health issues. Grants are limited to non-profit organizations that benefit people in ten counties of Southwestern Pennsylvania. More information at