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James W. Foley University of Massachusetts Memorial Prize

Raised toward our $10,000 Goal
117 Donors
Project has ended
Project ended on January 01, at 11:59 PM EST
Project Owners

link to juniper festival

March 16, 2018

In case you are able to come to the Juniper Festival, where the first recipient of the James Foley Prize will be celebrated, I am sending along this link.  We hope to see you in April!




Noy Holland

on behalf of the MFA faculty and staff

good news!

March 09, 2018

Good people,


I want you to know that your abundant generosity means that our fundraising for the James Foley Memorial Prize has come to a happy conclusion.  We have established an endowment, and now the prize will be awarded in perpetuity. 


The first recipient, the first in the kinship line of courage and compassion, will be recognized at the upcoming Juniper Festival, which takes place April 6th and 7th on the Amherst campus.  Please join us if you can, and please know that we are lastingly grateful for your help carrying Jim’s spirit forward. 


With all best wishes,


Noy Holland

On behalf of the MFA program

Excellent news

January 10, 2018

Dear friends of Jim Foley:


I am writing with excellent news: through your generosity and the generosity of others, we have surpassed our initial 2017/18 fundraising goal for the James W Foley University of Massachusetts Memorial Prize.  I can’t thank you enough.  We are now less than $4000 away from having fully funded the endowment that will assure that this important prize will continue in perpetuity. 


I think we can make it.  We’re so close now.  And it’s clear that the sympathy and courage Jim exemplified are essential to the discourse—public and private, factual and imaginative; just as it is clear that writers, in every stage of their lives as writers, need a boost now and again, a sign that what they do and write matters, that it is recognized, celebrated, answered, needed.  


Thank you again, mightily, for your contribution. I’m so pleased we have gotten this far, and hope we can reach just that little bit farther—and make it real, make it last, this gesture that is for and of Jim, that asserts the value of selflessness and courage.


Here is that link again, Please help us spread the word. 

A thank you

December 14, 2017

Thanks to everyone who came out in the wintry weather to Haymarket for the benefit reading, and particular thanks to our three spectacular readers--Andrea Lawlor, Erin White, and Pamela Ryder.  


I want, too, to give heartfelt thanks to the English Department and the MFA Program/Juniper Institute, who have each made a generous donation directly to the endowment. These funds are a great boost to this renewed fundraising effort.


with gratitude and high hopes,


Noy Holland, on behalf of the MFA

Renewing fundraising

December 11, 2017

Dear friends,


I’m writing to thank you again for your contribution, and to let you know that we are renewing fundraising efforts for the James W. Foley University of Massachusetts Memorial Prize, following our gratifying and successful campaign last year.  We had numerous donations from alumni and friends, every member of the MFA faculty contributed, and we had generous support from many members of the English department, and other departments across campus.  We raised almost $15,000!—which brings us well past the halfway mark for the establishment of an endowment.  Can you help us raise another $10,000 so that this important prize can be awarded in perpetuity?


Jim was a lively, honest, compassionate writer, generous to friends and strangers.  We want to carry his spirit forward, keep his stories among us.  This prize will help us all keep on learning from the courage of his example.


The minute fund site is now live again, with a generous initial pledge from the MFA program.  We’re also hosting a benefit reading on December 11, at 7:30, downstairs at Haymarket Café in Northampton—featuring new work by Pamela Ryder, and alums Erin White and Andrea Lawlor.  We’d love for you to come if you can, and we appreciate any help you can offer with spreading the word.  It will be a warm and convivial evening to give a boost to an excellent cause.


Here’s the link to the event:


And here is the URL for the fundraising website:


We are most grateful for your generosity in the past, and hope you can pitch in again. 



With all best wishes,


Noy Holland

On behalf of the MFA program


Thank you for your continued generosity

November 28, 2016

Dear friends,

We are overwhelmed by the generosity of all who have donated to the James W. Foley Memorial Prize thus far.  We have surpassed our original goal by a hopeful margin, and are reaching now to get past the halfway mark needed for an endowment.  An endowment would assure that the important work James Foley invites writers to do will be recognized for generations to come. 

Jim’s work in the world encourages us to reach beyond the daily, and to articulate the real and pressing needs of citizens within and beyond our national boundaries.  We hope the prize will be yet another reason to take hold of the time we have and use it seriously—in ways that enlarge our sympathies, grapple with our difficulties, illuminate the ways we might make a durable difference.

We have extended our fundraising efforts until the end of the year, so we’re reaching out again to those of you who may not have had the chance to donate but who are still interested in helping to honor Jim.  Thank you hugely for any help you can give. The university will match donations from all current faculty and staff, and every dollar of every gift to the Minute Fund will go directly toward an endowment.  To contribute, please visit, where you will also find a brief video tribute to Jim.


Thank you again for your invaluable support!

All best,

Noy Holland and Shauna Seliy—on behalf of the alumni, students, and faculty of the MFA for Poets and Writers

Reflecting on The Task of Witnessing: A Symposium in Honor of James Foley

October 14, 2016

The Interdisciplinary Studies Institute hosted a symposium titled “The Task of Witnessing: A Symposium in Honor of James W. Foley” in collaboration with the Journalism Department and the MFA Program for Poets and Writers on September 19–20 at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.  

It was a remarkable event that brought together many voices in dialogue with one another on topics that included creative writing, journalism, photography, and personal recollections of Jim Foley’s friends and family.  We were also honored by the presence and contributions of Jim’s parents, Diane and John Foley, who answered questions about Jim and journalism in conflict areas around the world.

Much gratitude is owed to all participants and attendees who made the symposium an enriching experience that will live long in our hearts and minds.

A few photographs from the event appear below.  More reflections from the symposium can be found at

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