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Authors Guild Foundation Welcomes New Executive Leadership: Deborah Wilson and Bernard Schwartz

Authors Guild Foundation logo in white on a medium blue background

NEW YORK, NY—The Authors Guild Foundation is thrilled to welcome Deborah Wilson and Bernard Schwartz to its executive team. Wilson joins the Foundation as executive director and Schwartz will serve as executive producer of literary programs.

They replace Lynn Boulger, who served as the Foundation’s executive director for several years and is retiring at the end of January. The Guild benefited immensely from her leadership, warmth, relationship-building, and professionalism. She founded the Guild’s WIT: Words, Ideas, and Thinkers Festival in Lenox, MA, and greatly expanded its fundraising efforts.

In her role as executive director, Wilson will oversee fundraising, board relations, staff supervision, strategic planning, and operations. She brings over 25 years of nonprofit management experience strengthening mission-driven organizations. Most recently, Wilson served as chief development officer at PEN America, where she spearheaded the expansion of the operating budget, exemplified exceptional donor cultivation skills, successfully transformed gala fundraising strategies to substantially enhance revenue, and increased donor contributions to impressive levels.

Wilson will lead fundraising initiatives to support expansive new programs. She will oversee the completion of an ongoing $10 million capital campaign and implement an annual fundraising plan to raise approximately $2 million in year 1, through major gifts, grants, and special events. Wilson will report to the CEO and will work closely with the CEO and board of directors on strategic planning. She will work with the executive producer of literary programs to secure sponsorships and manage finances for the WIT: Words, Ideas, and Thinkers Festival. With her extensive experience and passion for the Foundation’s mission, Wilson is well-positioned to elevate fundraising and enable growth in her new role.

“I am honored to join the Authors Guild Foundation and contribute to its impactful work to advocate on behalf of working writers and protect free speech and freedom of expression,” said Wilson. “I look forward to collaborating with the talented team and leveraging my experience to further advance the Foundation’s mission. Together, we can create meaningful change and support authors in their vital role within our literary landscape.”

Schwartz has 18 years of experience overseeing literary events, classes, education outreach, and archive activities as the leader of the 92nd Street Y’s Unterberg Poetry Center, significantly contributing to its prominent status in the cultural community of New York City. A visionary curator, he is known for his creative instincts, advocacy of writers, and his talent for identifying and cultivating new partnerships across the philanthropic and performing-arts landscape. 

In his role at the Authors Guild Foundation, he is responsible for developing, executing, and expanding the Foundation’s literary programming, including the popular WIT Festival in Lenox, MA, and new initiatives in New York City and nationwide. He reports to the executive director and will work with her to cultivate donors and sponsors to support the Foundation’s expanded programming vision.

“We are very excited about Deborah and Bernard joining the Authors Guild Foundation and the ways in which together they will augment the Foundation’s important work educating the public and Congress on the importance of the writing profession, educating authors in the business of writing so they can succeed, and protecting the profession into the future through its advocacy to ensure that we continue to have a great literary culture in this country,” said Authors Guild Foundation CEO Mary Rasenberger.

Wilson’s leadership strengthening operations and fundraising, paired with Schwartz’s creativity in conceiving nationwide literary programming, will help the Authors Guild Foundation make major strides toward expanding its impact. Their fresh perspectives, expertise, and dedication to empowering authors and readers make them tremendous additions to the Foundation’s extraordinary team.

For questions or further information contact:
Raluca Albu, Communications Director, The Authors Guild
RAlbu@authorsguild.org

About the Authors Guild Foundation:

The Authors Guild Foundation supports America’s writers through legal advocacy, education, community, and public programs exploring contemporary literature and pressing social issues. Its flagship event is the WIT Festival, which hosts enthralling discussions between luminary authors and intellectuals. The Foundation also offers educational workshops, partners on community literacy programs, and works to spotlight the indispensable role of authorship in society. Through its advocacy, the Foundation protects the profession of writing to ensure a robust, diverse U.S. literary culture, by defending authors’ rights to copyright, free speech and fair compensation.