Storyteller Foundation Turns New Chapter

Appoints Jane Sibbett as Chairperson and Candace Blust as Chief of Diversity while Initiating new “Rainbow Fund”

The Storyteller Foundation which provides fellowship resources for online writing classes and onsite writing retreats is turning a new chapter.

Effective immediately, David Paul Kirkpatrick is stepping down as managing director of the Storyteller Foundation, appointing actress, author, and social activist, Jane Sibbett, as the Foundation’s first chairperson. Kirkpatrick will remain the Founder of Storyteller Foundation and the Story Summit, a for-profit learning center for emerging writers of any age, gender, or race.

Some of the previous recipients of Fellowships through the Storyteller Foundation: From top left and across each row from L to R: Sandi Sonnenfeld, Gabrielle Lennon, Stacey Powells, Joy Ogawa, Steffany Lohn Sommers, Abigail Bates, Julia Bobkoff, Susan Hunter, Rachel Naples, Patricia Horan, Edwina Joe-Kamara, Mary Cryns, Neely Estey, Natalia Alyukova, Mariah Mayhugh, Jocelyn Jones, Annette Maxberry-Carrara, Jane Sibbett, and Ellen Walters.

Jane Sibbett Appointed Chairperson

“We are delighted to have Jane take the reins of the Foundation. Jane’s a perfect storm for us. She loves writers and she loves stories. Any writer she touches, she nourishes,” says Kirkpatrick who has known Jane Sibbett even before she played the iconic character, Carol, on the hit TV sitcom, Friends.

“Like many foundations with great intentions, we started out scrappy with begging bowls in hand,” continues Kirkpatrick. “ We flourished on the generous donations from Story Summit co-directors, Deb Engle and Amy Ferris, and faculty-member extraordinaire, Jeff Arch. Through the generous contributions of fellow students through walkathons and the kindness of Tito’s Handmade Vodka, we have provided scholarships for over 100 writers, with a majority of women, to attend Story Summit activities. “Now, it is time to mix it up with Jane.”

“It’s challenging to get a headshot of Jane on her own. She’s always in the midst of community,” says David Kirkpatrick. Here, Jane Sibbett is with Pulamawai (L), a Hawaiian storyteller, in Hawaii and with Amanda Zamora (R), winner of the Jeff Arch Fellowship at Her Spirit Story Summit at Santa Fe 2021.

“We have the honor and the exceptional responsibility to care-take and co-create a better life for all through our stories,” says Jane Sibbett who has been a Summiteer with the Story Summit since the beginning. “I am thrilled to be contributing leadership to the Storyteller Foundation. For the last two years, the foundation has directed its focus on women writers. Last year, it supported women actively on journeys through cancer and in the aftermath of cancer. In 2022 and 2023, we are targeting diversity.”

Sixteen months ago, Sylvia Nalubega was selected by the Storyteller Foundation to participate in the Cape Cod Story Summit. Due to safety issues regarding the pandemic, Sylvia was not able to attend. “We are planning for Sylvia to be the first student-participant at the Romancing the Muse Story Summit, to be held in Paris and Edinburgh in April of 2023,” says Jane Sibbett.

“I have never been to Paris and can only imagine what an inspiration it will be to my community and me,” says Sylvia, a writer, performing artist, documentarist, storyteller and tutor at Sanyu Centre for Arts and Rights (SARI) Uganda. “The pen voicelessly makes its impact on generations,” writes Sylvia. “My purpose in life is to use documentary filmmaking and blogging to change the narrative in my culture, especially among young people. I am thrilled that the Storyteller Foundation believes in my purpose.”

“Every color known to us is represented in the rainbow,’ says Jane Sibbett, Chairperson of the Storyteller Foundation.

“We are excited by the idea of the Rainbow Fund to champion diversity,” says Jane. “ We will be looking to support writers primed to empower and elevate with greater stories of relevancy, unity, and love.”

Candace Blust Becomes Chief of Diversity

“My first wish,” says Jane, “ in this exciting new position was to beg the glorious Candace Blust to be our Chief of Diversity for the Storyteller Foundation and help us properly refocus for the full rainbow in our mission to share stories from all hues of life. To my delight, Candace didn’t blink an eye before she said, ‘I’m in.’ Candace will also help navigate and nuance the messaging for this new initiative.”

Candace Blust and Jane Sibbett at the Winter Story Summit in the Caribbean in 2020, and Candace out and about in Hollywood, CA.

“I’m feeling such passion and joy for what we are embarking on. I’m grateful for the opportunity to help lift up unheard, underrepresented voices,” said Candace. “I’m fortunate to be working with Jane. I’m looking forward to the emerging stories from our scholarship winners.”

Candace’s first credits as a writer and an executive producer are on the sitcom Mi Casa Mi Casa. She is an early member of Story Summit and understands the value the Story Summit experience can bring to others. “Story Summit’s focus on diversity this year will spotlight a wider range of stirring journeys, looking to balance the usual narratives of crisis for those with unique life perspectives.”

“Together, Candace and I will bring greater support for game-changing
worldviews that entertain and make fire to inspire us all,” says Jane.

Supporting 20 Women of Diversity this December

At Her Spirit Story Summit this December, the Storyteller Foundation will be sponsoring 20 young women of color to attend the event. “Having been on the faculty last year for the life-changing experience in Santa Fe, I am overjoyed that we will be able to bring so many women to Her Spirit,” says Jane.

Both Jane and Candace will be at the all-women function in Santa Fe this December. If you want to make a donation of any size to support women of color attending Her Spirit, you can go here or click on the rainbow umbrella, above.

If you want to make a contribution to the general fund, which supports both men and women of color for scholarships, please go here.

“We’re getting set up right now, but within the next few weeks, we will have a way for the general public to submit applications for scholarships. Also, word-of-mouth is critical in our storytelling community,” says Jane. “It’s why we have grown from 60 to 2,000 in less than two years. We intimately know the power of mentorship and paying it forward for a complete rainbow of stories. If you know someone who would be right for scholarships for either Her Spirit or Romancing the Muse for 2023 (which includes both men and women) we will have an online point-of-contact for that soon.”

Storyteller Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization in accordance with the standards and regulations of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). DBA for Family University Foundation. EIN: 33–0113092PO BOX 3667 Escondido, CA 92033 United States

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Founder of Story Summit & MIT Center for Future Storytelling, Pres of Paramount Film Group, Production Chief of Disney Studios, optimist, author and teacher.

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David Paul Kirkpatrick

David Paul Kirkpatrick

Founder of Story Summit & MIT Center for Future Storytelling, Pres of Paramount Film Group, Production Chief of Disney Studios, optimist, author and teacher.

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