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NAME: Mildred Cassandra Foster Smith

GRANT APPLIED FOR: Small Projects Program; city offers up to $1,000 “to make grant funds more accessible for small-scale arts projects.”

MONEY NEEDED FOR: “support for publishing [a] book of short, short stories for youth aged 9 to seventeen” called A Good Story

BACKGROUND: Smith is a Howard and Georgetown University–educated doctor of computational linguistics. According to her résumé, in A Good Story, Smith “has applied lessons learned from her Ph.D. dissertation,” which was called The Grammatical Structure of Oratory. That work “analyzed speeches of Dr. Martin Luther King to identify so-called efficiency features.”

PLAN: In her application, Smith said that she wanted “African-American children and other children who are nine years old and older, as well as adults” to “identify with the people in the stories and let them inspire them.” To aid in that effort, Smith planned to buy copies of the book from her self-publishing agent, XLIBRIS, to distribute to “students to encourage purchasing.” That was to cost $800.

AMOUNT ASKED FOR: $1,000

STATUS: approved

UPSHOT: Smith says she feels “positive” about her experience with the District of Columbia Commission on the Arts and Humanities. She notes that she has another book and plans “to apply for grants again.”—Mike Kanin