The Slay Fund for Social Justice

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Drake Community Press

Since our founding in 2014, the Drake Community Press (DCP) has been serving a community readership on issues of interest and concern to Iowans.  DCP partners with Iowa organizations to promote positive interaction and community betterment, as well as provides students with practical knowledge of book editing, design, and production with a cross-disciplinary and collaborative focus.  Working within the unique framework of a community-publishing model, DCP engages in community writing projects where all stakeholders are writing with each other.

While the results of a DCP project culminates in the release of a book, the Press is critically invested in relationship-building among individuals and groups, where all collaborators gain a deeper understanding of their community.

The sales of all DCP books go directly to a community beneficiary, to help further the cause and development of the partnering community organization. Since its release in early 2014, DCP’s book—The Ones I Bring With Me: Iowa’s Young Latinas on Identity, Education, and Success—has raised nearly $15,000 with its collaborator, Al Éxito, a Latin@ mentoring program for middle and high school students across central Iowa.

DCP partnered with Drake University’s The Comparison Project  as well as the Des Moines Area Religious Council (DMARC) to highlight the astounding religious diversity in the Des Moines area. Religions of Des Moines introduced readers to 15 local religious communities through descriptions of their embodied practices, sacred spaces, and local histories. Proceeds of the sale of the book were donated to DMARC’s food pantries of Central Iowa.

In a time when we could all use a dose of inspiration, Above and Beyond Cancer, the new book out from Drake Community Press, is just what the doctor ordered. Oncologist Richard L. Deming teamed up with professional photographer Dylan Huey to produce a collection of more than 100 voices and scores of stunning full-color photographs that illuminate the difficult journey of a cancer diagnosis and the opportunity it provides for profound personal transformation.

Unique to this 171-page collection are excerpts from the narratives of cancer patients, survivors and caregivers who joined Dr. Deming on mountain treks he has led since 2011 to some of the world’s most breathtaking altitudes, including Mt. Everest Base Camp, Machu Picchu, Mt. Kilimanjaro, the High Himalayas and Mt. Kailish in Tibet.

All revenue from book sales will support cancer prevention and health & wellness programming across the state of Iowa.

As part of the community-based publishing model, DCP also organizes community-building events to strengthen relationships between all stakeholders.

The Slay Fund’s generous donations over the past three publishing cycles have funded the work of student editorial interns, responsible for research, writing, editing, and organizing content for the book project as well as grant writing, event planning, and organizational tasks to make sure the community publishing process is in order.

For more information on our involved organizations and events, visit our websites:

DCP projects are dedicated to improving awareness about cultural groups in our community and raising thousands of dollars to fund organizations that support them. In so doing, the DCP offers meaningful experiential learning opportunities (like pizza and marathon editing sessions into the wee hours) where students commit to a project larger that matters more to them than any individual outcome. 

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