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Your Future Real Estate Transaction can Support The Writing Den

As a member of Investing In Communities®, The Writing Den can receive funding as a result of any brokered real estate transaction – home sales, home purchases, or commercial leases. As more supporters use this platform, before engaging a real estate agent, The Writing Den will have more resources to help more people experiencing homelessness.

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Our Mission

The Writing Den is a nimble, committed, and impactful 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that helps those in need with a focus on the homeless communicate and connect through the power of handwriting. We host eight monthly dens at our social services and community organization partners’ locations in New York (4), Seattle (2), San Diego (2). These are the #1, #3, and #5 U.S. cities with the highest concentration of homelessness.

The benefits of handwriting are well-documented and fundamental to our lives because it has the power to:

  • Transform thoughts into action
  • Enhance self-understanding and accountability
  • Increase emotional support
  • Re-establish relationships
  • Create the possibility of sustained housing and work 

Christian and Jill

Our History

The Writing Den was started in August 2017 after the passing and inspiration of Ernestine Diesing, Co-Founder, Christian Michaels’ mother who passed away. Tina, as she was affectionately known, was a tireless writer – one who kept a diary and wrote cards and letters to friends and family in the U.S. and her homeland Austria almost every day. Tina left behind a treasure trove of writing materials – cards, envelopes, stationary, and even postage. Tina’s life began within the context of limited resources, so she developed a strong compassion for those even less fortunate then her. It is through Tina’s spirit that The Writing Den was founded after her passing. Her passion for writing and collected resources make it possible for the homeless to connect with loved ones using the power of handwritten cards and letters.

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Our Work

We partner with and set up monthly dens with the city’s largest and impactful housing shelters, food kitchens, and community service organizations that support the homeless. We provide the materials, tools, and support for them to write loved ones, employers, housing contacts, and elected officials along with poems, stories, and other creative endeavors. Then mail their correspondence and deliver any response back each month. Our resource partners include Bic, Blick Art Supplies, and Moleskine who generously donate pens, pencils, notebooks, and sketch pads.

Our Events

Our eight monthly den partners and locations include the below. Grown in two years from first in San Diego with Ladle Fellowship launched September 2017 and eighth in April 2020 with New York Rescue Mission at The Salvation Army New York Temple Corps. With COVID-19, six in person dens are on pause and two are virtual (* below).


  • Chelsea – Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen (First Wednesday, 10:30am-12:30pm) AND *New York Public Library/Muhlenberg Public Library/Virtual (Last Wednesday, 1:00pm-2:00pm)
  • Soho – Housing Works Bookstore Cafe (Last Saturday, 2:00pm-4:00pm)
  • The Bowery – New York City Relief at New York City Rescue Mission (First Thursday, 10:00am-12:00pm) AND were to move to The Salvation Army New York Temple Corps on 4/13/20 and postponed due to COVID-19


  • Downtown – Banker’s Hill – First Presbyterian Ladle Fellowship (Last Sunday, 2:00pm-4:00pm) AND
  • East Village – Alpha Project Temporary Bridge Shelter (Second Saturday, 9:30am-11:30am)


  • Downtown – *Mary’s Place Women’s Day Center/Virtual (Third Thursday 10:00am-11:00am) AND Seattle’s Union Gospel Mission (Last Monday, 2:00:pm-4:00pm)

Our Impact

Our annual 100 dens, with 200 hours of writing, and connection of close to 5,000 guests and their stories of gratitude are our greatest accomplishment when guests share they reconnected with a family member, received a job offer, or reignited their creativity after writing in one of our dens. Some of these stories shared include the below and are also featured in The Writing Den 2020 Annual Report, Website Events and “Write On!” sections, and social media and Instagram@thewritingden. Plus GivingTuesday 12/1/20 and GivingNow 5/5/20 videos!

“Letter writing is for communication and love. Thank you for the resources to do it!” Jan, Ladle Fellowship at First Presbyterian Church, December 2019

I have not spoken to my daughters in 26 years; thank you for your support to write them.” Doug, Seattle’s Union Gospel Mission Men’s Shelter, November 2019

“This is an opportunity to reconnect with people who have been meaningful and supportive in my life.” Matthew, Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen, March 2019

“Handwriting works, it really works!” Jeremy, New York City Relief at New York City Rescue Mission, January 2019

“We found my father and now know he is well. We cannot thank you enough for your assistance!” Tamika, daughter via email, October 2020

“My mother and I did not know our brother was alive until we received his letter, thank you.”  Tina, sister via email, June 2018

“Thank you for helping me reconnect with my father.” Gabriela, daughter via telephone, July 2018

Our Adaptions

With COVID-19, our eight monthly New York, San Diego, and Seattle in person dens were put on temporary pause in mid-March. This while our partners continued providing limited essential indoor and mobile social services or were closed. We still continued our mission to provide connection and emotional support by handwriting which the pandemic has showed is needed even more. We pivoted our handwriting den services and support for the close to 5,000 homeless guests we serve annually. Going 100% virtual in a safe and welcoming environment for current as well as new ‘in need’ guests. This included:

  • Launched virtual monthly dens with our current partners who could safely welcome and provide guests with computer access and materials to write, chat, and spend time with us! These included Seattle partner, Mary’s Place Women’s Day Center in July 2020 and New York Public Library/Muhlenberg Library in February 2021.
  • Created “Write On! Warriors Wall” with letters, stories, poems, and drawings from our online gusts and our Co-Founders that honored a pandemic or racial justice fighting warrior for posting on our website, Facebook, and Instagram.
  • Designed “The Writing Den Envelope Necklace” limited edition of 25 for fundraising initiative with May 2021 online campaign for Mother’s Day, Graduation, and other celebrations. An envelope with custom recipient’s initials on front, “TWD” on back, and sender’s custom handwritten note inside.
  • Increased online website and social media presence and engagement by featuring our virtual guests’ creatively handwriting, partners heroically serving, and reconnections beginning.
  • Established COVID-19 Relief Fund that helped support new virtual initiatives, monthly den operations, and ongoing communications with special 2020 GivingTuesday campaigns in May and December.


Location: New York, New York

Focus Area: Education, Health and Wellness

Budget: Less than $250k

Want to help this charity with your next real estate transaction?

We respect your privacy and want to make sure you are totally at ease. By submitting, you are sharing your information with us only and we will not share it with or sell it to anyone else. We will contact you by email to get more information about your real estate needs. Then we will provide you with several agents suited to your needs and you may contact them -or not- as you choose. There’s no sales pitch or pressure. It's entirely your choice.


As a tax exempt 501(c)3 organization, The Writing Den is eligible to receive at least 70% of the referral fee when you use Investing In Communities (IIC) to sign up with ANY real estate broker to handle your residential or commercial property transaction. Referral fees are a common expense paid by brokers only to other brokers for much desired referrals. As a licensed broker with a charitable mission, IIC is able to accept referral fees and pass most of those funds to your charity of choice - at no cost to you.
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