Log in

About Us

The Literary Society of the Desert is a non-profit organization that was established in 2015 to continue a tradition of literary luncheons in the Valley. We are a 501(c)(3) organization, approved by the IRS and the California Attorney General’s Charitable Trust Division.  FEIN 47-4859052

Through the generosity of our Sponsors, Patrons, and Members we provide programs and financial support to promote literacy and the love of reading in our community. 

Each season, at each of our five luncheon programs LSD hosts two tables of students from local high schools or colleges and present them the opportunity for small group conversation with our Guest Author.  We also provide annual special project grants to every public library in the Coachella Valley. These programs are facilitated through the generosity of our Benefactors, Patrons and Sponsors.

The Literary Society of the Desert is managed by its dedicated volunteer Boards with professional services contracted for fiscal accountability,  tax preparation and filing.


Nancy D. Cunningham
Founding Board


Ms. Cunningham is the Founding President of the Literary Society of the Desert.  She retired from a career in both the corporate and non-profit worlds, serving as Manager of Stockholder Relations for General Motors and, prior to that, Manager of Educational Relations and Communications for General Motors Design. She was the Executive Director of the Detroit Historical Society and a corporate development officer for the University of Chicago. Nancy has always been an active community volunteer, serving many arts organizations in the Detroit area, including Cranbrook Academy of Art, The Detroit Symphony Orchestra, and the Detroit Artists Market.  She currently is a full-time resident of the Desert and has served on the Rancho Mirage Library Foundation, is a Founder of the Palm Springs Architectural and Design Museum, and is active in the McCallum Muses and the Coachella Valley Repertory Theater.

Michael V. Smith

Founding Board


Donna R. Martin                    Founding Board 

Executive Vice President

Carrie Brookshire      Secretary

Joanne R. Mintz
Founding Board Member Vice President

Myron Mintz                       Co-Treasurer

Susan K. (Suz) Hunt

Vice-President and Parliamentarian

Michael Smith had a long tenure in trust and banking services with The Northern Trust Bank culminating his career as Regional President for the mid-California area.  He has a Master's Degree in Supervision of Administration and a B.A. In Education.  While having lived in the desert communities for over 20 years, he has served on numerous not-for-profit charitable boards including The McCallum Theatre, the Palm Springs Art Museum, and the College Of The Desert Foundation.  Michael is married, has two adult children, and one very spoiled granddaughter.

Donna Reed Martin enjoys her role as a Founding Board Member  of LSD.  Having been a member of the Advisory Board for Desert Literary Society, she very much wanted to see a similar organization continue its tradition, so became a Founding Sponsor of LSD.  She is the office administrator of her husband's law firm, and enjoys volunteering in this wonderful desert.  Former board memberships include The Muses of the McCallumTheatre, past chairman of the Junior League Sustainers, La Quinta Arts Foundation, and Palm Desert High School PTO.  She loves tennis and singing, having sung first with the Pipers and then with Vox Feminae throughout Tuscany, including the mass at St. Peter's high altar in Rome!

Carrie is a native Californian, born and educated in Long Beach at Cal State's College of Commerce. Her professional career has been varied, working for Hooker Chemical and Citizens Utilities in Stamford, Connecticut and for the Purex Corporation in Lakewood, California. She also worked as a real estate professional in Long Beach.  Her volunteer career is extensive, serving on the Board of the East Texas Food Bank, the City of Long Beach Public Corporation for the Arts, and the Foundation Board of the Long Beach Unified Schools.  She was President of the Long Beach Civic Light Opera and is currently active in the USC Trojan League and the McCallum Muses.

A native New Yorker, Joanne was educated in Brooklyn Public Schools venturing to Ohio for her graduate studies. During her professional career she was a Psychologist for delinquent girls, Executive Vice President of Weight Watchers of Northern California and Greater Los Angeles, Administrator at Children's Health Council at Stanford, and owned and operated Antique Stores.  In 2000 Joanne and her husband, Myron, relocated to the desert where they have been major supporters of McCallum Theater, Eisenhower Hospital,  College of the Desert, First Tee, Well in the Desert,  City of Hope, and Hadassah Hospital.  A life long lover of books Joanne co- founded the Santa Rosa Readers  in 2001.

Myron Mintz is a native New Yorker, raised in Wilmington, Delaware. A veteran of the United States Air Force and graduate of the California College of Podiatric Medicine, Dr. Mintz operated a private medical practice in Northern California for 25 years. He and his wife, Joanne, relocated to the desert in 2000 where have been active members of the community since their arrival. Myron served on the HOA Boards of PGA West and another La Quinta community prior to relocating to Rancho Mirage. He has an active interest in real estate and investing and is happy to bring that expertise to the LSD Board.

Suz Hunt is a dynamic community volunteer and retired president of Woodruff-Sawyer & Co., one of the country's largest privately held insurance brokerage and consulting firms. It is headquartered in San Francisco and while working there she was recognized for three years as one of the Bay Area's Most Influential Women. Retired now, in the Coachella Valley, she has served as President of ACT for MS and is currently Chairman of their Strategic Planning Committee and Co-chair of their annual Christmas Tree Lane event. Suz is VP of the Waring Piano Competition Board and active at the McCallum Theatre, Living Desert, and World Affairs Council of the Desert.


Joe Basak

Finance Administration

Joe Basak currently serves as CFO for the Coachella Valley Repertory and is Treasurer of the Board of Directors for Pegasus Therapeutic Riding.  Before relocating to Rancho Mirage from Long Islad, New York, Joe was the Manager of Financial Reporting for Volt information sciences where he prepared SEC filings, quarterly and annual reports (10Qs and 10Ks).  He started his career as the Accounting Manager for CBS News in NYC.  Joe holds a degree in Finance from Baruch College, and studied international money and banking at the University of Madrid in Spain. He returned to Baruch for his Masters at the Zicklin School of Business.

Marge Dodge

Public Relations

Marge Dodge is a member of the Literary Society of the Desert Advisory Board. Her passions are education, literacy and the arts, and serves on four local non-profit boards promoting those areas of interest. She belongs to two book discussion groups and is a guest reporter for the Desert Sun.

Malinda Gilchrist

Student Programs

Malinda was an educator, teacher and mentor for 28 years in the Torrance, California Unified School District and received the California Education Honorary Service Award for exceptional and dedicated service. She sponsored the Soroptomist International Mira Costa H.S. "S" Service Club (Manhattan Beach) for over ten years before moving to Palm Desert. The "S" Club is a youth service organization of over 100 girls and she received the city of Manhattan Beach's Recreation and Youth Service Award for her dedication for the project. She currently supports the McCallum Muses and the Boys ad Girls Club of the Coachella Valley. Malinda is an avid golfer and served on the Monterey Country Club Ladies Golf Association Board for four years.



Rosemarie Buntrock

Lyn Chernis

Jackie Coakley

Nancy Crandall *

Nancy Cunningham *

Barbara Fremont
Karlene Garber

Sis Jackson *

Li-Anne Mannix

Donna Martin *
Joanne Mintz

Frances Muir

Annette Smith

Carlyn Stonehill

Jean B. Viereck *



Sheila Bailin

Joyce Beaupre

Nancy Benson

Lynda Biggs
Marlene Bilsky
Paula Bronson
Carrie Brookshire
Ellen Burns
Donna Jean Darby
Kathleen Delaney

Caroline Duff

Joy Goldstein

Ilene Grabel

Jane Graham

Toni Hafey

Lola Hagadone
Nan Harman
Nancy Herman
Bobbie Herrell
Helene Hixon
Suz Hunt
Peggy Jacobs

Ruth Kaufman

Carole Haes Landon

Diane Maxwell

Gigi McMillan
Judy Metz

Betsy Michel
Birgit Moller                   Cherie Morris


Anne Newman

Mary Fay Pinnow

Tim Radigan-Brophy           
Suzi Richards                               Twanna Rogers          
Mary Rolston

Beth Shaw

David Shaw

Michael Smith

Barbara Sylvor-Marks

Alix Truax

January Ward

Karla Waterman

Linda Weakley



Jane Arthur

Jackie Coakley

Deborah DeSantis

Marge Dodge

Sally Douglas

Suzanne Feder

Cora Ginsberg
Inga Golay

Peggy Greenbaum

Lola Hagadone
Karen Heiferman
Libby Hoffman

Suz Hunt

Loreen Jacobson
Tamara Mattison

Betsy Michel

Barbara Foster Monachino

Dianne Nilsen

Robin Nugent

Mary Pasquesi

Mary Lynn Rose

Elise Sacks

Sherry Schor

Gloria Scoby

Dr. Michelle Yount


Lynn Armstrong

Marge Barry
Laura Bellows
Candy Clevenger

Sally Douglas

Cheryl Duryea

Nancy Fraiman

Malinda Gilchrist

Lola Hagadone

Sharon Kelsch

Donivee Nash

Julie Rescigno

Barbara Spencer                         
JoAnn Wellner
Dr. Jane Woolley

© 2023 Literary Society of the Desert

Literary Society of the Desert is a
501(c)3 non-profit organization.

Go to top of page

75280 Highway 111, Suite 101-8 

Indian Wells, CA 92210


Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software