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. 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.
In our inaugural year we organized five luncheons for more than 250 members and guests, hosted student groups from ten area schools to participate in a small group discussion with the featured author and also provided special project grants to every public library in the Coachella Valley.
Nancy D. Cunningham
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.
Joanne R. Mintz
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.
Michael V. Smith
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 R. Martin
Donna Reed Martin enjoys being the Secretary / Treasurer 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!
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.
Fred E. Jandt, Ph.D.
Fred Jandt retired from California State University, San Bernardino where he was Outstanding Professor in 2003 and dean of the Palm Desert Campus from 2003 until his retirement in 2014. Dr. Jandt is a successful textbook and business book author including WIN-WIN NEGOTIATING which has been translated into eight languages. He has been active on many local boards including the Community Foundation for Riverside and San Bernardino Counties, the Palm Springs Public Library, and the College of the Desert.
Barbara Sylvor-Marks is delighted to have been asked to join the Advisory Board of the Literary Society of the Desert! She is a Patron and Founding Member who volunteered her expertise and enthusiasm to the organization during its fledgling season. Ms. Sylvor-Marks, a former marketing manager of well-known confectionary brands, has assumed the new position of Volunteer Coordinator and will continue to help make each meeting a positive experience for every member.