The Dictionary of American Regional English is a fifty year long project dedicated to collecting and preserving the richness and flavor of the American language. The Dictionary published the volume containing entries for the letter "Z" just last year. Since then, the staff has been working on supplements and preparing an online digital version, which will make the DARE available to many more people and make it easy to update the Dictionary more frequently.
A worthy project and a fun one! Take a trip to a library that has a copy and enjoy yourself (caution: don't do it if you've got a lot of stuff to do that day). But the DARE is in trouble. Several foundations that once supported it have moved their funding to other projects, individual donations have slowed down, and the project lost $50,000.00 in Federal grants when the sequester went into effect. The University of Wisconsin, where the project lives, has endured "grave reductions" in state support. Here's a recent article from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel about the problem.
Point is, this is a great project on the ropes. Already, the staff have received layoff notices to take effect July 1, 2013. The Dictionary of American Regional English needs our support right now. I've contributed $100.00 this morning in memory of my uncle, George Goldman, who was a lover of words. The Dictionary needs about $250,000.00 to keep the full staff on through the end of 2013, and about $400,000.00 to keep the project going in 2014. Please give them a few bucks if you possibly can.
Here's a link to a secure page at the University of Wisconsin Foundation website. Please make a donation to keep the Dictionary alive, and pass this on to your friends who love words and American culture. Donate to the Dictionary of American Regional English