2021 Worldcon Launches Capitalize! The DisCon III Fan Fund

DisCon III, the 2021 Worldcon in Washington, D.C., has created the Capitalize! Fan Fund as the first step in their overall diversity and inclusivity initiatives. It will help fans, staff, and program participants from marginalized communities to attend DisCon III.

The fund will assist BIPOC, LGBTQIA+, and/or groups historically underrepresented within the Worldcon community, as well as local DC fans of limited financial means. The committee says, “One of the most important ways to ensure a fabulous Worldcon is to have participants and attendees as diverse as fandom itself.”

Washington, D.C.’s population is about 45% Black or African American.

DisCon III is seeding Capitalize! with 20 memberships that will be discounted for Washington, DC area residents or given out to fans and participants from marginalized communities, who have limited financial means, or who suffer from other barriers to attendance. Fans seeking assistance from Capitalize! will be able to apply to the fund from October 2020. 

Beginning immediately, the committee is asking for support for Capitalize! through financial contributions to help open the doors to fandom. A donation button is here.

Funds donated to Capitalize! will be used to provide memberships and travel stipends in the amount of $500 to fans and participants who are BIPOC, LGBTQ, and/or from other groups that have been historically underrepresented within the Worldcon community. The stipend amount represents our estimate of average accommodation expenses for someone in a shared double room, but stipends can be used as needed by the recipient for travel expenses. Depending on the level of funds contributed, DisCon III will offer this assistance to as many eligible attendees from marginalized communities living outside the Washington, DC region as we can.

Although we recognize that this does not address all of the reasons these fans have not participated in the past, DisCon III wishes to lessen the financial barriers of attendance for fans from these groups and enable them to join the big tent that we call Worldcon.

How to Apply for Assistance: Applications will be taken starting October 15, The FAQ states —

If you fall into one of the above two groups (i.e living in Washington, DC or within 20 miles of the city borders and/or self-identifying as a member of a marginalized group within Worldcon fandom), and want to seek assistance from Capitalize! to attend DisCon III, you will be able to apply via this web site from October 15. If you check the box indicating that you wish to be a program participant, please also complete our Program Participant Application.

All applications and awards will be kept strictly confidential. Our goal is to help as many people as possible through Capitalize! If we are unable to meet all requests for expenses or discounted memberships due to insufficient donations, then we (or a partner organization we bring on to help administer Capitalize!) will attempt to assist as many people as possible.

Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis beginning in March 2021 with priority given to those fans for whom DisCon III would be their first Worldcon and those with multiple barriers to attendance. Stipends will begin being awarded in late spring 2021, based upon funding availability within Capitalize!.

The DisCon III Fan Fund seeks to follow up the successes of the Worldcon 76 Mexicanx Initiative and the Fantastic Dublin Fund.

DisCon III is a project of the Baltimore-Washington Area Worldcon Association, Inc., a US-based 501(c)(3) charity (EIN: 52-1936731). Donations may be tax deductible depending on your individual situation.

[Based on a press release.]

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