By Tammy Coxen: Chicon 8’s Chicago Worldcon Community Fund (CWCF) program offered both memberships and financial stipends. It was established with the goal of helping defray the expenses of attending Chicon 8 for the following groups of people:
• Non-white fans or program participants
• LGBTQIA+ fans or program participants
• Local Chicago area fans of limited means
SUPPORT PROVIDED. Thanks to the generosity of the Worldcon community we were able to provide support to 101 people. This was made up of 68 program participants and 33 fans. The majority of people (58) only received a membership while 28 received a stipend and a membership and 15 only received a stipend. A detailed breakdown of support provided is available here.
Memberships for program participants were provided via a pool of complimentary attending and virtual memberships provided by Chicon 8. Memberships for fans were covered entirely thanks to donated
memberships from fans who could not attend. The CWCF did not see the last minute rush of donated memberships that Dublin 2019 did in their Fantastic Dublin Fund, probably because people who could not attend in person chose to keep their memberships and attend virtually. However, in the end that was fine, since we were able to provide a membership to everyone who needed one.
CONTRIBUTIONS RECEIVED AND FUNDRAISING. Stipends were paid out of cash contributions made to the fund. In total, the fund received $23,604. Most of this money came from fans who responded to our calls for support. Nearly $15k was received from 76 donors, including 7 people who donated multiple times. Another $2k came from people who had some kind of payment error (double or overpayment) that could have resulted in a refund, but chose to donate that money to the fund instead. $873 came from the pay-what-you-can membership recipients themselves, with a minimum donation of $5 and a maximum of $75.
The remainder of the money in the fund came through other fundraising means — $2500 was a passalong from Discon III’s Capitalize fund, $2500 was raised by Chicon 8 through an auction and sale of pins at their table at Discon III, and an additional $1100 came from Discon III when they held a fundraiser for us at Balticon, giving leftover Discon III merchandise away in exchange for a contribution to the CWCF.
STIPENDS GIVEN. The program allowed applicants to specify both a minimum they needed to attend, and a maximum that would be ideal. We were able to grant all requests at the minimum amount, with a handful of people receiving more. The range of grants was very large, going from $50 to a virtual program participant for data costs to a max of $2300 for an in-person program participant, with an overall average grant of just over $500.
DECISIONS REMAINING TO BE MADE. The CWCF worked really hard to try to give away all the money we took in. However, in the end we were left with $1900 in the fund primarily due to last minute cancellations, including $1200 that was being held for Ugandan members who did not end up getting visas. We are still deciding what to do with the leftover funds.
Thank you to everyone who joined us in helping to make Worldcon more accessible.