On Thursday morning at the Diamond Comics breakfast at this year’s New York Comic Con, David Steward II and Annie Philbrick from the Book Industry Charitable Foundation (BINC) announced the creation of The Forge Fund, a pool of money meant to support comic book stores and the employees that run them.
The BINC Foundation, a 501(c)3 that works with other charitable organizations to support the book selling community across the country, have assisted over 7,500 families though financial assistance and scholarship programs to the tune of $6.6 million since starting in 1996. Hoping to expand the program to the comic retailer side of the bookstore business, BINC partnered with comic publisher Lion Forge to extend their program. Hoping to loosen the financial hardships facing retail employees, the fund is meant to serve as a safety net to support individuals during tumultuous times in their life- whether they are dealing with natural disaster recovery or reeling from a death in the family.
“Our most recent survey results let us know that one in five store employees have experienced a personal financial crisis within the past twelve months,” BINC Executive Director Pam French said in a statement announcing the collaboration. “This new fund gives the Foundation the ability to assist those working in the comic book industry who are facing financial emergencies today and in the future.”
In addition to a $100,000 seed donation, Lion Forge has also pledged to donate 5 percent of proceeds from select titles — like this week’s Catalyst Prime: Seven Days written by Gail Simone — to finance the fund into the future.
“As the industry finds itself in a time of transition, and in the wake of recent natural disasters, we knew that we had to do something meaningful to help,” explained Stewart.
The executive also encouraged other comic book publishers to support the cause, stating that “this is an investment in the future of our industry.”
Disclosure: The Beat is owned by Polarity, which also owns Lion Forge Comics.