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DOtter

I Had This Crazy Idea

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I've been thinking. I spent some effort last year trying to help fellow Furry fans who've been down on their luck. I've passed the word, (since I've had no bucks to pass), about sick dogs and cats, broken transmissions, sudden rises in rent and so on. I've mentioned emergency commissions, sales, loans and outright begging. I hope I've done some good.

My journals haven't gathered many replies, but I didn't expect them to. Sometimes I've gotten comments from well-meaning friends who have tried to discourage those whom I've been trying to encourage. They seem to feel that anybody who claims to be in trouble before a furcon must really intend to use the money to finance their convention trip. Personally, I think of this as cynicism, perhaps self-involvement. Maybe they're right, but you can't just assume such things, it's not fair.

But even if it is true, what's wrong with wanting to get to a furcon? It's important to spend time with other fans. It's difficult to advance in the fandom without putting in face time and meeting others. Deals are made at furcons, friendships and hook-ups started, even business entered into. On the surface, getting to a convention might seem to be a frill, an unimportant expense that can be dispensed with to help cope with hard times. That's true, but only to an extent; it's really more like dentistry, something you can put off for a while, but you'll suffer if you avoid it forever. (Granted as obvious, it's more fun going to MFF than to the dentist!)

So here's what I've been thinking about. Why not start a Furry charity to help under-privileged furries get to cons? It would help them with travel, hotel, living expenses and other costs as needed. Money would come from direct donations and sales of donated goods or services. It would be given to those who need it to get to a con. Details can be worked out later.

There's a precedence for this. Furry derives as a fandom from earlier fandoms, Science Fiction fandom being one of the more important. SF fans have travel fund plans called "fan funds" to help popular fans get to specific cons. The first was TAFF, the Trans-Atlantic Fan Fund, which helps fans from the UK get to Worldcon in America, (or the North America Science FIction Convention (NASFiC) when Worldcon is in another country); in alternating years it helps an American SF fan come to Eastercon, (the UK national SF con.) Other examples include DUFF, (Down Under Fan Fund between the US and Autralia), GUFF, (Going Under / Get Up-and-over Fan Fund between the UK and Australia), and CUFF, (Canadian Unity Fan Fund, within Canada.) SF fan funds help usually one SF fan, (occasionally groups), with travel and living expenses and allow them to visit friends in the host country before, during and after the convention until they go home. The fan to receive this largesse is chosen each year by popular vote. Money comes from donations, voting fees and sales of trip reports. The recipient in turn runs the fund at his or her end for two years.

However, I suggest that our Furry Fund should work a little differently. Money would be dispersed just to furries within North America. (Other countries or regions could start their own furry funds.) This is because travel in particular is much cheaper within the region than across an ocean. Recipients would be chosen, not on popularity, but by need. Perhaps they could be required to submit a plan with a budget, including ways that they can provide for part of their own needs, such as having been offered room space or a lift at least part-way. Smaller requests would be more likely to be granted; that way we could grant more of them.

The main advantage of such a Furry Fund would be that Furry fans who have trouble getting to a con would have help. Conventions could expect larger turn-outs and some less heard-from fans could make themselves known. They might even come with larger budgets and be able to buy art, instead of just admire it. As a side effect, fans who lie about personal emergencies to get money for furcons, (assuming there are any), would no longer need to lie. Fans who have the ability to help could then do so with confidence that their charity is going to help with real emergencies.

I must admit that I haven't the first idea how to make such a thing happen. I've never done anything like it. I don't even know if anybody is interested in a Furry Fund anyway. I'm putting this idea out for inspection and opinions. I would appreciate constructive feedback.

TL:DR - Happy 2012, let's help poor furries get to conventions, it'll solve some problems.
Viewed: 19 times
Added: 6 years, 10 months ago
 
LupineAssassin
6 years, 10 months ago
HUGS! I love your idea! I definitely plan on returning to Anthrocon this year.... somehow. :P
DOtter
6 years, 10 months ago
Oddly enough, you're one of the people I was thinking of who might benefit from such a fund. (BTW, to avoid scandal, I'd have to decline any such help myself. It would kinda look bad, unless there was some way to put myself "at arm's length" from my own project! (doubtful))
LupineAssassin
6 years, 10 months ago
Scandal for you or for me? O_o
DOtter
6 years, 10 months ago
You're forever up to your cute, lil' behind in scandal anyway, ya wuff! (Don't fret, it's why we love you.) I meant it might cause a scandal if I were to benefit from my own project.
LupineAssassin
6 years, 10 months ago
Aw ^^ Thanks. To be honest, I'm relieved I FINALLY paid off my overdue credit card. I was happy to rip up that fucking card into little pieces. :P

As of now, my Army bank account is currently overdrafted and I need to restore the balance SOON. I redirected all future Army payments to my new bank account. Got paid a few days ago; that money went fucking quick cos I had to pay my monthly storage fee (I have my old apartment packed up in a storage unit a mile from my house). Money is unbearably tight (bordering on nonexistent) now.

Drama? What drama? :P *HUG*
dmfalk
6 years, 10 months ago
As a general rule these days, it costs about the same to travel between North America and UK/Europe as it does to go cross-country/continent by plane. (Or for that matter, from the Mainland to/from Hawaii.) This isn't true of most other places, though.

I, for one, would love to go to another furry con, but I just can't afford it, not on SSI Disability alone. :P (The last time I did go, I ended up filing for bankruptcy because the bills from that expense was just too much.)

But you would think that in the 30-40 years that the furry community has been around (and 25+ years since the first stirrings of ConFurence), that fan funds would've been a fixture, just as it has been almost from the start for SF's Worldcon (which did the same for the first Worldcon, held during, nearby, inspired by, but not actually at the '39 New York World's Fair).

Furries have given to other large-scale donation projects before, so why not?

I know what it's like to have the pleasure of meeting someone like Frank Kelly Freas while at a con- Such an opportunity shouldn't be denied to those who deserve it.

d.m.f.
DOtter
6 years, 10 months ago
Not quite, according to Wiki. Nycon 1, the first Worldcon, was held in NYC in 1939. The "Big Pond Fund" didn't bring Ted Carnell to Philcon 1 in 1947 until Cinvention in 1949. (Wiki doesn't say what delayed his trip.) The first TransAtlantic Fan Fund (TAFF) race held under it's then-and-current name brought Walt Willis to TASFiC (in Chicago) in 1952. So there was some delay between the first Worldcon and the first TAFF race.

Likewise, nobody thought of doing anything similar in Furry until now. I'm surprised that Taral or Schirm or one of the other "First Furries" who came from SF fandom didn't actually think of it first. Maybe they did, but didn't want to get roped into having to organize and run it...

...OMG, what have I done??? D-:

...anyway, I'll take your word that it costs about as much to fly across the continent as across an ocean. Buses are cheaper, if slower; trains might be as well. With help with gas money, some people can drive. Anyway, depending on where you live, the con you want to get to might not be across the continent. That's why I believe Furry Funds should be limited to the country or region in which they're organized; most trips won't be that far.
dmfalk
6 years, 10 months ago
Considering the first furry party was in the early '70s (Mark Merlino's Prancing Skiltaire gettogethers, starting not long after Disney's Robin Hood) and the first furry con was in the late '80s (ConFurence 0, again Merlino's idea), it's actually taken longer- just from the founding of ConFurence- to get to this idea than it did for general SF, that says something... :P

d.m.f.
CyberCornEntropic
6 years, 10 months ago
FLUFF (Furries Love Underprivileged Fans Fund)?

Personally, I'm of the opinion that going to a convention is a convenient frill that can be dispensed with if one can't afford it, but that's just me and others will have their own opinions.  My opinion doesn't necessarily apply to other people.

In any case, my advise would be to contact people who organize the science fiction fan funds to see how they do it.  After all, why reinvent the wheel when you only need to swap tires?
DOtter
6 years, 10 months ago
I understand your opinion, although I hope to meet you at a con one day. Not re-inventing the wheel is a good idea. As I say, I don't envision FLUFF working like an SF fan fund, but there are probably other models to base FLUFF on that are closer to my vision. Then again, we've only started to explore the idea, so who knows what model it will eventually follow.
CyberCornEntropic
6 years, 10 months ago
I'm not against visiting a convention at some point, of course.  After all, if I do, then it means I can afford it.  (I have been to Denver's science fiction conventions, StarFest and StarCon, a few times years ago, when I lived in the area and could therefore afford to go.)

Basically, FLUFF would be an escrow service/trust fund set up in a bank account separate from any others and would be set up accept multiple types of payment, from checks and money orders to PayPal?  You'll want to investigate ways to keep sticky government fingers out of it as well as make sure it can continue on should you end up kicking the bucket at an inconvenient time.
DOtter
6 years, 10 months ago
Thanks! That's very helpful. (Maybe not Paypal, they have a reputation for being less than entirely scrupulous.)
CyberCornEntropic
6 years, 10 months ago
You're welcome.

Keeping FLUFF separate from any other bank account would help insulate you from any problems the FLUFF account might suffer as well as vice versa with insulating FLUFF from any problems that might happen to your personal account(s).  The same reasoning applies for setting up FLUFF in the name of a corporation instead of in your name.  If FLUFF goes flooey, then you can dump it and start all over without your personal accounts and credit rating also getting hurt in the process.  A corporate account would also let you designate other people to help you manage the account (preferably with something to put control into the hands of a trusted third party in case of squabbles between managers), especially when you've been called to that mud slide in the sky.

Naturally, this is where you're going to want to get help so you don't get overwhelmed.  A good accountant would be better able to help you keep the money side of things straight than anyone else as well as correct anything I just said to you.  Consulting an attorney may also be a good idea, but you should first ask those behind SF fan funds for their advice first.

I don't think it's terribly hard for you to set up a fan fund although I probably make it sound overwhelming.  I think you can do it if you take it one step at a time and not be afraid to get help when and where you can.
dmfalk
6 years, 10 months ago
In addition to what Cyber said, since
starling
starling
is trying to set up his own PayPal-like system for IB (which would be good for the furry community overall, to have one of their own electronic payment services), this might actually be a possible future venue for financing the FLUFF Fund.

d.m.f.
DOtter
6 years, 10 months ago
Cool! I'll have to keep an eye on that. Thanks!
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