Tag Archives: financial aid

Support WMAF this Giving Tuesday!

If you’ve heard of Giving Tuesday, odds are you’re a generous person and you’ve got lots of organizations asking for donations from you already. Thank you for that! Generosity toward others in our communities is increasingly necessary to us all.

If you haven’t heard of Giving Tuesday, it was conceived a few years ago as a balance to the Black Friday phenomenon — a day centered around supporting nonprofits by making donations. We suspect you’re a generous person as well, and we salute your remarkable ability to stay off donation mailing lists!

We know that most of the people in our community are spread thin, and that when our friends and neighbors need help with day-to-day expenses, contributing to WisCon’s Member Assistance Fund (WMAF) can feel like a low priority.

We believe that WisCon is a vital space to regroup, to strategize, to take a break, to do work that advances justice, and to envision the future. Because of that, we feel that it’s more important than ever to support folks who want to attend but face financial challenges to their participation. The WMAF makes awards of between $50 and $500 to folks who apply for assistance, but we can’t do that without your donation. Your $5 (or more!) can help us to have a vibrant, inclusive WisCon this May.

Please give at paypal.me/WISCON!

Donate to the Member Assistance Fund – Put WisCon Within Reach!

Last May, during WisCon 41, political turmoil was dominating national and world attention. We know it had a dramatic impact on the conversations we had during the convention — not only as a topic, but also in shaping the membership. We know that as a convention in the midwest, in Wisconsin, in the United States, our environment became less welcoming — and in many ways more hostile — than ever before. And we know that hasn’t changed.

We feel that it’s important to counter that hostility while continuing our work right here in Madison. WisCon is not simply a convention: every Memorial Day weekend we create a space to organize, to push back, to have restorative conversations, to make connections, and to build our dream of a better future.

As an intersectional feminist convention, we know we can’t do that without striving for equity and taking concrete steps toward including as diverse a group of participants as possible in those spaces, conversations, connections, and dreams. Our most concrete step toward inclusion and equity is WisCon’s Member Assistance Fund (WMAF).

The WMAF has a single purpose: to help people travel to and enjoy WisCon. The WMAF awards attendees amounts up to $500, at whatever level they tell us they need to make their attendance possible. It’s vital that we ease the way for as many people as possible to join us, bringing their opinions, their ideas, and their knowledge. WisCon builds and tests ideas, exploring gender, class, race, and ability in science fiction and fantasy, and through that process, we build our culture and our world in a way that isn’t limited to the con.

We need your donations to make this happen. Any amount you donate to WMAF makes a huge difference — our goal is to raise $8,000 by December 31, enough to help at least sixteen people, and probably many more. Donations to WisCon are tax-deductible in the US.

Please give now to help us put WisCon within reach.

Funding the Fund — $6,000 fundraising goal for the Member Assistance Fund

SF3 Fundraising Committee
& the Member Assistance Fund

The snow is melting in Madison, Wisconsin. The ground is mud, mottled with hard-packed ice, under a patina of exhaust residue. The lakes are still frozen over, but their surfaces are puddled, treacherous. We’re beginning to remember that one day, leaves will grow. That the wind isn’t always unwelcome. That it’s time, finally, to… donate to the WisCon Member Assistance Fund!

What’s the WMAF, you ask? It’s a fund established to assist people attend WisCon by alleviating some or all of the costs incurred by attending. 2016 was the biggest year yet for the WMAF. The donations you gave totaled almost $11,000, from a combination of individual donors and matching donors. We are so grateful for the generosity shown, and our con was much richer for the presence of members who received those funds.

Let’s do it all over again! We’ve set an initial fundraising goal of $6,000 by Friday, March 3. Your donations are tax-deductible, and there’s nothing like giving the gift of WisCon.

Donate to the WMAF when you register for WisCon, anytime on the Fund’s webpage, or using the buttons below. And if you’d like to offer matching donations, reach out to us by writing to fundraising@sf3.org. We’d love to hear from you!

One-time Donation: WisCon Member Assistance Fund

Recurring Donation: WisCon Member Assistance Fund

How often would you like your gift to recur?
Enter your donation amount

Nominate someone for the Member Assistance Fund — closes Feb. 28

WisCon Member Assistance Fund

Memorial Day weekend can be the best and worst time of year. The best time if you’re in Madison for WisCon. And the worst if — you’re not.

Listen, we know that getting to WisCon is not economically feasible for everyone. That’s why we have our Member Assistance Fund. Maybe you need gas money, or a plane ticket, or a hotel room, or even just dogsitting. We might be able to help.

The Fund is pretty simple — we have a small pool of money and we disburse it to people who need a little assist in getting to WisCon. All you have to do is write us a short email nominating someone. The details are on this page. We’ve tried to keep is as low-key as possible.

And, yes, we absolutely encourage you to nominate yourself. Because you know who we’d love to see at WisCon? YOU.

There’s one more week to nominate people — the deadline is Tuesday, Feb. 28, at 11:59pm Central Time. We’ll let nominees know if funding is available for them before the Programming survey closes on March 13.

$2,500 matching donation met

Chris Wallish
SF3 Communications Committee

We did it!  YOU did it!!  Yesterday, we met Jed Hartman’s matching donation.  In just five days’ time, we raised $5,000 for the WisCon Member Assistance Fund.  This means that in the 10 days since Wrdnrd announced their matching donation, we’ve raised a total of $7,300!  This is completely unprecedented for the Fund and just shows what a strong and caring community WisCon has.

This year, WisCon made a very deliberate effort to raise awareness of the Assistance Fund, because attending a convention like WisCon can be quite expensive (Madison is not cheap to fly into, and the Concourse is a very nice hotel).  WisCon does what it can to make attending the convention more economically feasible — from providing Childcare for just $1 to offering free snacks and meals in the Con Suite — but by far the most valuable is the Fund, which puts money exactly where recipients need it.

And now, thanks to the outpouring of support from the WisCon community (and beyond!), the Fund will be assisting almost 30 people attend WisCon 40 this May.  Many of the recipients will be attending their first WisCon!

Our active fundraising is going into hiatus for the time being, although you can donate to the Member Assistance Fund at any time.  All money donated to the Assistance Fund from yesterday afternoon (Madison time) will go toward seeding the Fund for WisCon 41.  And at WisCon in May this year, we’ll be continuing to raise awareness of the Fund for potential nominees and also talking more about various ways to keep the Fund funded on a regular basis.

We are deeply grateful to Jed and Wrdnrd, and to everyone who donated in the past few weeks — especially to the donor who took us over the finish line yesterday.  We’re thankful for everyone who signal-boosted our fund drive and for everyone who worked in the background to encourage donors from all corners.  Thank you for helping to make WisCon a reality this year for more people than we ever thought possible.

See you in May!

Let’s fund the Fund — $966 and 31 hours to go

Allison Morris
SF3 Fundraising Committee

We are amazed and thankful for all of the generosity that our WisCon Member Assistance Fund’s fundraising efforts have been met with this year — it’s truly inspiring to be a part of this community, and to know that we are all committed to seeing WisCon, and WisCon’s principles, continuing to benefit from a variety of voices.

I’m someone who believes in the power of the stories that communities tell themselves. Those stories create our reality, set forth our dreams, and define our worlds. It’s crucial that those stories include many voices. The WMAF is one of the ways that we work to make sure that it’s possible for the people who want to be a part of our conversations to join us. Our stories suffer without them there.

We’ve been very lucky this year to have two amazingly generous challenge donors in Wrdnrd and Jed Hartman. They have both staked their money in the belief that others would join them to help meet the wonderful number of requests for assistance we received this year. I know that we will meet the challenge. That’s the story I am telling, and I believe in our power to create that reality.

As I write this, we’ve raised $1,533.94 out of our $2,500.00 goal. There are 31 hours left before our challenge deadline of 11:59pm Saturday night in Madison.

Give now to make our dreams become reality.

Assistance Fund matching fundraiser — this one goes to 11

Chris Wallish
SF3 Communications Committee

We had an amazing week last week with Wrdnrd’s matching fund drive, raising $1,500 for our Member Assistance Fund in just two days.

This week we have even more incredible news:  Our Member Assistance Fund is about $5,000 away from being able to fund everyone who qualifies, and Jed Hartman wants to help make that happen.

From now until the end of the day (11:59pm Central Time) on Saturday, Feb. 27, Jed is matching dollar-for-dollar all donations up to $2,500.

This is an unbelievable opportunity that would give us the chance to help more people than we’ve ever been able to help before.

This week, if you have just $10 to donate to the Fund, thanks to Jed that means $20 into the Fund.  And so, bit by bit, maybe we can make it all the way to $5,000.

What do you think, everyone?  Can we do it?

Matching donation reaches its goal!

Chris Wallish
SF3 Communications Committee

We are absolutely delighted to announce that Wrdnrd’s matching donation to the Member Assistance Fund was 100% successful!  We are incredibly grateful for the community’s support with this fund drive this week, and humbled by the outpouring of generosity.  This WisCon is the first that we’ve run a dedicated fundraising campaign for our Fund, and we’ve been blown away by the response.  Not only did we meet Wrdnrd’s match in under two days, but we were almost half-way to the goal in only twelve hours.

Another notable thing about this fund drive is that many of the donations were in the $10-$15 range.  All donations add up!  You absolutely don’t have to make “big” donations of $100, $500, or whatever dollars to make a difference.  If you’re able to toss in only a few dollars, it all adds up and helps one more person.

With Wrdnrd’s donation, this means $1,500 into the Fund to help members who have requested assistance to attend WisCon in May.

Thank you all, so, so much!

But wait, there’s more!!  We’ve had another incredibly generous donor step up to challenge the community to see just how narrow we can make the gap between the money in the Fund and the amount of requests we have this year.  Stay tuned for details on Monday!

Matching donation to Member Assistance Fund fund drive

for WisCon Member Assistance Fund

Hi.  Wrdnrd here.

I’m the one who’s been muttering bitterly in the back of class panels for years.  I started coming to WisCon in 2005, before there was a Member Assistance Fund (though i’ve lost my program book from that year so i’m going off pure memory here).  By the time i knew about the Fund, which was originally called Scholarships, i was at a point in my life where i felt financially secure enough to not request help.

This was undoubtedly a straight-up lie that i told myself.  And it wouldn’t be the first time.  When i qualified for food stamps back in the ’90s, i told myself that groceries were one thing i was always able to buy or get from family and that other people needed the help more than i did.  I came by this idiocy honestly — growing up, when our single-mother-led family was below the poverty line and on the school lunch program, my mother didn’t apply for food stamps.  Other people needed the help more.

These days i’m lucky enough that i’m able to donate to WisCon’s Member Assistance Fund.  It’s a little weird — something of a mental shift for me.  But other people need the help.

I do get super mouthy about class issues, as all 160-ish poor souls who follow me on Twitter know.  The other year i was able to put my energy where my mouth is by co-founding Friends of Dennis.  This year, i’m able to put my wallet where my mouth is by offering a last-minute matching donation to the Assistance Fund’s fundraiser.

Here’s the deal:  For donations made to WisCon’s Member Assistance Fund from now until Saturday night (11:59pm Central Time), i will match every dollar up to $500 — TWICE.  So if you donate $5 to WMAF this week, i’ll donate $10.  If we all pull together, this could mean another $1,500 to help bring people to WisCon 40 this May.

Also, for every membership donated to the Fund, I’ll donate another one.  If you’re interested in donating a membership, please email treasurer@sf3.org.

On Sunday, the SF3 Treasurer and i will tally it all up, i’ll PayPal some monies over to WisCon, and we’ll announce here just how much damage we did to my tax refund.

Okay … GO:

Not-So-Insurmountable Barriers

for WisCon Member Assistance Fund

I first started hearing about WisCon in 2010, when I became good friends with people living in Madison who volunteered for the con every year.  Hearing about all the cool people, interesting discussions, and sheer fun to be found there, I gradually built up longing to go — but, unfortunately, couldn’t build up the money to match my longing.  So I sighed from afar, thinking wistfully of the awesome feminists who were talking about robots without me, and resigned myself to never doing more than reading con reports after the fact.

Then, in 2013, one of my Madison friends said, hey, can I nominate you for this assistance fund? And it was like this huge insurmountable barrier had just been poofed out of existence.

Of course, I didn’t say yes right away, because I struggled with the feeling that con assistance funds weren’t for people like me — they were for people more engaged than me, more productive, more active in various communities, with more valuable perspectives.  I didn’t see myself as valuable enough to be worth anyone else spending money for me to go.  It took a lot of psyching myself up to get past those feelings — especially that horrible capitalist shame that makes me constantly compare myself to others in terms of value, like a commodity — and realize that people genuinely wanted me there and that con assistance funds exist for anybody who needs them to go to the con.

As it turned out, I was the biggest barrier to me using the fund.  I was worried that there would be a lot of paperwork and record-keeping and receipt-tallying, but in the end it was simple.  I told the folks managing the fund how much money I needed, and for what, and they sent me a cheque.  They believed me about what I needed and didn’t place bizarre limitations on the kinds of things that could be covered — so the WisCon assistance fund ended up paying for the rental car, gas, food, and even the bill for boarding my dog for a week.  And, because it was all the same to them whether I drove or flew or took a bus, I was able to pack two of my good friends into the car with me, and WisCon gained itself three attendees for the price of one.

I had an amazing time that year.  I learned a lot, I made new friends, I talked with people who were excited about the same things I was excited about. The WisCon assistance fund taught me that I love going to WisCon, that it’s a great con for me; without the money to make my first WisCon possible, I might never have learned that.  I’m going again this year, with the same people I went with before, because we’re a little better situated financially and now know that the experience will be worth the expense for us.

I hope that, if you’re considering nominating someone or accepting a nomination, you will.  It doesn’t matter how valuable you think you are or aren’t: the assistance fund is for you.  People want you there.  I want you there.

And I hope that, if you’re considering donating to the assistance fund, you’ll give as generously as you’re able to.  This program brings new life, new blood, and new perspectives to the con, and makes it possible for people like me to join the discussion.  Your donation makes an enormous difference to both the con and to the people who receive it.  I couldn’t be more grateful to previous donors for the chance they gave me to be part of the WisCon community.

Donate to the Member Assistance Fund:

Or send a checque payable to SF3 to:

Attn: WisCon Member Assistance Fund
P.O. Box 1624
Madison, WI 53701

SF3 is a 501(c)(3) organization, so your donations are tax deductible.

Don’t forget to nominate people to receive WisCon Member Assistance Fund grants!

Lisa Cohen
WisCon Member Assistance Fund

Every year, the WMAF tries to help as many people as we can come to WisCon. We are currently accepting nominations for potential recipients of assistance. Nominate someone else or nominate yourself. Tell us why the potential recipient would benefit from attending WisCon and give us an idea of what funds would make the difference between being able to attend and missing the convention. Typically, we give amounts between $200 and $500.

We are often asked whether a previous recipient of assistance can receive help again. The answer to that is that yes, that is a possibility, but if we do not have enough money to help everyone who applies, we will give priority to people who have not previously received assistance. Depending on the number of nominations and the amount of donations, the WMAF committee will try to help out as many people as possible who would like to come to WisCon but need some support to do so.

All nominations need to be made by midnight, CST, February 15, 2016. Assistance recipients will be notified by March 15, 2016. These deadlines are timed to allow people who receive assistance time to sign up to be on programming. Nominations for the WisCon Member Assistance Fund should be sent to fund@wiscon.net. Nominate away!

And by the way, if you have a little money to help other people come to WisCon, donate! This year the WMAF is running its first-ever dedicated fund-raiser with the goal of raising $5,000 to help send people to WisCon. All contributions should be made to SF3 and sent to:

Attn: WisCon Member Assistance Fund
P.O. Box 1624
Madison, WI 53701

SF3 is a 501(c)(3) organization, so your donations are tax deductible. Every penny will be used to help potential WisCon members attend in May. You can also use Paypal and send the money to treasurer@sf3.org. Or click the handy “Donate” button, below.

Donate to the Member Assistance Fund:

See you in May!

Donate to the WisCon Member Assistance Fund!

WisCon Member Assistance Fund
& SF3 Fundraising Committee

As an inclusive feminist convention, WisCon is always striving for ways to welcome more voices to our conversations — and we are proud that we’ve had the support of our community in our efforts over the past few years, building a code of conduct in our Anti-Harassment Policy, instituting our Statement of Principles, adding Safer Spaces, expanding our work toward accessibility, and maintaining low registration fees, rebates for volunteers, and $1 childcare for attendees.

There’s another vital part of enriching the conversations we have at the con — our Member Assistance Fund (WMAF). Every year, SF3 (WisCon’s parent organization) moves what we can afford out of our savings and into this dedicated pool of money to help people travel to and enjoy WisCon. The WMAF awards attendees amounts ranging from $50 to $500, amounts that might cover everything from a tank of gas to a plane ticket to a stay in the WisCon hotel.

We don’t ask our attendees who receive WMAF money to tell us how they use their money, because we know that they know their situations best — the important thing is that they join us, bringing their opinions, their ideas, and their knowledge. They are just as vital to WisCon if they decide to share their thoughts on a panel, in a reading, or in a hallway… or if they keep their reactions to the con private. WisCon builds and tests ideas, exploring gender, class, race, and ability in science fiction and fantasy, and through that process, we build our culture and our world in a way that isn’t limited to the con. We can’t do that without making a concrete effort toward the inclusion of diverse voices.

We need your help to grow this effort. Any amount you can donate to WMAF will make a huge difference — we’d like to raise $5,000 this year, which would mean a full award for ten people, or many more small awards for those who just need a little help to attend.

We’ll be sharing more about the WMAF and how important it is to WisCon over the next few months. Donate now to make WisCon 40 truly an anniversary to be proud of!

Please consider a recurring donation of $5 or more every month — it’s a relatively painless way for many people to make a HUGE difference!

PS — Did you know that SF3, WisCon’s parent organization, is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization? That makes your gift tax deductible in the U.S.!