Former DC CEO Fletcher Chu-Fong, BINC Comic Shop Grants Committee Member
Last year, DC Comics laid off many longtime employees, including the much-loved Fletcher Chu-Fong, Executive Director of Events who had worked at DC Comics for 18 years, having worked for Marvel and Wizard. Well, he’s now on a review board working for the Book Industry Charitable (Binc) Foundation which today announced that applications for the Survive to Thrive grant program will be accepted until May 10.
Fundraising for the grants program, which is designed to provide substantial grants to as many as 200 independent bookstores and comic book stores, is still underway with a campaign goal of $ 2 million by the end. may. Subsidies will be awarded to selected stores in early June.
Long-time friend of the Foundation Judey Kalchik will handle the application process, working with a team of highly trained independent reviewers who love bookstores and comic book stores and understand the ins and outs of the business. The evaluators are: Fletcher Chu-Fong, Nicole Magistro, Erica Rodriguez Merrell, Michael Tucker, and Lori Tucker Sullivan.
The grant program is open to physical bookstores and comic book stores in the United States and U.S. territories that can demonstrate the economic damage from the pandemic and a strong stimulus package for the future. The goal is to help stores that have found ways to continue serving the needs of their communities and that are overcoming the burdens created by the pandemic, helping them thrive.
“Independent bookstores and local comic book stores are always adapting to the interests and changing needs of the community. Throughout the pandemic, we’ve seen stores introduce creative ways to keep operating safely, launching into online sales and virtual events almost overnight, offering door-to-door delivery and new options. subscription. and many other ways to stay in touch with their customers and their community, ”said Pamela French, Executive Director of Binc. “We have made the application as easy as possible. I encourage stores to apply.”
With $ 2 million, Survive to Thrive could provide grants of up to $ 10,000 to 200 independent bookstores and comic book stores. Grants will be awarded through a jury review process that takes into account the financial stability of stores prior to the pandemic, the negative financial impacts due to the pandemic, and their recovery plans with the funds awarded. The goal of the program is to support the long-term maintenance of local bookstores and comic book stores, by amplifying the many benefits that stores provide to the communities they serve. Reviewers will not know any identifying data, including the names or locations of stores for which they review applications.
Judey Kalchik began her career as a bookseller in 1987 as a part-time bookseller with Waldenbooks in West Mifflin, PA. Over the next 24 years, she held numerous positions at Waldenbooks and Borders including Event Coordinator, Store Manager Training, Mother Goose and Senior Manager of Store Operations. When she left Borders in 2010, she remained connected to books and book sales through her Facebook page. What I know about selling books, a volunteer at Binc, and most recently through the Little Free Library, her husband, Ken, built and placed in front of their home in Ann Arbor, MI.
Fletcher Chu-Fong is an accomplished and highly regarded experiential / event executive with over 20 years of comic book publishing experience, working with event planners and retailers. He has been responsible for the overall presence of the DC Comics booth and panel at conventions and trade shows across North America for much of the past two decades. Prior to his career in publishing, he owned a comic book and hobby store. Fletcher has a deep passion for comics and reading, and is a huge fan of the Legion of Superheroes!
Nicole Magistro is a reader, writer, mentor, journalist, consultant and community leader. She owned The Bookworm of Edwards for 15 years, during which time she received the ABA Entrepreneurial Excellence Award, the WNBA Pannell Award, and a James Patterson Independent Bookseller Grant. Magistro has judged the Kirkus Prize for Fiction and has served various nonprofits including the American Booksellers ‘Association, The Literacy Project, and The Mountains and Plains Independent Booksellers’ Association. Her current role is as editor and author of Read Island, an upbeat brand of children’s books and gifts.
Erica Rodriguez Merrell has spent most of her career with books and nonprofits – two things she loves without comparison. A bookseller for nearly twenty years, she had the extraordinary honor of co-owner of Florida’s only feminist bookstore, Wild Iris Books, for nearly a decade. She currently works as the Chief Financial Officer of Peaceful Paths, a domestic violence network that has provided emergency shelter and outreach services to survivors and their families for over 40 years. She lives in Gainesville, Florida with her husband and daughter, and their days are filled with song, dance and baking.
Michael Tucker is the former President / CEO of Books Inc. in San Francisco, California. Books Inc. currently operates 10 general interest bookstores, the most recent of which opened in February 2008. He began in the book business with Bookpeople in Berkeley in 1970. He was a member of the Bookseller Advisory Council of the ABA, Education Task Force and Digital Response Force. Michael was a member of the ABA Board of Directors from 2005 to 2011 and was Vice President / Secretary and then President from 2009 to 2011. Michael retired in 2019 and continues to serve on the Board of Directors of Books Inc ..
Lori Tucker-Sullivan is currently the Program Director for the Detroit site of the Goldman-Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program at Wayne State University. She is the former Executive Director of the Independent Booksellers Consortium, Inc. She has many years of involvement with independent businesses, bookstores, publishers and college educators. Lori is also a published writer, with essays appearing in several literary journals and magazines. His book, I don’t remember if I cried: Rock Widows on Life, Love and Legacy will be published by BMG Books in 2022. She served as chairman of Binc’s board for seven years, then a final year as past chairman before stepping down from the board at the end of 2020.
“Thank you to all of the reviewers for sharing their time and expertise for this expedited review process,” said Binc’s French. “They’ll be looking at a lot of information, but the process couldn’t be in better hands.”
Survive to Thrive is also looking for comic book writers and creators to help build a matching fund pool for the next stage of the campaign.