Category: Information

update on Carl Brandon Society’s tax-exempt status

I administer Con or Bust as a project of the Carl Brandon Society, a not-for-profit organization whose mission is to increase racial and ethnic diversity in the production of and audience for speculative fiction. Questions about the Carl Brandon Society’s tax-exempt (501(c)(3)) status with the IRS were recently brought to my attention.

The Carl Brandon Society’s tax-exempt status was automatically revoked in August 2013; the CBS has today published an apology and an explanation on its blog. I apologize as well for inadvertently misleading donors to Con or Bust. I strive to run Con or Bust in as transparent and accountable a manner as possible, and I would never have represented that the CBS was a current 501(c)(3) organization if I had known that its status had been revoked.

As the CBS says in its statement, it will be applying for retroactive reinstatement soon and expects to be reinstated with no difficulty. Retroactive reinstatement means, effectively, that an organization will be considered to have been a tax-exempt organization all along, with no break in its status.

What does this mean for Con or Bust donors? If you’ve donated money to Con or Bust since August 2013, and you would like to be updated on the Carl Brandon Society’s reinstatement application, you can email with “tax status” in the Subject. I will add you to a mailing list that has the sole purpose of updating people on the CBS’s tax status. (No spam!) You can also keep an eye on the CBS’s website. So that future donors are aware, I am updating Con or Bust’s website with this information and will provide it in the thank-you emails to donors from now on. Unfortunately, if you’ve listed contributions to the Carl Brandon Society as itemized deductions on your tax returns in the past, either because you donated to Con or Bust or donated to support one of the CBS’s other projects, I cannot advise you on what, if any, steps you should take; please consult an appropriate professional.

Finally, I want to assure all donors that 100% of their donations are provided directly to fans of color/non-white fans to help them attend SFF cons. All administrative expenses are donated by me (principally web hosting, domain name, and postage) or the Carl Brandon Society (principally PayPal fees and postage), and everyone who helps with Con or Bust volunteers their time. I’m grateful for, and humbled by, all the support Con or Bust has received over the years, particularly the most recent outpouring of support thanks to John Scalzi’s donation drive, and I will continue to do everything I can to run Con or Bust in a manner worthy of that support.

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donation drive: John Scalzi parody audiobook

As John Scalzi has just announced, if a total of $2,500 is donated to Con or Bust between now and 11:59 p.m. (Eastern) Sunday, August 30, 2015 (here’s a countdown), he will make an audio version of John Scalzi Is Not A Very Popular Author And I Myself Am Quite Popular: How SJWs Always Lie About Our Comparative Popularity Levels, which is a parody of another book that we shall not link to here. John will also match the first $500 in donations.

Update: John’s announced some stretch goals if the drive reaches $10,000; check out the announcement post above. August 29: stretch goal reached! Thank you so much, everyone. I’m more grateful than I can say for the outpouring of support, which will make a huge difference to Con or Bust’s ability to help fans of color attend SFF cons in the coming months. John will be putting the audiobook up at his site in a few minutes; I will be sending acknowledgment emails to donors later today, as I have to head away from the computer for the afternoon. Thank you again!

To donate, click the big yellow-orange button below. You can use either a credit card or a PayPal account; to use a credit card, after you click the button below, click “Continue” on the left side of the screen, above the credit card logos.

The Carl Brandon Society, Con or Bust’s financial agent, is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization, and therefore donations to Con or Bust are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law. All donations will help fans of color/non-white fans attend SFF cons. (Update August 28, 2015: it has been brought to my attention that the CBS’s IRS status may not be current. I am looking into this. Please rest assured that regardless, 100% of all donations go directly to paying the expenses of fans of color who attend SFF cons; all administrative expenses, such as postage, web hosting, and PayPal fees, are donated by me or by the Carl Brandon Society.)

If you can’t donate right now, please consider spreading the word—not only about this donation drive, but about the many upcoming cons to which free memberships are available this very minute! And thanks for your help and support.


free memberships to ConQuesT to be available

Fans of color/non-white fans: during the next period to request assistance, November 15-25, free memberships will be available to ConQuesT, May 27-29, 2016, Kansas City, MO, USA. ConQuesT is an annual science fiction convention held in the Kansas City, Missouri area that is sponsored by the long-running (since 1971) Kansas City Science Fiction and Fantasy Society (KaCSFFS, pronounced kax-fuss). The convention is held to celebrate science fiction, fantasy, and horror “in all its various forms”, but with a nod toward the literary side of these related genres. The Guests of Honor are Nnedi Okorafor, Julie Dillon, Lindsay Ellis, Diane Lacey, and Seanan McGuire. ConQuesT has donated four memberships to Con or Bust.

Many other cons have also donated memberships; for ones in the next several months, the memberships are available first-come, first-served. The ones later in 2016, like ConQuesT, will be available from November 15-25 (and thereafter if unclaimed). Check out the Upcoming Cons page for the full list, or learn how to request assistance. And please spread the word!


Request assistance through Tuesday, August 25

Reminder: Con or Bust will be accepting requests for assistance from fans of color/non-white fans to attend SFF cons through Tuesday, August 25. (Requests must be timestamped on or before 11:59 p.m. Eastern; I may or may not be awake to turn the form off.)

Here’s how to request assistance, and here’s the list of upcoming cons for which specific assistance is available. Please spread the word!


free memberships to Con-Volution available now

Con or Bust is pleased to announce that two free memberships to the following con are available now, first-come first-serve, to fans of color/non-white fans:

Con-Volution, October 2-4, 2015, Burlingame, CA, USA. Con-Volution is an annual 3-day science fiction, fantasy, and media convention featuring guests, performers and vendors from a wide spectrum of the speculative fiction industry and community. This year’s theme is Legion of Fandom and this year’s Guests of Honor are Jackie Kashian (Toastmistress), Brianna Wu, Balogun Ojetade, and Bonnie Burton. The memberships must be claimed by September 14.

Fans of color can also request monetary assistance to attend Con-Volution, or other upcoming SFF cons, through August 25, 2015. Find out more at the Request Assistance page, and please spread the word!


free memberships to NerdCon available now

Fans of color/non-white fans: four free memberships to the following new con are available now: NerdCon: Stories, October 9-10, 2015, Minneapolis, MN, USA. This is a diverse gathering of story tellers. Podcasters, novelists, cartoonists, musicians, poets, and more will gather in Minneapolis for an exceptional celebration.

You can also request monetary assistance to attend NerdCon or other cons, or free memberships to many other cons, during August 15-25. Please check out the Upcoming Cons page for the full list of cons, and the Request Assistance page for more information. Thanks, and please spread the word!


last-minute membership to Sasquan (WorldCon) potentially available

Fans of color/non-white fans: Con or Bust may have available a last-minute transferred membership to Sasquan (August 19-23, 2015, Spokane, WA, USA). Sasquan is the 73rd World Science Fiction Convention (WorldCon). Its guests of honor are Brad Foster, David Gerrold, Vonda N. McIntyre, Tom Smith, and Leslie Turek.

Anyone interested should fill out the form to request only a membership, available through the Request Assistance page, and I will determine whether the membership is still available. Note that this will require registering at the con, as preregistration is closed.

Thanks, and spread the word!


reminder: request many memberships now, all assistance during August 15-25

Reminder to fans of color/non-white fans:

Con or Bust currently has many free memberships available to upcoming cons, first-come first-served. It will also be taking requests for monetary assistance to attend cons, plus free memberships to other cons that are more distant in time, from August 15-25, 2015.

To learn how to request assistance, see the Request Assistance page. For the most up-to-date list of cons to which assistance is available, see the Upcoming Cons page; this is also reproduced behind the “read more” as of today.

Please mark your calendars and spread the word!

Read More →


Assistance to attend Arisia, CON.TXT to be available

Fans of color/non-white fans: assistance to the following new cons will be available during the next request period, August 15-25:

  • Arisia, January 15-18, 2016, Boston, MA, USA. Arisia is New England’s largest and most diverse science fiction and fantasy convention. Its Author Guest of Honor is John Scalzi; its Artist Guest of Honor is Johnna Y. Klukas; and its Fan Guest of Honor is Pablo Miguel Alberto Vazquez III.

    Arisia has donated six memberships and two hotel rooms (double beds, available Friday through Monday) to Con or Bust.

  • CON.TXT, July 29-31, 2016, Arlington, VA, USA. CON.TXT is a media convention with a focus on fanworks; the proposed theme for its tenth anniversary is “Queering the Canon!”

    CON.TXT has donated two memberships to Con or Bust, which must be claimed before May 2016. In addition, all attendees must be 18 or older on July 29, 2016.

To find out how to request these memberships during August 15-25, see the Request Assistance page; or check out the full list of upcoming cons to which assistance is available.