Higher education expenses are increasing at a rapid pace. Do you need help slowing that down? Having provided scholarships to booksellers since 2002, Binc can help!
As a former recipient, I have a strong connection to the Binc Foundation Higher Education Scholarship Program. I also am proud to say that a few of my (former) employees or their dependents have received a scholarship as well. I returned to grad school after vowing to “never write a paper again” at the end of my undergrad experience. The Foundation scholarship helped ease the pain of writing! I now give back to Binc in appreciation for the help of more than a decade ago. I am recently inspired by a former grant recipient who has generously donated back to Binc.
As an employer, I know that job satisfaction and retention can be improved by offering higher education assistance. Small business owners cannot afford to offer tuition assistance to their booksellers but the Binc Foundation scholarship can help. The program is administered by Scholarship America using a third-party process to evaluate applicants. Selection criteria include financial need, prior academic achievement and leadership. Eligibility includes current bookstore employees/owners and their dependents as well as former Borders Group employees and their dependents. The scholarship can be used for tuition, room & board, supplies or books.
Reading the thank you notes from previous scholarship winners at the committee meetings is enjoyed by the volunteers. It helps to put a personal feel to the help Binc gives. We love to hear that the Binc Foundation Higher Education Scholarship Program has helped. One recent scholarship recipient wrote:
“The past few years I’ve spent in bookselling have literally changed my life. I’m pursuing an MA and MFA in Children’s Literature because of all the books I fell in love with working at Brazos Bookstore! I wouldn’t know the person I want to be without bookselling, and I hope with my degree, and this award’s help, I can bring more fantastic books to our stores.”
– Liz Wright, Brazos Bookstore
Binc’s Scholarship Program opens January 16th
The 2017 Binc Foundation Scholarship program includes $10,000, $5,000 and $3,500 level awards and launches January 16, 2017! Please ensure that you’ve submitted your application by March 6, 2017.
Thanks and good luck!
– Christie Roehl, Binc board Secretary and Program Committee Chair
What a year 2016 was for Binc! When we sat down to think about all the things that we did in 2016 we were blown away by our accomplishments and by the huge amount of support we received from across the book industry!
We invite you to enjoy Part One of our 2016 accomplishments! Part Two is coming soon!
Higher Education Scholarship Program
In 2016, Binc awarded 27 higher education scholarships to bookstore employees, bookstore owners or their dependents for a total of $109,000 in assistance! These scholarships will help booksellers, and their family members, achieve their dreams of becoming doctors, lawyers, authors, career booksellers, teachers and social workers. We couldn’t be more proud of our recipients and love receiving thank you notes from them.
“I honestly can’t say enough how grateful I am for Binc. With the Foundation’s tremendous support, I am able to continue my college education without as much stress on my financial situation as I have in the past. The scholarship means even more to my parents who work so hard as independent bookstore owners.”
– Nicole Hillard, scholarship recipient
You can learn more about our winners here.
The 2017 Higher Education Scholarship Program begins accepting applications on January 16th. Check the scholarship page for more information and to apply.
We Turned 20 years old!
On February 20, 2016 Binc celebrated our 20th anniversary! We have spent the whole year gratefully reflecting on everyone who helped us along the way! From the original group of Borders employees that started the Foundation as a way to help their fellow employees in need, to the board members that worked to forge the transition and created the Book Industry Charitable Foundation, to our current board, staff and supporters. Many people have worked to make sure the original mission of helping booksellers in need will endure.
You can read our 20th anniversary blog post here!
To kick off the 20th anniversary celebration, we worked with our good friends at Shelf Awareness to create a dedicated issue to chronicle the history of The Foundation and to thank our many supporters – old and new. It was an “enlightening” and exciting endeavor for us!
Winter Institute – Denver, CO
Pam and Kit attended ABA’s Winter Institute in sunny Denver. Their time was action-packed from the opening reception held at the iconic Tattered Cover Bookstore to welcoming the Binc Scholarship recipients* to meetings at their Consultation Station.
A highlight was getting to meet the 2016 scholarship recipients. Binc board members, committee members and scholarship recipients come together for dinner on Sunday evening. And of course, the topic most discussed….book recommendations! Unfortunately, a snowstorm kept David Bradley from attending, but now we have a reason to visit the Research Triangle Park area of NC.
As always, the education sessions were informative and useful. The New Localism session outlined the importance of maintaining local business for healthy and sustainable communities. And keynote speaker Kwame Alexander passed a few of his secrets to success – “Always smile and say yes”.
* Binc’s WI Scholarship Winners
Andrea Jones of Galaxy Bookshop in Hardwick, VT
James Crossley of Island Books in Mercer Island, WA
David Bradley of Letters Bookshop in Durham, NC
Veronica Brooks-Sigler of Octavia Books in New Orleans, LA
Christopher Hsiang of Compass Books in San Francisco, CA
First In-person Board of Directors Meeting
Another high point of our 20th year celebration was to gather our board of directors for the first in-person board meeting preceding BEA in Chicago. Our board members are spread across different parts of the country and many had never met in person before. It was so beneficial for everyone to meet face to face and to get to know each other between sessions. Discussing topics that ranged from past accomplishments and successes to creating our strategic road map for future planning and goal setting, the board came away energized about Binc’s future.
We also had cake!
Book Expo America
After our board meeting we were ready to go to Book Expo America. We visited with lots of old friends from across the book industry, on the trade show floor! From publishers to authors to booksellers the book industry mixed and mingled. We also had the chance to meet many new booksellers who were attending BEA for the first time because of the new Chicago location. After the tradeshow floor closed, Binc staff and board members hosted a 20th anniversary “Drinks with Binc” party. We had a great turn out with Binc fans from all facets of the book industry having a great time catching up with friends and colleagues.
For a third time, Binc was the designated charity for the very popular Publishers Group West party! This was PGW’s 40th anniversary party and their guests generously donated almost $1,300 to Binc to help booksellers. The great Mavis Staples and her band put on a tremendous show and had everyone cheering for more!
Kathy Bartson joins Binc as Development Director
Not long after returning from BEA, Binc became a staff of 4. Kathy Bartson joined Binc as Development Director and hit the ground running. Our goal of ensuring the financial security of the Foundation is being achieved everyday as Kathy helps to spread the message of how Binc helps the book industry. Kathy is focused on continuing the Foundation’s work with individuals, publishers, authors and many others toward becoming an industry-sustained organization.
Binc’s First Children’s Institute
Children’s book buyers from across the country met in Orlando in June for the ABA’s Children’s Institute. Binc was please to be included as part of the Consultation Station and was warmly received by the booksellers and authors attending. This conference gave Binc the opportunity to get our message to a new group of booksellers, many of whom have not attended other nation bookseller events, leading to several booksellers in need applying for financial assistance. There is no substitute for talking to bookstore owners and booksellers face to face – wherever they are meeting! You can read a summary blog from Program Committee member Hannah Lee who attended Children’s Institute.
Stay tuned for Part Two of our 2016 Review!
Published with permission from Ingram Content Group. Many thanks to Ingram for their continued support of Binc and our mission to help booksellers across the nation.
Everyone impacts the world through books. Whether it’s the bookstore manager or the librarian who helps a kid select his or her first book, the book publishing industry is supported by people just like you.
When life happens, it’s important to support our peers when times get tough. Book Industry Charitable Foundation (Binc) provides financial assistance to booksellers in need. We recently spoke with Pamela French, Binc’s Executive Director, to find out more about their history and what’s important to them when it comes to helping booksellers in need.
Q: How did the Binc Foundation start?
A: The idea was planted when booksellers on one side of the country were impacted by a natural disaster, and their co-workers wanted to help them. Borders employees and executives set out to create a non-profit organization focused on helping each other.
Over the years, as the Foundation helped more and more booksellers it became a way for all Borders employees to get involved through events, fundraising, and volunteering. After Borders liquidated in 2012, the Foundation expanded to help all booksellers across the nation. We work with supportive partners like Ingram, the American Booksellers Association, and all the regional book associations to let booksellers know Binc is here to help.
This year, the Foundation celebrates 20 years of helping booksellers! More than 7,000 booksellers and their families have received just over $6M in support from Binc.
Q: What’s the importance of helping those in the book industry?
A: People get into the book industry out of a passion and love for reading, writing and sharing ideas. The Binc Foundation safety net strengthens the book industry by allowing book people to continue the work they love.
Q: What’s your history with books and their impact?
A: I’m fortunate to have always had books in my life. From a young age, I remember my parents reading to me and spending time every evening reading their own books. It was a natural path to take when I graduate from college. I answered an ad in a newspaper for a manager-in-training at Waldenbooks in Salt Lake City. I, then, spent the next 23 years on the retail side of the industry with Waldenbooks, Brentano’s, and then Borders.
Q: What has been your most memorable fundraiser?
A: One of the most memorable was a fall fundraising Zombie Apocalypse event that took place on Halloween weekend. The event was held at a brewing company complete with beer tasting and a silent auction. We even had a local dance troupe performed the dance from Thriller! They were dressed as zombie ballerinas and did an outstanding performance. It was very memorable and got a wide range of people involved
Q: What has been Binc’s proudest moment?
A: There are two that really stick out. The first was while I was visiting family in West Virginia. After three years of working to raise awareness about the Binc Foundation across the country, I walked into a bookstore to let them know about Binc. Before I even said a word the bookseller saw my card and the Binc logo and said, “Hey, I know about the Foundation.” It was one of those moments that you work towards and when it happens you know the hard work has paid off because booksellers know they can find help when they face a financial crisis.
Additionally, a dream come true moment happened this year when Ann Patchett enthusiastically agreed to be the inaugural Binc Ambassador. And she brought James Patterson on board as co-ambassador. It all came together this summer, and some days, it still feels like a dream. It’s an indication that the hard work of the volunteers, board members, store owners, and staff has paid off. More booksellers will learn about Binc not only when they need help, but if they want to give help too.
Q: How can someone get involved? What are the different committees someone can join?
A: Anyone interested in helping booksellers can get involved by joining a committee. The committees focus on programs, finance, marketing, and fundraising. We are always looking to expand our expertise within the book industry, and joining one of our committees is a great way to help. Also, if someone is interested in board service I’d love to talk with them. We are currently looking to add a lawyer and a store owner to our board.
And, of course, becoming a donor is another way to get involved and help ensure the Foundation is around for another 20 years.
Q: Last year, you gave 27 students a total of $109,000 in scholarships to fund their education. What’s the power of these scholarships for students?
A: The higher education scholarships give students the freedom to focus on their studies without worrying about where the money will come from to pay tuition or student loans. We have gotten many wonderful thank you notes from recipients saying how Binc’s scholarship has helped them achieve their career goals. Also, we’ve heard from family members about how a scholarship for their dependent helped them remain employed at their bookstore job while sending their child to college.
In one specific situation, a bookseller from Idaho was attending college to become a primary school teacher. Binc was able to assist with his final year of college, giving financial relief to his growing and financially stressed family. Binc’s scholarship helped produce one of the few male primary school teachers in the area, and this former bookseller, is now molding readers of the future and instilling a love of reading and books in children.
Q: What are Binc’s goals for the next five years? How will the organization grow to support our book community?
A: We spent that past four years not only spreading the word that the Foundation is here to help, but also working to determine if there was a longer term need for Binc. Through the number of grant requests, survey feedback, and overall interest we have determined that yes, there is a need for the Foundation’s services.
Our strategic framework for the next five years includes:
- Awareness of and pride in the role Binc plays in helping to create a healthy and diverse bookstore community. Every bookstore and employee across the country knows about Binc and takes personal pride in and ownership of Binc as “my Foundation.”
- Financially sustained by the industry; including publishers, distributors, wholesalers, authors, bookstores, and the public.
- Strong and meaningful partnerships with the industry leaders.
- Build on our program support to continue to meet the needs of the industry.
Want to get involved with Binc like we have? Find out how you can help support booksellers, become a Binc Advocate or strengthen a bookseller’s safety net with a donation.
I attended NEIBA’s Fall Trade Show in Providence, RI September 20th – 22nd. Great author talks, conversations with booksellers, store owners, publishers and distributors were too numerous to mention them all, so here are my top 10:
- Meeting Binc scholarship winners Liz & Russ DeFonce from Moose Maple Books in Saranac Lake, NY. We started talking books, but wandered off into gardening, birds and furniture making. (Check out the gorgeous furniture Russ creates as Bookman Designs)
- Andrea Beaty’s presentation of the many “secrets” hidden in the illustrations to her new book, Ada Twist Scientist. It is like a scavenger hunt for fans of her books!
- Having booksellers, stores and publishers find their names on our giant donor banner. Everyone likes to see their name in print. Getting to thank our donors in person and fill them in on what their donations have accomplished is something we love to do.
- Listening to those not on the list say “Our name should be there.” I was happy to explain all the donation options to ensure that next time around, their name will be listed!
- Seeing our Binc magnets and bookmarks on the table at the HarperCollins booth! I’m not sure who in their group put them out, but THANK YOU!
- Talking to a variety of people about joining our committees and adding their knowledge and enthusiasm to the Foundation. There is a real interest in helping Binc continue to help book people.
- Staying at the Providence Biltmore, a gem of a hotel, built in the 1920’s. The ballroom was an amazing venue for the Awards Dinner!
- Listening Elizabeth Strout after receiving the President’s Award. I am a real fan of Olive Kitteridge and My Name is Lucy Barton.
- Meeting so many great new-to-me authors and adding too many books to my to-be-read pile. In full disclosure; this happens at all of the trade shows, it isn’t unique to NEIBA.
- Enjoying a lovely back road drive down from Boston and visiting An Unlikely Story, Annie’s Book Stop and Ugly Dog Books along the way. Bookstore to bookstore is my favorite way to travel.
Thank You NEIBA!
A big thank you to Steve Fischer, Nan Sorenson and the NEIBA board for including Binc in NEIBA’s fall trade show again this year. I always look forward to the chance we have at the regional shows to address the membership and update booksellers on the state of their Foundation.
Next stop . . . Tacoma!
We know the profit margin on books is slim. Our bookish world is teeming with smart, talented, independent people who could be making twice as much money somewhere else. But we don’t, because there’s something soul-less about selling stuff you don’t care about. We are purveyors of culture, and that’s as glamorous as being a movie star…minus, of course, the ball gowns and limousines.
So what happens when that glamorous but limousine-less bookseller runs into unexpected financial crisis? From, say, catastrophic hospital bills after a necessary procedure, or escaping an abusive domestic situation? If a bookseller has been living paycheck-to-paycheck, as many of us have done, there might not be much savings in the bank to pay that off. They may be forced into a situation where they have no resources to pay the bills and get back on their feet. That’s where Binc can lend a hand.
Binc Helps a Fellow Bookseller
I’ll give an example from one of my early experiences working with Binc. A bookseller (whose identity is known only by two people on staff) missed a few days of work due to a heart attack. Yes, a heart attack. And that bookseller, God bless ‘em, was already back at work a few days later. Between the medical bills and lost income, they were having trouble paying other important bills. Binc was able to step in, get their bills paid, and protect them from further hardship caused by the emergency. I’m proud of this bookseller who soldiered on, and I’m proud of Binc for helping a bookseller pay their bills during a rough spell.
In fact, Binc gave away nearly $55,000 in financial assistance grants in 2015. Binc also gave away over $220,000 in scholarship money for professional development and higher education, some of that for college tuition, and also a number of scholarships to book industry trade events.
No matter our background, there may come a day for any of us when we have to struggle to stay in the business we love. Sometimes a little help is all it takes to sustain a life in books. That’s why I love Binc; it’s the safety net for booksellers.
In our previous blog post, part of Binc’s dedicated issue in Shelf Awareness, our new Diversity Task Force Initiative was introduced. Thanks to the hard work of our Program Committee members, including Query Books founder Ken White, Binc is working to actively support diversity in the book industry. Here is a brief description from Ken on the direction and progress that the committee has made so far.
Binc has helped a variety of booksellers and their families help pay for higher education and provided key scholarship programs to booksellers attend industry events. Andrea Jones, who recently became co-owner of Galaxy Bookshop, Hardwick, Vt., was able to attend Winter Institute 11 in Denver because of “the generous scholarship from Binc,” she said. “During the week in Denver, I learned from other booksellers and industry professionals, but also from the wonderful representatives from Binc. It was really nice to hear that in this very exciting and rewarding world of bookselling, there are people dedicated to working to help others so they can continue to share great books and knowledge, support writers and publishers, support communities in the free exchange of ideas.”
Binc is thrilled to announce its 2016 Higher Education Scholarship winners! This year’s program awarded 27 scholarships, totaling $109,000, to eligible current bookstore employees/owners and their dependents as well as former Borders Group employees and their dependents. There were two (2) $10,000 scholarships, twenty-four (24) $3,500 scholarships, and one (1) $5,000 Karl Pohrt Memorial Scholarship – granted to an independent bookstore employee candidate who has overcome learning adversity or is a non-traditional student. The scholarships can be used for tuition, fees, books, supplies and room and board. Funds may also be used over consecutive years if the student is not able to use the entire award for the 2015-2016 academic year.
Becoming a Binc scholar isn’t easy – but those who have won scholarships in the past have a few things in common.
They want to work hard and invest in their future
Pursuing the career of your dreams through education is one way to invest in yourself and ensure that your job is something you will enjoy for a lifetime. Binc Scholars have pursued careers in tourism and travel management, graphic design and education knowing the fulfillment they will find in their chosen profession.