“Survive to Thrive” Applications Open April 19

Binc announces application period, introduces reviewers for Survive to Thrive grant program

The Book Industry Charitable (Binc) Foundation announced today that applications for the Survive to Thrive grant program will be accepted beginning, today, April 19 and ending May 10 at 5pm Eastern. Fundraising for the grant program, which is designed to provide substantial grants to as many as 200 independent bookstores and comic shops, is still underway with a campaign goal of $2 million by the end of May. Grants will be awarded to the selected stores in early June.

Long-time friend of the Foundation Judey Kalchik will manage the application process, working with a team of highly knowledgeable, independent reviewers, who love bookstores and comic shops and understand the ins-and-outs of the business. The reviewers are: Fletcher Chu-Fong, Nicole Magistro, Erica Rodriguez Merrell, Michael Tucker, and Lori Tucker-Sullivan.

The grant program is open to brick-and-mortar bookstores and comics shops in the United States and U.S. territories that can demonstrate economic harm due to the pandemic and a solid recovery plan moving forward. The goal is to help stores that have found ways to continue meeting their communities’ needs and that are overcoming the burdens created by the pandemic, helping them to thrive.

“Independent bookstores and local comic shops are always adapting to changing community interests and needs. Throughout the pandemic, we have seen stores introduce creative ways to continue operating safely, jumping into online sales and virtual events almost overnight, offering home delivery and new subscription options and many other ways of staying connected to their customers and community,” said Binc’s Executive Director Pamela French. “We have made the application as streamlined as possible. I encourage stores to apply.”

Stores can apply at: https://binc.smapply.io/

With $2 million, Survive to Thrive could make grants of up to $10,000 to 200 independent bookstores and comic shops. Grants will be made via a juried review process that considers stores’ financial stability prior to the pandemic, the negative financial impacts due to the pandemic, and their plans for recovery with the granted funds. The program’s goal is to support the long-term retention of local bookstores and comic shops, amplifying the many benefits stores provide to the communities they serve. The reviewers will not know any identifying data including the names or locations of the stores whose applications they are reviewing.

The Survive to Thrive grant application process is being managed by Judey Kalchik. Judey started her bookselling career in 1987 as a part-time bookseller at Waldenbooks in West Mifflin, PA. For the next 24 years she held many jobs with Waldenbooks and Borders including events coordinator, training store manager, Mother Goose, and senior manager of store operations. When she left Borders in 2010, she stayed connected to books and bookselling through her Facebook page Things I Know About Bookselling, volunteering at Binc, and just 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/events executive with over 20 years of experience in the comics publishing field, working with event organizers and retailers. He has been responsible for DC Comics’ overall booth and panel presence at conventions and trade shows across North America for much of the last two decades. Before his career in publishing, he was a comic & hobby store owner. Fletcher has a deep passion for comics and reading, and is a huge fan of the Legion of Super-Heroes!

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 was the recipient of the ABA’s Entrepreneurial Excellence Award, WNBA’s Pannell Award and a James Patterson indie bookseller grant. Magistro 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 publisher 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 beyond compare. A bookseller for nearly twenty years, she had the extraordinary honor of co-owning Florida’s only Feminist Bookstore, Wild Iris Books for nearly a decade. She currently works as the Finance Director for Peaceful Paths, a domestic violence network which 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 singing, dancing, 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 newest of which opened in February 2008. He started in the book trade with Bookpeople in Berkeley in 1970. He has served as a member of ABA’s Bookseller Advisory Council, the Education Task Force and Digital Task Force. Michael was a member of the ABA Board of Directors from 2005 – 2011 and served as vice president/secretary and then as president from 2009 – 2011. Michael retired in 2019 and continues to serve on the Books Inc. Board of Directors.

Lori Tucker-Sullivan currently serves as the Program Director for the Detroit location of the Goldman-Sachs 10000 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, publishing, and teaching at the college level. Lori is also a published writer, with essays appearing in several literary journals and magazines. Her book, I Can’t Remember If I Cried: Rock Widows on Life, Love and Legacy will be published by BMG Books in 2022. She served seven years as Binc Board President, and then a final year as immediate past president before rotating off the Board at the end of 2020.

“Thank you to all of the reviewers for sharing their time and expertise for this fast-tracked review process,” Binc’s French said. “They will be reviewing a lot of information, but the process couldn’t be in better hands.”

The Survive to Thrive fundraising campaign has raised more than $1 million to date. Every dollar raised means more funds to support bookstores and comic shops across the country. Survive to Thrive is seeking authors and comics creators to help build a pool of matching funds for the next stage in the campaign. Learn more at: https://www.bincfoundation.org/garth-stein-invites-authors-creators-to-join-match-for-bincs-survive-to-thrive-campaign/

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