Supporters of the Book Industry Charitable (Binc) Foundation should donate soon to double their donation to Binc’s #MoreThanEver end-of-year campaign, which recently met a match of $8,000 and unlocked another potential $5,000 in matching funds.
Pamela Pescosolido, owner of The Bookloft in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, has offered to make this additional dollar-for-dollar match of up to $5,000; all gifts must be made on or before December 31, 2017. The $8,000 goal in matching funds met last week was furnished by the Binc Board of Directors and one of Binc’s founders.
This year, Binc is encouraging its supporters to make one of their holiday gifts a donation to the #MoreThanEver campaign. When hardship comes during the holiday season, said Binc Executive Director Pam French, it can be especially difficult to manage.
“Financial emergencies take on an added layer of stress when they coincide with the holidays,” French said, “so the organization is glad to be able to relieve some of that stress by removing some of the financial burden.”
Binc recently helped out a bookseller and her spouse, who were victims of a serious car accident that led to significant loss of wages due to the resulting injuries and legal fees. The bookseller was forced to take on a second job to pay bills, and the bookseller’s spouse still isn’t back to work. To help the couple, who have four children, Binc was able to contribute to the family’s rent and utilities. In addition, the organization provided American Express gift cards to pay for presents for the children and to put a holiday meal on the table. The bookseller recipient wrote to Binc with gratitude: “Thank you again... When I told my husband we finally got some help…he started crying... I can’t wait to share with the kids the joy you brought to us.”
Binc was able to assist another bookseller during a time of financial hardship resulting from an illness. The recipient expressed her thanks with a letter: “After hearing my story, Binc generously helped me pay the rent that I was struggling to make due to sickness and a series of events [impacting my] ability to work. Without their grant, I don’t know that I would be able to work towards gaining stability again. I am beyond grateful to them for their help, and am so glad this powerful resource exists for booksellers.”
As it happened, booksellers did need Binc’s help more than ever this year: the organization helped an unprecedented number of booksellers in 2017, surpassing the total number helped in 2016 and 2015 combined. This rise was due to more than two dozen booksellers who required disaster relief following hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria and the wildfires in Northern California, according to Binc. At the moment, the organization is in the process of reaching out to help booksellers in need of assistance due to the wildfires in Southern California.
“This year continues to prove that all the effort put into building awareness and creating partnerships has paid off. Just when we think we’ve caught up, another disaster threatens booksellers. Today, our program manager, Kit Steinaway, began working with two bookstores and their employees for help in recovering from the Thomas Fire in Southern California,” said French. “Kit is in the very early stages of collecting information, but we know that one bookseller has lost their entire home and up to 10 others may need help with bills due to store closures.”
Requests related to natural disasters have come in on top of the typical requests received by the organization, which tend toward covering unmanageable medical expenses, homelessness prevention, and loss of household income. According to French, Binc had budgeted just $15,000 for natural disaster relief this year, but so far, the organization has paid out more than five times that amount in disaster relief funding. Binc has set a year-end campaign goal of $20,000 to shrink the gap between the assistance provided this year and the original budgeted amount.
“Sincerely, we cannot thank the bookseller community enough for their continued support,” French added. “It seems we’ve been asking a lot over these last three months, but the need is there and our goal is to not turn away any bookseller impacted by a disaster.”
The American Booksellers Association recently designated Binc as its featured charity for the 2018 Winter Institute in Memphis next month, a designation that demonstrates a growing recognition of Binc as booksellers’ go-to emergency resource. At the institute, representatives from Binc will host a game called “Heads or Tails,” in which individuals donate to the foundation by buying light-up pins, which give them chances to guess the results of a coin toss and win a $500 AmEx gift card.
Donations can be made to Binc’s #MoreThanEver year-end campaign here. Booksellers in need of emergency assistance can contact Binc at (866) 733-9064 or firstname.lastname@example.org.