As the comic book industry went into shutdown and lockdown in 2020, with many stores unable to open, and sellable product being reduced, the comic book industry rallied around Binc, the Book Industry Charitable Foundation, became the focal point to help support American comic book retailers in trouble. And from all manner of disparate sources and rallies, with even opponents changing their minds, they raised and distributed a lot, to those in need.
Binc's Executive Director Pamela French stated "In 2020, Binc distributed $2.9 million to help more than 2,200 bookstores, comic shops and individual store owners and employees. In 8 weeks beginning in late March 2020, Binc distributed more aid than in the prior 8 years combined. We were able to do this thanks to the generosity and commitment of donors throughout the book and comics communities – publishers, comics creators, authors, retailers, readers and more."
Now BINC is opening an application window for a second wave of grants, available to comic book stores.
Eligible comic book stores must have a physical storefront and address located in the US, US territories, or Canada. They must demonstrate that in any 30-day period from April 1st to September 1st 2020, the business lost at least 50% of sales and/or net income as compared to the same period in 2019 due to the Covid-19 public health emergency and – controversially for some – maintains an active Diamond Comic Distributors comic book shop account, and ordered on average more than than 100 different comic books and graphic novels from Diamond for each month of 2019.
Additionally, applications will be also be accepted from the 3rd of March through to thr 15th of April for the Binc Foundation's annual higher education scholarship program. The 2021 scholarship program supports bookstore and comic book shop owners and employees, and former Borders Group employees by helping their dependents, spouses, and partners pursue their higher education goals. Binc will again this year award seven $3,500 scholarships to the dependents of bookstore and comic shop employees and one Karl Pohrt Tribute Scholarship award of $5,000 will be granted to an independent bookstore or comic book shop employee who has overcome a learning adversity or is a nontraditional student. Scholarships are offered for full or part-time study at an accredited institution of the student's choice.
Binc Executive Director Pamela French commented, "We are proud to support booksellers and comic shop people investing in their families' futures through Binc's higher education scholarship program. After a difficult year, we are more than ever looking forward to helping students achieve their higher education goals and dreams. I encourage all booksellers and comic shop employees and owners with children, spouses, or partners who are pursuing higher education this year to apply for a scholarship."