Fan Funds

Tagged: Community | Fan | Award

Travel funds are a long-established tradition of Fandom, combining elements of Awards, charity (visiting the USA was once financially impossible for a typical UK fan), and cultural exchange programmes. Forrest J Ackerman proposed the Big Pond Fund with the aim of bringing John Carnell from Britain to the 1947 US Worldcon. Owing to difficulties in fundraising, Carnell's trip was delayed until 1949, but the idea had been planted. An almost exclusively US fan initiative sponsored the popular Irish fan Walt Willis to tour America and attend the 1952 Worldcon. His record of extensive US travels appeared in instalments in various fanzines, notably Quandry, and was collected as The Harp Stateside (1957) – one of the acknowledged classics of fan writing.

This one-off Willis fund led directly to the founding of the TransAtlantic Fan Fund (TAFF), which still continues to send European (most often British) fans to North America (most often the USA) and vice versa. TAFF delegates are chosen by popular vote from a slate of candidates; travel expenses come from voting fees, donations, auctions, and sale of special publications such as past winners' trip reports; various such reports, complete or otherwise, may be read or downloaded as ebooks at the unofficial TAFF website [see under links below]. The first TAFF election or "race" was in 1954. TAFF winners with entries in this encyclopedia are: A Vincent Clarke (1954), Kenneth Bulmer (1955), Lee Hoffman (1956), Ron Bennett (1958), Ron Ellik (1961), Terry Carr (1965), Eddie Jones (1969), Peter Weston (1974), David Langford (1980), Rob Hansen (1984) and (jointly) Patrick Nielsen Hayden and Teresa Nielsen Hayden (1985).

The Down Under Fan Fund (DUFF) was launched by John Foyster in 1972 for the exchange of delegates – very much along the pattern of TAFF – between North America and Australasia. This too continues; winners have included William (Bill) Rotsler (1977), Terry Dowling (1988), John D Berry (1989) and Juanita Coulson (2014). The triangle was completed when Christopher Priest instigated the Get Up-and-over Fan Fund. Initially conceived as a one-off to bring an Australian to the 1979 Worldcon in Britain, GUFF has continued with more or less regular exchanges between Europe and Australasia, changing its name to the Going Under Fan Fund for southbound races; winners include Paul Kincaid (1999). Other fan funds have come and gone: current survivors include CUFF, the Canadian Unity Fan Fund established in 1981 for assisted transport within Canada, and the Fan Fund of Australia and New Zealand (FFANZ), operating since 1982 between those countries. [DRL]

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