Con or Bust’s Annual Report for 2016


In 2016, Con or Bust incorporated as a separate not-for-profit and was granted 501(c)(3) status by the Internal Revenue Service. It provided assistance for people of color/non-white people to attend SFF cons 99 times, through $19,237.00 in monetary assistance and 85 donated memberships and/or sets of donated hotel room nights.


As set forth in Con or Bust’s by-laws, its mission is the charitable and educational purposes of promoting the arts and culture in the form of speculative fiction (science fiction, fantasy, and related genres), by increasing racial diversity in the production of, and audience for, speculative fiction. It widens access to creative industries producing speculative fiction and encourages engagement with speculative fiction among non-white people/people of color, by providing financial and other support to creators, critics, and participants in community and professional events. Specifically, in 2016, Con or Bust carried out this mission by providing assistance to people of color/non-white people to attend speculative fiction (SFF) conventions.


At the start of 2016, Con or Bust was an independent program for which the Carl Brandon Society acted as fiscal agent. In April 2016, Con or Bust incorporated as a New York not-for-profit incorporation, with an inaugural Board of Directors consisting of Zen Cho, Tanya DePass, Kate Nepveu (Secretary/Treasurer), Mark Oshiro (President), and Diana M. Pho. The IRS determined that Con or Bust was tax-exempt under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code shortly thereafter.

Con or Bust raised approximately $13,150 during its annual online auction, through bids, donations added on to winning bids, and non-bid donations received during the auction. It also received donations outside the auction period, thanks in part to adding ways for people to donate: fee-free donations through the PayPal Giving Fund; recurring donations; and participation in the Amazon Smile program. Con or Bust’s total contribution income for 2016 was $18,095.95.

Using this income, Con or Bust provided assistance to people of color/non-white people to attend SFF cons. Specifically:

Both Con or Bust’s income, and the number of times it provided assistance, were the second-highest for a twelve-month period in Con or Bust’s history. (Prior to this report, Con or Bust reported its annual activity after each auction. The above numbers therefore overlap with those reported for May 2015-April 2016.)



Con or Bust’s total 2016 income was $18,096.67. Its total expenditures were $18,555.47. Administrative expenses were 4.5% of Con or Bust’s total expenditures in 2016; more than half of those expenses were one-time costs related to incorporating and filing for federal tax exemption.

Con or Bust ended 2016 with $19,976.86 on hand, of which $7,324.86 was available to pay upcoming administrative expenses and to be committed as monetary assistance in February 2017, the last period during which people could request assistance before the 2017 auction.


Con or Bust, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization incorporated in New York. It is exempt from taxes under Internal Revenue Code section 501(c)(3) and under New York Tax Law Article 9-A and 20 N.Y.C.R.R. section 1-3.4.

Con or Bust uses a cash method of accounting. All contributions are recorded as income in the year received. Contributions are considered unrestricted unless the donor specifies otherwise.

Con or Bust maintains its cash balances at one bank, which is FDIC-insured.

Income and Expenditures

January - December 2016

Balance carried forward from 2015



- Contribution Income [Note 1]


- Interest


Total Income



- Assistance Distributed


- Administrative Expenses

-- PayPal fees


-- Bank fees


-- U.S. Postal Service (P.O. Box)


-- IRS filing fee (501(c)(3) application)


-- New York Department of State filing fees (incorporation)


-- (transfer of domain net from personal account to Con or Bust account)


- Total Administrative Expenses [Note 2]


Total Expenditures




Note 1: All contributions were unrestricted except for:

Note 2: certain expenses related to Con or Bust’s website were not transferred from a personal account to a Con or Bust account in 2016, and therefore do not appear on this expenditure list.

Balance Sheet

As of December 31, 2016


- Bank Accounts

-- Checking


-- Savings


-- PayPal


- Total Bank Accounts


- Other Assets


Total Assets



- Assistance Approved but Not Yet Distributed


- Other Liabilities


Total Liabilities


Assets - Liabilities [Note 3]


Note 3: This category represents funds that will be committed as monetary assistance in February 2017, before the 2017 auction, and funds set aside for upcoming administrative expenses.


In 2016, Con or Bust became a separate corporation, which required multiple changes to its administrative procedures and organizational infrastructure. Con or Bust accomplished these changes while still raising the second-highest amount of contributions, and providing assistance for the second-highest number of times, in its history.

Con or Bust’s goals for 2017 are to continue to improve and formalize its internal administrative procedures; to encourage additional candidates to run for the Board of Directors in early 2018, thereby strengthening and diversifying Con or Bust’s internal governance; and to improve its fundraising efforts in light of ever-increasing demand for monetary assistance.