Fan funds were first created as a way to build closer ties between fans who lived great distances apart at a time when most communication was through fanzines, letter columns, and mail. The first fan fund is believed to have been the Big Pond Fund, created by Forrest J Ackerman in 1947 to bring Ted Carnell from the UK to Worldcon in Philadelphia (Philcon). Sufficient funds were not raised.
The first successful fan fund was WAW With the Crew ’52, which was designed to bring Irish fan Walt A. Willis (WAW) to TASFIC in 1952. The fund, spearheaded by Shelby Vick, raised enough to pay for Willis’ trip that not only included TASFIC, but also trips to Los Angeles, the Okefenokee Swamp, and New York. Willis gave a speech at TASFIC and later wrote about his adventures in The Harp Stateside.
Fan funds are now an established part of fandom, with several annual funds helping unite fans from around the globe. Traditionally, the TransAtlantic Fan Fund (TAFF) and the Down Under Fan Fund (DUFF) are used to bring fans from either Europe or Oceania to the US for Worldcons (or vice versa). The funds run each year, reversing direction. If no Worldcon is being held on the destination continent for the year, the traveling fan will attend the appropriate national convention(s).
TransAtlantic Fan Fund
More information about TAFF, including past winners, can be found at the TransAtlantic Fan Fund Unofficial Home. Due to COVID-19, a TAFF race will not be held in 2021 and the winner of the 2022 TAFF race will travel from Europe to the US to attend Chicon 8. The current TAFF administrators are Geri Sullivan (US) and Johan Anglemark (Sweden).
|1952||TASFIC||Walt A. Willis (WAW with Crew ’52 Fund)|
|1962||Chicon III||Ethel Lindsay|
|1962||Chicon III||Walt A. Willis (Tenth Anniversary Willis Fund)|
|1982||Chicon IV||Kevin Smith|
|1991||Chicon V||Pam Wells|
|2000||Chicon 2000||Sue Mason|
|2012||Chicon 7||(eastbough race: Jacq Monahan)|
Down Under Fan Fund
|1982||Chicon IV||Peter Toluzzi|
|1991||Chicon V||(southbound race: Art Widner)|
|2000||Chicon 2000||Cathy Cupitt|
|2012||Chicon 7||(southbound race: Hold Over Funds)|