Otakorp, the parent company of Otakon, has sent out a newsletter which conveys rather dire circumstances for the future of the convention. In it, Otakorp President Brooke Zerrlaut states that they will need to “make a decision to continue planning for Otakon 2021, or potentially close our doors forever.” The convention is seeking donations to help strengthen its finances.
The full text of the message is as follows. (Emphasis is theirs.)
A Message from the President
As much as we hope you love coming to Otakon, we love making it happen even more. We were devastated to have to cancel Otakon 2020. In a year where so much was going wrong, we held onto every chance to do something positive, but were ultimately unable to do so due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As we turn the page on 2020, we’re hopeful and looking forward to a better 2021.
Now, more than ever, Otakorp needs your help.
As you may be aware, Otakon is the annual convention of Otakorp, Inc. Otakorp is an all-volunteer run, nonprofit 501(c)(3) educational organization, whose mission is to promote the appreciation of Asian culture and its fandom, primarily through its media (anime, manga, music, movies, video games, etc.). As a volunteer organization, every dollar that we make from our memberships goes towards realizing that mission to promote and celebrate Asian culture, and our largest event is our annual meeting – Otakon. We use the proceeds from each year to plan the next Otakon and make sure we survive until then. So without the income from Otakon 2020, and the early pre-registrations we would normally see at this time of year, we are in a very precarious position. Put simply, in the next few months we will have to make a decision to continue planning for Otakon 2021, or potentially close our doors forever.
We are hopeful. Our decision will come at a pivotal time during the rollout of the vaccine. We continue to work with our partners in DC to explore options to safely gather later this year. In the meantime, family, friendship, and community are more important than ever to stay connected. Because of this, it is even more crucial that we do not fail in our mission.
That is why we are reaching out for the first time ever, and asking you to help us continue our work together. Otakon and Otakorp have always existed because of you, the community that has funded, advocated, volunteered, and celebrated with us since the beginning. We recognize that this comes at a time when we all continue to face great challenges. Your generosity will enable us to survive to continue planning for our next events, just as soon as it is safe to do so.
Making a 100% tax-deductible donation, large or small, is the safest, simplest, and most effective way to support our organization and Otakon as we adapt to ever-changing circumstances due to COVID-19.
We have shared so many experiences over the years and we hope to be able to share many more. It is because of you that we continue to strive to live up to our motto – By fans, for fans.
President, Otakorp, Inc.
Most conventions have cancelled in the last year with many of them needing to wait for the government to prohibit conventions from taking place in order for the convention to take advantage of a “force majeure” clause in contracts. This clause allows the convention to be cancelled without cancellation fees or penalties. In the event the government hasn’t prohibited conventions from taking place during the pandemic, this would force a convention to either cancel (paying large cancellation fees) or take place (potentially putting people at risk and having reduced attendance). It’s a difficult position that may affect more conventions going forward.