Our mission is to support and engage science fiction and fantasy authors and fans in global philanthropic endeavors.
Waygate Foundation is a federally recognized 501(c)(3) public charity. Its Articles of Incorporation and Bylaws detail its legal structure, which consists primarily of a Board of Directors, Advisory Council, and Officers. It is incorporated in the state of Georgia in the United States. For tax deduction purposes, its EIN is 45-4055474.
Although Waygate Foundation formally incorporated in 2011, the organization’s history begins several years earlier. Waygate’s founding Officers began working together through their efforts at the Executive level of TarValon.Net, a fan-based social club built from ideals presented in the popular fantasy series The Wheel of Time. Since 2006, TarValon.Net has focused on philanthropic efforts, managing drives for various charities and creating a scholarship for college students intending to use their studies to uphold the “Servant of All” principle, as described in The Wheel of Time. In 2009, TarValon.Net hosted a campaign in collaboration with Brandon Sanderson, a fantasy and young adult author responsible for the completion of The Wheel of Time series. The event raised over $45,000 for Heifer International and opened the door to future fundraising activities.
After the success of the Heifer International drive with Mr. Sanderson, it became clear that such philanthropic endeavors represented a strong opportunity for the growth of fan involvement in science fiction and fantasy publishing. However, with TarValon.Net continuing its focus as a social community, it did not have the capacity or resources to coordinate such efforts long-term.
In Spring 2011, Karen Rush (then Karen Campbell) collaborated with the Board of Directors at TarValon.Net to approach key members of Bandersnatch Group, Inc., the copyright owner of The Wheel of Time, to discuss the formation of an organization intended to promote and support philanthropy in science fiction and fantasy communities. This early collaboration effort included Harriet McDougal, first Editorial Director and Executive Editor of TOR books and widow of James Rigney Jr., aka Robert Jordan, author of The Wheel of Time. All agreed that there was a call for such a charity to be formed. And so, Waygate Foundation was born.
While the initial ideas behind Waygate focused on The Wheel of Time series and its fanbase, the founding members of Waygate quickly realized the potential for achieving greater charitable impact if it expanded beyond The Wheel of Time. As a result, Brandon Sanderson joined the founding Board of Directors, and an advisory council was created to engage with representatives from prominent science fiction and fantasy fan communities.
Following the addition of Amanda Keen and Shannan Lieb as Officers and Wilson Grooms, John Hyland, Billy Todd, and Maria Simons to the Board of Directors, Waygate Foundation incorporated as a non-profit corporation in the state of Georgia in the United States in late 2011. Shortly after, it filed for recognition as a tax exempt charitable organization under the United States IRS tax code. We received recognition as a 501(c)(3) public charity in November 2013, retroactive to the date we incorporated.
From our beginnings as a small organization focused on a single book series, Waygate Foundation aims to eventually support charitable components for all forms of entertainment. We are excited to use our resources and expertise to lead the industry of popular fiction into a new business model which considers philanthropic awareness and contributions as an essential component of every campaign.
The Waygate Team
Karen Rush (Campbell) – Executive Director and Chairman of the Board
Karen has been involved in volunteering for most of her life. Her most notable volunteering achievements include earning her Girl Scouts Gold Award, executing a benefit event with a former employer to raise over $3,000 for the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation, and running a half marathon and raising over $4,000 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society through Team in Training. She served as Director of Philanthropy at TarValon.Net, a fan-based social club built from ideals presented in the popular fantasy series The Wheel of Time for two years, during which time she was involved in drives that raised over $10,000 for various charities and organizations. At TarValon.Net she also founded both the Department of Philanthropy and Department of Membership Services, which focused on community building and events.
Karen received a BA from Rutgers University and an MA from UCLA, both in Linguistics. Her professional background is in project management and event planning. She is currently a Development Director for the Madden NFL Franchise at Electronic Arts.
Shannan Lieb – Director of Donor Relations
Shannan’s volunteer work began in 1990 when she joined the student volunteer program at Ohio’s Center of Science & Industry (COSI) in Columbus, Ohio. Over the next seven years she volunteered over 1500 hours teaching visitors about astronomy, biology and the history of technology. She continued philanthropic work as a fund raiser for Junior Achievement beginning in 2000. Her involvement with literary fan communities started with Dragonmount.com in 1998 and continued with TarValon.Net in 2005. She currently serves as the Director of TarValon.Net’s Event’s & Conferences department, and also serves as a staff member for both JordanCon and the Wheel of Time track at Dragon*Con.
Shannan received her Integrated Systems Engineering degree from The Ohio State University in 2000 and works as a Digital Marketing Strategist for a consulting firm in New York City.
Amanda Keen – Director of Operations
Amanda dabbled in volunteer work throughout high school and college. After receiving her BA in History from Clemson University in 2004, she jumped more seriously into volunteer work. She has served in a variety of positions in several non-profit organizations, including several years as the COO at TarValon.Net. She is currently active in four different non-profits, including Waygate Foundation.
Board of Directors
- Harriet McDougal is the widow and editor of James O. Rigney and served as the first Editorial Director and Executive Editor of TOR books.
- Wilson Grooms is a member of the Rigney family and has an extensive volunteer and military background.
- Karen Rush (Campbell) serves as the Executive Director and Chairman of the Board.
- Ben Gundersen applies his skills in digital design and development for philanthropic groups.
- Brandon Sanderson is a fantasy and young adult author who finished The Wheel of Time series.
- Billy Todd is a lawyer currently serving as Vice President of Operations for a defense contractor.
Elected Non-Voting Directors:
- John Hyland is a CPA with a broad background in charities. He provides financial/accounting advice and services to Waygate.
- Maria Simons is the Executive Assistant to Harriet McDougal who worked on the last installments of The Wheel of Time. She serves as Chair of the Advisory Council for Waygate.
Waygate Foundation utilizes an advisory council comprised of representatives from the most influential fan-based organizations in Wheel of Time and other prominent science fiction/fantasy series. This council acts as a conduit to the greater fan community and provides counsel to the Board on current and future philanthropic endeavors.
- Maria Simons (Chair)
- Melissa Craib Dombrowski – TarValon.Net
- Jason Denzel – Dragonmount.com
- Elio Garcia – Westeros.org
- Jennifer Liang – JordanCon
- Mary Morse – Theoryland.com
- Linda Taglieri – 13th Depository
- Josh Walker – 17th Shard
- Bylaws, adopted March 20, 2013.
- Articles of Incorporation
- 501(c)(3) Approval Letter
- 2012-2013 Annual Report
- Code of Ethics (4 April 2014)
- Date of 501(c)(3) tax exempt classification: December 2011
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