RPG Evolution: Meet the RCRF

RPG Creators Relief Fund President Hal Greenberg spoke with me about the importance of the charity's work.


I've worked with the RPG Creators Relief Fund (RCRF) for years, donating the proceeds from 5E Foes: Nightmares Before Christmas and 5E Foes: Armies of the Christmas War to the charity. RCRF President Hal Greenberg took a moment to discuss why, as tax season rolls around in the U.S., you might want to consider donating as well.

Michael Tresca (MT): Tell us a little about you and how you got involved in the RCRF.
Hal Greenberg (HG):
My name is Hal Greenberg and I have been the president of the RCRF since its inception. I have worked in the RPG field since the late 90's and have done freelance work, contract work, art director, creator, designer, and lead on some fantasy anthologies. Some of the companies I have worked for are WizKids, Troll Lord Games, Mystic Eye Games (now Samurai Sheepdog), Bastion Press, Battlefield Press and Thunderhead Games. I have been nominated for a few Ennies and at least one of my books won a Silver award. The RCRF came about when I noticed a lot of people on Facebook reaching out for assistance. I thought it was a pity that some people, if they have a loss early in the month, may get more than someone who has a loss at the end of the month due to mortgages and rent being owed. I asked if anyone knew of a charity that would give out monies to those in need in our industry that I could donate to. Everyone said no, a few said "why don't you start one?" and I replied "I have no idea how to make one!" Then Steven Long and Rachel Ventura stated they would help and boom the RCRF was created. So I got involved by asking a question.

MT: What is the RCRF and how does it work?
RCRF is a 501 c 3 charity that is specifically for RPG creators (writers, editors, artists, cartographers, and some others who work in the RPG arena) to come to in an emergency situation to seek financial assistance. We are not here because work is slow or no one is hiring, we are here for medical, weather disasters etc. People donate money, percentage of sales from DTRPG or entire bundles to us (which we are so very grateful) and with that money we can give out money to those who apply and meet the qualifications. We have an application panel made up of writers, editors, artists and cartographers in the industry who review each application and see if it meets the qualifications and how much to give. They are separate for the board of directors to make it truly impartial, and if anyone knows a person they will announce it to the panel so no bias is ever given. Once a decision is made, the heroic Connor Bates, our treasurer, will reach out and inform the requester of the decision and send monies if approved. Please note that everyone is a volunteer so the only money that is spent by the charity on the charity is the cost of doing business, and rest is all available to be donated to those in need.

MT: With tax season coming up, how can gamers contribute?
You can make a one time or ongoing tax deductible donation via paypal. You can also give by purchasing the Pay What You Want Drive Thru RPG item.

MT: Have you seen an uptick in RCRF requests?
Over the years we have seen ups (covid) and downs, I think the biggest issue for us to get more eyes on us is that we need more donors and need more creators that we are here to assist more people, so our issue is knowledge of the charity. People do not know we exist, We are hoping to get more eyes on our charity so we can bring in more money and then give out more money.

MT: What's the most typical reason creators request a grant?
Medical emergencies. One of the reasons we started RCRF is most, if not all, people who work in this field do not have health insurance. A little issue that becomes a medium or large issue is crushing for someone who has no health insurance.

MT: It's a well-known problem that healthcare is lacking in the creative industries. What can we do to help creators avoid a financial crisis?
Donate to us and let any creators who may be having medical issues apply to us. If you know a way to get people in this industry health insurance, reach out to us and we can work on an article to distribute and get eyes on it to assist more people who do not have or cannot afford health insurance.

MT: What's next for the RCRF?
Handing out more money to those in need: We have yet to be a charity recipient at any conventions that donate money, we have yet to be asked to come out to any conventions as a guest of honor and speak to people about us. I think just getting us more well known and recognized in the RPG field is next.

MT: Where can we find RCRF online?
We accept Paypal donations and DriveThruRPG donations. You can find us at RCRFCharity.org and on social media on Facebook and X/Twitter.
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Michael Tresca

Michael Tresca

Dire Bare

Working as a full-time artist is tough, and lack of health insurance is one of the biggest hurdles. In addition to plenty of RPG creatives over the years needing help with medical bills, I've also seen plenty of novelists in similar situations as they get older.

I'm glad this charity exists and that @talien is shining some light on the RCRF here on ENWorld.

However, if you are considering becoming an RPG designer, writer, or other artist (or already are) . . . I would strongly recommend keeping it as your side-gig rather than as full-time employment unless you are lucky enough to find a level of success that can support you full-time . . . WITH HEALTH INSURANCE. Don't skip health insurance, and don't skip saving/investing for retirement. It's easy enough to put off these "benefits" when you are younger and in relatively good health, but as you get older . . . there's a good chance you'll regret not having insurance or retirement savings.

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