At New York Comic Con, David Steward II and Annie Philbrick of the Book Industry Charitable Foundation (Binc) greeted a room full of retailers at the Diamond Comics breakfast with the introduction of The Forge Fund, a renewal of their partnership to support direct market retailers and their employees in times of hardship.
Lion Forge has donated $100,000.00 of seed money to Binc to establish this special fund for comic shops. In addition to this initial investment, going forward, 5% of proceeds from select titles will go to Forge Fund, with this week’s release of the Gail Simone written Catalyst Prime series Seven Days to be the first in the program.
This new fund gives the Foundation the ability to assist those working in the comic book industry who are facing financial emergencies today and in the future.
The Binc Foundation provides confidential financial assistance to comic retailers and booksellers, who have a demonstrated need arising from severe hardship or emergency circumstances. Retailers and their families who are suffering from financial challenges due to illness, death in the family, expenses associated with escaping domestic violence, homelessness prevention, natural disaster recovery and more now have a place to call when help is needed.
News was revealed today that Lion Forge founder David Steward II has been quietly expanding his portfolio over the past year to meet the demands of today’s modern audiences. The goal is to go beyond comics but also television, movies, streaming, and gaming. In early 2018, Steward formed Polarity, a holding company and investment platform and began recruiting a new team of professionals.
The focus is authentic content for a global audience and Polarity has recruited individuals beyond the traditional Hollywood roots.
To form Polarity, Steward sought out talent from the business world to augment the creative talent led by himself and Carl Reed, Chief Creative Officer and co-founder of several companies in the Lion Forge brand family. Polarity oversees operations for the portfolio and pursues new business opportunities to expand the company’s offerings.
David recruited Edward Hamati, Polarity’s President, in early 2018. The two previously worked together at a private equity firm. Hamati also leads the firm’s corporate development activities including mergers and acquisitions and investments.
The core management team includes Shonagh Clements (Chief Legal Officer) and Angie Smith (Chief Financial Officer), well regarded industry professionals and leaders. On the portfolio operations side, the team includes Chip Schafer (VP, B2B services focus) and Rick Johnson (VP, publishing focus).
Polarity is based in St. Louis, MO with an office in Boston, MA.