Alcor Conference – Alcor Board of Directors Panel

[Alcor Conference – Table of Contents]

Stephen Van Sickle, Ralph Merkle, Michael R. Seidl, and Brian Wowk of the Alcor Board of Directors answered questions from the audience for the last session of the day. The Board addressed questions about the current state of Alcor finances. Alcor is financially stable, with the following sources of income:

  • 1/3 membership dues
  • 1/3 bequests and estates
  • 1/3 grants and donations

At the current number of members (approximately 800) Alcor cannot support all the efforts it needs to support. Employees must wear many hats to cover all the administrative and technical tasks required. Better fund-raising was a popular suggestion for improvement by Board members.

“Alcor will aways muddle through,” said Van Sickle, stressing that this was both a strength and a weakness.

Maintenance costs are expected to remain stable over the next few decades, but operations costs are generally less stable. With more members, Alcor could see economies of scale, but exactly how does Alcor gain new membership? Rudi Hoffman, a certified estate planner who helps people secure the necessary level of life insurance to cover the Alcor fees, suggested using the Internet and mapping, with their permission, local Alcor members so that prospective members can contact them for more information.

Alcor does not intend to open up voting for choosing directors to the membership (this in response to a member question submitted to the conference emcee Susan Fonseca-Klein.)

Van Sickle briefly discussed a wealth preservation trust that would better protect a member’s estate upon their death. Alcor’s lawyers are trying to develop this type of arrangement, but it may take many years before it becomes available as an option.


A minor few members were relatively emotional about the statement regarding membership voting for directors. Otherwise, it appears (from a show of hands) that most members are happy with the board and how the board continues to choose its own members.

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Richard Leis

Richard Leis is a fiction writer and poet, with his first published poem forthcoming later in 2017 from Impossible Archetype. His essays about fairy tales and technology have been published on Tiny Donkey. Richard is also the Downlink Lead for the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) team at the University of Arizona. He monitors images of the Martian surface taken by the HiRISE camera located on board the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter in orbit around Mars and helps ensure they process successfully and are validated for quick release to the science community and public. Once upon a time, Richard wrote and edited the science and technology news and commentary website Frontier Channel, hosted the RADIO Frontier Channel podcast, and organized transhumanist clubs. Follow Richard on his website (, on Goodreads (richardleis), his (@richardleis), Twitter (@richardleisjr), and Facebook (richardleisjr).

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