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Development fund

After Bill W’s visit to Great Britain in 1950 a number of Big Books were sent to Great Britain. In a letter dated April 22,1952 to the Chairman of the Pre-Foundation Committee, Bill said that he had ‘been glad to forego his own royalties.’ and ‘My principal motive was that a Foundation be established in London and that it be placed in funds through book monies.’ The Foundation became GSO and the GSB. No mention is made of the percentage laid aside for royalties.

The first General Service Conference (1966) finance report stated: ‘Then there was the Royalties Account of about £800.’ This was from the royalties on the sale of the Big Book, to be used at the discretion of the Board for the development of AA.
The money paid for an exploratory meeting in 1965 on a possible General Service Conference and Bob’s (Secretary) attendance at the Toronto Convention. The Fund also helped pay for this first Conference.

At that Conference, Bill H said: ‘one of the purposes of the money from the books was to capitalise the publishing of the Big Book in Britain.’ & ‘Bill W had waived his rights to royalties but asked for them to be used for special purposes and not for ordinary expenditure.’

In the General Service Board minute of March 1972, the royalties reserve is described as ‘a free reserve which is shown separately in the accounts… Any expenditure made from this reserve will require Board authorisation and the movement in the reserve will be notified to the General Service Office in New York annually.’

The Board felt the principle established by Bill W should continue and in March 1994, changed the name of the Royalties Fund to the Development Fund. The fund would receive 8% of the selling price of Alcoholics Anonymous, Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions and As Bill Sees It (Hard copies).

In 1983, the Royalties Fund was used to support the European Service Meeting and the European Information Centre. Over time contributions from the participating Fellowships in Europe made the ESM fully self-supporting and a separate ESM reserve fund created.
The Development Fund then funded the setting up of an AA Service Meeting in Sub Saharan Africa in 2003. This was held in Johannesburg, South Africa every 2 years until 2019 after which it has been online. AA US & Canada co-sponsor this Meeting.

The Development Fund also contributes to the International Literature Fund which supports the translation of AA literature into different languages.