The 2001 Winter Simulation Conference was held shortly after the September 11 attacks in Washington and New York. The impact on attendance was substantial, and placed the conference in a financially difficult situation. The WSC Board and our conference managers worked through this crisis, with a number of resulting changes, including the identification of financial responsibility for the sponsoring organizations.
Board members and others looked to establish a fund for protection against possible future financial difficulties. The fund was started in 2003 when the WSC Board of Directors undertook a fund-raising effort that was without precedent in the history of the conference. At the conclusion of this initial fund-raising effort, the WSC Board of Directors appointed an independent group of five trustees for the fund, who organized themselves during 2003-2004 into the WSC Foundation and developed the WSCF By-Laws and Investment Guidelines. The fund was transferred to the control of the WSCF in June of 2004. To maintain nonprofit status without incurring excessive fund management costs, the bylaws were modified in April 2015 to place the fund within the INFORMS organization.
Over the past ten years, the sponsoring organizations have raised the required reserve funds to guarantee financial viability of the Winter Simulation Conference. In 2008 these organizations signed a joint sponsorship agreement providing for ongoing financial viability of the Winter Simulation Conference. As a consequence, the mission of the WSC Foundation was expanded to provide funds to enhance the Conference, supported by continuing donations to the Foundation.