Two years ago during ICANN63, the ICANN Board approved an eight-year plan to replenish the ICANN Reserve Fund to an amount equal to one year of operating expenses as the minimum target level of the Reserve Fund. Last month, for the first time in ICANN’s history, the Reserve Fund reached the funds required for 12 months of operating expenses.
This achievement is a result of Board-directed replenishment actions, which included allocating USD 36 million from auction proceeds in 2018, USD 11 million of excess funds, and USD 13 million from reinvested gains. This milestone, realized five and a half years earlier than anticipated, was only possible thanks to the Board’s leadership, the org’s implementation, and the community’s ongoing support.
Established in 2007, the ICANN Reserve Fund is crucial to ensuring ICANN’s long-term financial accountability, stability, and sustainability. Since its creation, any operational surpluses or investment returns have been allocated to the Reserve Fund.
From 2014 to 2018, the Board approved several withdrawals from the Reserve Fund to cover the exceptional expenses incurred during the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) stewardship transition. Following the completion of the transition, the ICANN Board established a working group, supported by ICANN org, which resulted in an updated rationale and target level for the Reserve Fund. The final replenishment strategy directed ICANN to allocate USD 32 million over a period of seven to eight years, and allocated to the fund USD 36 million from the proceeds that ICANN holds from the New Generic Top-Level Domain (gTLD) Program auctions of last resort.
The Board and org thank the community for its continued support as ICANN org works to strengthen ICANN’s financial stability and sustainability.
While it’s important to celebrate this milestone, it’s equally important that we remain steady and consistent in further growing the Reserve Fund. As the events of the past few months have demonstrated, circumstances can change quickly, and new risks can emerge overnight. Having appropriate reserves ensures that ICANN is ready to face unforeseen circumstances. ICANN org is committed to working closely with the Board and community to responsibly grow the Reserve Fund to better prepare for whatever challenges lie ahead.