Some may wonder how does a nonprofit get started. Here is the timeline story of how the Ear Community Organization became a nonprofit organization after beginning as an online support group.
September 2009, Melissa Tumblin’s daughter was born and she couldn’t find the answers she was looking for about why her child was born with Microtia and Atresia.
May 20, 2010, Melissa Tumblin started the
“Microtia and Atresia Support Group” on Facebook to help connect families and to help others in the same situation. She and her daughter also didn’t want to be alone with Microtia and Atresia. This support group quickly became a global support group within the first year.
June 2010, Melissa attends a training course in IEP and 504 Plans to her learn how to help children and their families advocate better who have hearing loss in the school classroom.
June 11, 2011, Melissa Tumblin and her family host the first “Microtia and Atresia Support Group” family picnic for Microtia and Atresia families in Denver, Colorado. After driving around to 13 grocery stores asking for gift cards to be donated to help provide food for this event, Cochlear Americas and Oticon Medical offer to help with this picnic after discovering the help that Melissa and her family were offering to the community.
October 11, 2012, Melissa Tumblin begins working on creating the Ear Community website that would be used as a portal of information to help medical professionals and families with loved ones who have Microtia and Atresia all over the world.
February 12, 2012, the Ear Community website is launched and a press release goes out announcing that the website is the “First to offer support and resources to individuals and families around the world living with Microtia and Atresia and associated syndromes including Hemifacial Microsomia.
During February of 2012, Melissa Tumblin was encouraged by many to start a nonprofit organization for the Microtia and Atresia community.
February 2012 – As a stay at home parent, concerned about the amount of work that may be involved with running a nonprofit organization, Melissa Tumblin reached out to a couple of local 501c3 nonprofit organizations for guidance, in which one offered to take her under their wing and mentor her. This nonprofit organization was called the Broomfield Community Foundation, the city’s community organization in which Melissa lives in in Colorado (Broomfield).
On August 16, 2012, after applying, interviewing, and presenting to the Broomfield Community Foundation, the Foundation agreed to take Melissa and the Ear Community Organization under their wing and grant her 501c3 status through their organization as a fiscal sponsor recipient. Till this day, the Broomfield Community Foundation remains impressed with Melissa’s drive to help Microtia and Atresia families find answers and support about Microtia and Atresia.
During the summer of 2012, Ear Community hosted (7) picnics across the United States, including (2) in Canada.
During the year of 2013, the Ear Community Organization is given the opportunity, through industry relationships that Melissa developed, including Microtia and Atresia donor families, to begin helping children in need of hearing devices obtain donated hearing devices thanks to Cochlear Americas and Oticon Medical believing in Ear Community. The organization was also able to begin accepting donations with 501c3 status, allowing the organization to award college scholarships and begin to provide for operational costs of the organization.
April 2013, Ear Community is given the opportunity to help further education about Microtia and Atresia with the help of Oticon Medical proudly sponsoring the accredited webinar about Microtia and Atresia through AudiologyOnline, on a Parent’s Perspective about Microtia and Atresia. This course continues to remain a helpful educational resource for medical professionals and families of loved ones with Microtia and Atresia.
July 2013, Ear Community is invited to present about Microtia and Atresia at the EAA (Educational Audiology Association) conference.
2014 till present, Ear Community continues to give back to the Microtia and Atresia community, globally, by hosting (6-7) picnic events each summer that bring families together in the same situation. Some abroad Ear Community picnic locations include Denmark, South Africa, Australia, the UK, Spain, and Canada. Ear Community continues donating hearing devices (over 60 hearing devices donated since 2016), awarding college scholarships, and helping with financial assistance toward surgical travel cost reimbursement when funds are available.
April 2015, Melissa Tumblin is asked to sit on the advisory board for :Project MyEar” in hopes of helping with the development of stem cell research for bioengineering ear cartilage.
June 29, 2016, Melissa Tumblin finally believes that she is ready to apply for 501c3 status for Ear Community to become its own entity. Ear Community, Inc. was proudly awarded 501c3 status by the IRS just two months later (August), after applying.
September 2016, Melissa Tumblin presents another webinar that is proudly sponsored by Oticon Medical and offered through AudiologyOnline, helping discuss the struggles about unilateral hearing loss for children, after advocating for her daughter for the past 7 years. This webinar continues to be viewed and was organized in hopes of promoting educational awareness about how hearing loss can affect individuals differently, even if they still have one working ear.
November 9, 2016, in an effort to help promote educational awareness and to help raise public awareness, including stopping the bullying, Melissa Tumblin applies for a National Awareness Day for Microtia and Atresia families. On November 9, 2016, the Ear Community Organization hosts it’s very first National Microtia Awareness Day where families all over the United States, including other countries as well, celebrated our first National Awareness Day together, for Microtia individuals, everywhere.
January 2017, Melissa Tumblin begins working closely with Vanderbilt University Medical Center on the launch one of the first all options Microtia and Atresia clinic.
Here are also a few helpful articles and resources that may be helpful to families who have loved ones born with Microtia and Atresia:
– Our Story article
– Mixed Feelings article
– First National Microtia Awareness Day
– Microtia and Atresia webinar through AudiologyOnline (sponsored by Oticon Medical)
– How to overcome the struggles of pediatric hearing loss through AudiologyOnline (sponsored by Oticon Medical)
The Ear Community Organization is a 501c3 nonprofit organization.
Federal Tax ID#46-0923897