Growing Strong: Ear Community Charity Achieves Nonprofit Status…

On Monday, November 26, 2012, the Daily Camera newspaper featured an article on the front page of the ‘Local’ section about Ear Community and how Melissa’s work is helping give back to the community as a global nonprofit organization. 


Growing Strong:  Ear Community Charity Achieves Nonprofit Status

Ally Tumblin, then 2, born without her right ear, plays with her sister Hailey, 5, right, and their mother, Melissa, at their home in March. Melissa Tumblin, the girls mother, started an international support group for the condition Microtia and Atresia from her home.

Three years ago, Melissa Tumblin and her husband had never heard of Microtia and Atresia, the conditions that left their newborn daughter, Ally, with an underdeveloped right ear and ear canal.Today, Broomfield resident Melissa Tumblin has answers. Lots of them. Enough answers to lead the Ear Community, an international support group and information clearinghouse that provides links to research, explains treatment options and provides a forum for families to ask questions and connect.

Ear Community recently hit a significant milestone when it gained nonprofit status with the help of the Broomfield Community Foundation. Ear Community is allowed to act as a 501c3 nonprofit organization under the temporary umbrella of the Broomfield Community Foundation until Ear Community officially gets federal tax ID number.

“I’m so grateful for their help,” said Tumblin, who has been able to get legal and tax guidance from the Foundation in addition to nonprofit status.

Nonprofit status is critical to help raise money for Ear Community’s ongoing education campaigns and future scholarships for families facing huge medical bills. It can take a year or more for organizations to gain nonprofit status, which is why the Broomfield Community Foundation stepped in to help as Tumblin waits for paperwork to be approved.

Karen Smith, the Foundation’s executive director, said the board of directors heard about Tumblin’s work with Ear Community and knew her work deserved support.

“They were impressed with her mission and passion,” she said. “It’s not just about what she wants to do, but what she has already accomplished on her own.”

The past year has been busy for Tumblin, who travels extensively to raise awareness and connect people affected by Microtia and Atresia. The condition can cause deafness or hearing loss, and some people who have the condition have other birth defects that affect the bones in their face.

Tumblin hopes her work with Ear Community can bring her 3-year-old daughter, Ally, closer to a world more rich with sound.

Ally Tumblin, 3, left, who was born without an ear, poses with her mother Melissa and sister Hailey, 5, at their home on Nov. 16, 2012. Melissa Tumblin started Ear Community a nonprofit organization to help children born without ears (called Microtia and Atresia) has been granted a fiscal sponsorship from the Broomfield Community Foundation.

Ally wears a hearing aid on a decorated headband, and also uses a radio hearing device while in school in order to better hear her teacher. She also follows the guidance of her older sister, Hailey.

Tumblin said Ally is finally getting old enough to understand that she hears things differently than other children. She calls her functioning ear her “open ear” and her underdeveloped ear her “closed ear” or “little ear.”

While Tumblin tucked Ally into bed one night, Ally asked her mother a question.

“She asked me to open her other ear,” she said.

Tumblin, who speaks at major industry and physicians’ conferences, said raising her daughter put her in a unique position to help families.

“I can speak from my heart and my experiences,” she said.


Here is the link to the article from the Daily Camera:

About Melissa Tumblin


  1. casbruning says:

    Mellissa, congratulations on the great success of this website and the overall community support group you’ve created. What an amazing resource you’ve provided for thos who need it!

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