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Tree Climbers Inc. Determination Letter - March 5, 2013

...for tax exempt status we have determined that you are exempt from Federal income tax under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.  Contributions to you are deductible under section 170 of the Code.  You are also qualified to receive tax deductible bequests, devises, transfers or gifts under section 2055, 2106 or 2522 of the Code.  Because this letter could help resolve any questions regarding your exempt status, you should keep it in your permanent records.

Organizations exempt under section 501(c)(3) of the Code are further classified as either public charities or private foundations.  We determined that you are a public charity under the Code section(s) listed in the heading of this letter.

Please see enclosed Publication 4221-PC, Compliance Guide for 501(c)(3) Public Charities, for some helpful information about your responsibilities as an exempt organization.

EFFECTIVE DATE OF EXEMPTION - APRIL 9, 2012
"Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable...Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals ~Marin Luther King, Jr.
First and foremost, thank you to SwedishJewfish (aka Rebecca) for all of her hard work over this past year.  I know there were times we thought this day would never come, but today we got the best news of our lives!  Now we can move forward with all of our plans and I couldn't have done this without you.  Thank you, my friend.

For anyone not familiar with our story, Tree Climbers was borne out of a guttural cry -
My co-founder wrote, for the very first time, about the sexual abuse she suffered as a child in this diary.

If you read past the headline, you will bear witness to a young woman's strength to speak publicly for the first time about the heinous sexual abuse she suffered as a child.  Rebecca hadn't even told her own parents but put her story out for the world to see.  If you truly read the piece, you will see that the title, as ugly as it is, has very little to do with the content - but rather served as the catalyst for Rebecca to speak out.  

Out of the ugliness, something beautiful is born

Instead of recoiling after sharing something so personal, Rebecca reached out - to this community - to me - and she and I collaborated to put together this tribute diary - "No One Spoke Up For Us": For the children who had no voice and for those finally finding theirs

A group of survivors and survivor supporters began House of Lights - founded by SallyCat

House of LIGHTS (Loving Inspiration, Giving Hope To Survivors). A place for survivors of physical, sexual, psychological, and emotional abuse, assaults, and bullying. A place for the people who support them. A quiet place for all voices to be heard. A safe place where we can learn to educate, support, and protect our children and each other.
And Rebecca and I teamed up to begin setting up Tree Climbers.  
Mission:  

To Support Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse and Child Sexual Exploitation in their recovery and empower them to use their voices to protect other children.

Thanks to generous start-up funds from a fellow Kossack (who wishes to remain anonymous), Rebecca and I were able to attend the Jerry Sandusky trial and chronicled every day from jury selection to verdict and sentencing:

Tree Climbers: In Judges Chambers with Jerry Sandusky
Tree Climbers: Day One of Jerry Sandusky Trial
Tree Climbers: Bearing Witness-The Trial of Jerry Sandusky (Day 2)
Tree Climbers: Bearing Witness-The Trial of Jerry Sandusky (Day 3)
Tree Climbers:  Bearing Witness-The Trial of Jerry Sandusky (Day 4)
Tree Climbers: Bearing Witness-The Trial of Jerry Sandusky (Day 5)
Tree Climbers: Bearing Witness-The Trial of Jerry Sandusky (Day 6)
Tree Climbers: Bearing Witness-The Trial of Jerry Sandusky (Day 7)
Tree Climbers: Bearing Witness-Truth and Justice on a Friday Night
Tree Climbers: Bearing Witness-The Jerry Sandusky Sentencing

Rebecca is currently working on compiling our notes and stories into a book and I have been shopping publishers - all proceeds of this book will go the the charity.

This will be our second book, as we also published a book for the brave young men who testified, who stood up in court and told their truth in front of the world.  Thanks to the contributions of this community, these young men have a copy of this book -
Bearing Witness: Messages of Support from Across the World

We hand delivered them to either the young men themselves or their attorneys.  I had dinner with one of the young men and he told me how much it meant to him - that they had no idea the impact they had, and how grateful they were for all of the messages.  (We even got one to Matt Sandusky through his biological mother.)

We have also published hundred's of stories about child sexual abuse and cover-up:

In Other Cities - Edward Savitz, Philadelphia

In other Universities - University City of Oxford, England

In Other Sports Programs - Bernie Fine, Syracuse University

In The Catholic Church

In The Jewish Population

In The Boy Scouts

In Our Elementary Schools - Miramonte

In Private schools - Horace Mann

In the Olympics

In Professional Baseball

In the Hall of Fame

In Communities by "respected members"

In families

In MY family

A lot has happened over the course of a year - but  there is still more work to be done.   I join with Rebecca in thanking the DailyKos community for allowing us to work here - for allowing us to share our passion.  I have always heard people say that they were called to a profession or that if you do what you love it isn't work.  I never knew what that was until this time last year, when I sat down and, for the first time in my life, knew what I was supposed to be doing.  

As MLK, Jr. said, it has required sacrifice, struggle, suffering, and we have wanted to give up, give in, go back to our "normal" lives at times - but we didn't.  

And today - it has all been worth it.

Originally posted to Roxine on Sat Mar 16, 2013 at 08:21 PM PDT.

Also republished by House of LIGHTS, TreeClimbers, and Inherent Human Rights.

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