January 17, 2023 By Melissa Tumblin
A special thank you to the William, Jeff and Jennifer Gross Family Foundation for it’s amazing support to the Ear Community Organization!
I would like to share about a miracle that recently happened to our Ear Community Organization in December. Many know how much Ear Community means to me, as the Founder, but also to my family and to the Microtia and Aural Atresia community. It has become my calling and my passion since 2010 and has grown from advocating for and helping my own daughter, Ally, to helping thousands of children and adults and their families all over the world who have Microtia and Atresia. As a grassroots nonprofit, we don’t have a lot of funding and I wear all of the hats the large nonprofits wear, but I do not have a staff to help get everything done. Each year, I struggle to keep Ear Community’s doors open, worrying about funding, finding donors and when the year will come that I cannot keep up with everything and will have to go back to work. I have slowly been running out of steam and really beginning to struggle with keeping up with everything that needs to be done, including giving my family the attention they need and deserve. Even my health was beginning to be affected.
At my Maryland picnic last summer, I had a bit of an emotional breakdown feeling completely overwhelmed and not feeling as though I could keep Ear Community going without the help and support I was in need of. Feeling worn down at my event- I fell apart a little. I literally sobbed during my “thank you” to the families and professionals who attended. I said “I don’t know how much longer I can keep doing this”. All of this means so much to me and to so many others – I cannot just stop! So, I kept going. All of the programs our organization has in place are amazing, but over the years have become a tremendous amount of work for one person to manage everything – donating hearing devices, hosting events, awarding scholarships, our national awareness day, our genetics research, the collaborative work I do with other organizations and our legislation), including the paperwork part of the organization = which is an incredible amount of work for one person!
I was really beginning to worry that I couldn’t keep doing all of this, continued to ask for help, any help, anybody! In November, I made up my mind to go back to work. I updated my resume, my LinkedIn profile and my recommendations. I was ready to sadly push Ear Community onto the back burner, promising myself that I would still work on Ally’s Act on the side. I cried so many times because I would never be able to accept stopping or not giving Ear Community the attention in needs because Ear Community is my third child and means so much to so many!
THE POWER OF PRAYER!
I had begun praying in September, that somehow things would hopefully all work out for my family, for Ear Community and for the Microtia and Atresia community. I searched for clarity – thinking I will most-likely need to return to work. Somehow, my prayers must have been heard! Somehow, an amazing family and their foundation found Ear Community and has offered to help! Ear Community was selected as one of the many charity organizations that the The William, Jeff and Jennifer Gross Family Foundation chose to support and donate to. This amazing family and their foundation, a complete Godsend when needed most, graciously donated $200,000.00 to Ear Community during December 2022!!! It is an absolute miracle that I am still processing! The William, Jeff and Jennifer Gross Family Foundation have helped millions of people, causes and organizations around the world, doing amazing things and offering tremendous support where it is needed, helping people and changing lives! This gift will help Ear Community continue and will change even more lives in the Microtia and Atresia community, but most of all this gift has changed my life because I love what I do and thanks to this kindness I can continue doing what I love, but find the help I need to get this all done! I am forever grateful to the Gross family, for this miracle and for my prayers being heard! I am still processing that this help found Ear Community when our organization needed it most – before I thought I would have to stop.
Thanks to this generous contribution from the William, Jeff and Jennifer Gross Family Foundation, Ear Community will be able to find the help it needs to run as a healthy organization, but is mostly proud to establish an additional hearing fund that will allow Ear Community to cover fitting and programming fees for the individuals who need bone anchored hearing devices, but who have been denied the coverage for this fee by their insurance providers. Our organization’s new fitting/programming fee program will begin this month in January of 2023! Audiologists will be able to apply for reimbursement to cover the denied fitting and programming service, helping save their patients some money when giving the gift of hearing. This new program will proudly be called Pax’s Ear Fund.
Ear Community is a leading nonprofit that helps children and adults who are born with the congenital anomaly known as Microtia (missing or underdeveloped ears), Aural Atresia (absent or underdeveloped ear canals, resulting in hearing loss) and Craniofacial Microsomia (slightly crooked smiles due to asymmetry of the jawline).
Thank you again from the bottom of Ear Community’s heart and from the Microtia and Atresia community! Thank you for helping so many people and nonprofits all over the world! Our community and organization will be forever grateful for your support and sincere kindness and generosity! Thank you for helping Ear Community continue to serve the Microtia and Atresia community, helping children and adults without ears and hearing loss!
Founder, Executive Director