Monday, May 13, 2013

Trust: a key to building a new nonprofit.

FDAAF CURRENTLY IS A 501(c)3 NONPROFIT THAT YOU CAN VISIT HERE HTTP://FDAAF.ORG or email The points about our humble beginnings however, stand.

I guess we could waited longer. And longer. And then some. I'd be the first person to tell you that I wanted everything to be done before we showed our creation to the world. I wanted our website to be perfect and to not mention a word to anyone until we were all satisfied with what we have agreed on. This was one of my greatest fears- to launch a project that feels half-baked. We only have one chance to impress the world, and there are no do overs in life. Yes, I was hoping things would go faster and smoother. But then I realized, we could have just as well waited and waited forever. There would always be missing no matter how much time has passed. Our passionate team would eventually loose the fire, the spark and eventually move on to other projects. Whatever we have now, at least for the time being has to be good enough. And we'll fix things as we progress. This week we have announced the start of Florida Disability Access and Awareness Foundation to the small group of our Facebook friends and followers. Somehow, the word got out outside of Gainesville and that's when accusations started. I read that FDAAF must be a scam, because the Board member section of our website is not yet finished. If you want to know who people behind FDAAF are just take a look at the Florida's Sunbiz website,  the official listing of corporations where you will not only find our names, but also addresses and the articles of incorporation. It is true that we don't currently have a 501 (c) 3 status- although we are registered as a Florida domestic not for profit corporation. 501(c)3 determinations take often months and cost about $800. It is fairly common practice for new nonprofits to be fiscally sponsored by another entity that already has the status, allowing them to use it for tax deductible fundraising. We are fiscally sponsored by the Jordan Klausner Foundation, a Gainesville disability nonprofit that has been around for over 12 years. For quite some time I served as their Associate Director- If you're interested in JKF's status, please visit the Guidestar website that pulls the information from the IRS registry. JKF also has an amazing history of being started by a UF physics professor in memory of his late son who like I had Cerebral Palsy. Within ours of announcing the launch of FDAAF on Facebook, I was accused of running a scam. That I had to been paying myself and the board outrageous saleries or that I used a "kid in a wheelchair" to drive donations. So far our account collected 0 dollars because nobody gave us any money. Everybody in the foundation is currently on a salary of 0 dollars as well. I guess everybody is always thinking that someone else will make the donation, so they wait and don't make one, but then the other people don't as well. The person in the wheelchair- is me. At 33 I'm hardly a kid. I don't use my image to make money- quite the opposite- I'm not afraid to use my image and the position it  took me years to build as a Florida and DC attorney to stand behind a cause I believe in. I understand that there is some distrust in internet campaigns and nonprofits, many people were burnt, but how can I convince you? Some people really have good intentions, and having a disability myself and being an attorney I think I may be uniquely positioned to try to make a difference. Not everything you see is a scam and many, even established causes suffer today because nobody trusts them enough give them money. But if they won't - who will.  Still, I'm a bit surprised and taken aback by the extent of cynicism I face building this venture.  Some caution is always advised, but I noticed that some people will nitpick and search for conspiracies no matter what happens, and even when they are proven wrong - it's clear that they were not looking to donate anything either way. All I can do is be as transparent as possible.
The following is a collection of articles about me from the Gainesville press This is a video about me from last year when I first talk about then vague idea of starting a nonprofit.  If you're looking to make a donation, please not that as a new structure we really need support. ***

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