We’re a 501(c)(3)! We’re a 501(c)(3)!

CREEC Civil Rights Education and Enforcement Center

Guess what, everyone?  You get to donate to CREEC now!  We’re a real, live, bona fideee* non-profit!  The tax gnomes at the IRS finished their 16-month pondering process and sent us our 501(c)(3) letter late last month.

If you’re all ready to donate, you can skip the rest of the post and donate here. Initial donations will be matched up to $100,000. Thanks!

Also!  Save the date!  CREEC’s first event will be on Thursday, November 13.  (Time and location TBA.)

Our new status as a 501(c)(3) means that in addition to wowing you with our litigation efforts, enlightening you with our educational materials, intriguing you with our investigations, and entertaining you with our blog, we can now ask you for money! Aren’t you thrilled?!

While you take out your scientific notation calculator to figure out how to write a check with that many zeros,** let me take you on a quick tour of what we’ve accomplished and what we’re working on a year after we launched:

  • In collaboration with the Colorado Association of the Deaf and the Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition, we launched the Medical Communications Access Project to investigate the availability of effective communication in doctors’ offices, hospitals and other medical settings.
  • We are in negotiations with three cities in Colorado and California — and investigating others — to ensure sufficient curb ramps so that people who use wheelchairs can get around the city.
  • In collaboration with the Civil Rights Clinic at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law, we filed a class action lawsuit challenging the lack of outdoor exercise provided to inmates at the Colorado State Penitentiary.
  • We are investigating and negotiating with a number of major universities concerning captioning of online content.
  • We have successfully wrapped up a number of F&R cases, including settling the 12-year-long Taco Bell litigation, with an injunction to ensure that the access remedies Taco Bell put in place in response to our litigation will be maintained going forward.
  • We are also actively promoting the educational side of our new venture with speaking and teaching engagements at the ACLU’s National Prison Project, National Disability Rights Network, The Southwest Independence Center, CCDC’s advanced advocacy training program, and other programs addressing fair housing, discrimination testing, and other subjects we love.

We have a Board of Directors consisting of three civil rights luminaries: Bill Lann Lee; Donna Hilton; and Mari Newman. And we have added three staff members: Staff Attorney Sarah Morris, Communications Coordinator/Paralegal Sophie Breene, and Investigation Coordinator/Paralegal Marissa McGarry.

In the coming year, we are hoping to hire an additional Staff Attorney, to upgrade the technology in our education program from PowerPoint to animation and other more engaging media, and to expand our investigation program to test, report on and — if necessary — sue to challenge discrimination in housing, public accommodations, and interactions with police and prisons.

To help us launch our very first fundraising effort, we’ve received an anonymous matching donation of $100,000: all donations up to that amount will be matched dollar for dollar. Please consider a donation — one time or recurring. You can donate through our website or by sending a check to:

Civil Rights Education and Enforcement Center
Attn: Sophie Breene
104 Broadway, Suite 400
Denver, CO 80203

Thank you very much and we hope to see you on November 13 for our fundraiser!

*****

* Any “O Brother” fans?

** Presumably on the left side of the decimal point, but anything helps!