As most of you are aware, the Weirdos were granted our 501(c)(3) non-profit status recently. In making sure that all aspects of our organization are protected, we also filed for copyright protection on our logo and trademarking for our name. We are pleased to announce that copyright protection was granted July 25, 2019 and covers our logo back through the first time it was drawn and released in 2018. We are awaiting our trademark registration, but hope to have that granted in the coming months. For more information on copyright, please read on below!
What is copyright?
Copyright is a form of protection grounded in the U.S. Constitution and granted by law for original works of authorship fixed in a tangible medium of expression. Copyright covers both published and unpublished works.
What does copyright protect?
Copyright, a form of intellectual property law, protects original works of authorship including literary, dramatic, musical, and artistic works, such as poetry, novels, movies, songs, computer software, and architecture.
When is my work protected?
Your work is under copyright protection the moment it is created and fixed in a tangible form that it is perceptible either directly or with the aid of a machine or device. (Copyright.gov)
Weirdos- We have something BIG to celebrate!!! On October 18th, 2019, we got official news that the Weirdo Cat Lovers of Cleveland had been approved as a Nonprofit organization, achieving 501(c)3 status. So, you might be asking, what does that mean?
By definition- "Nonprofit means the entity, usually a corporation, is organized for a nonprofit purpose. 501(c)(3) means a nonprofit organization that has been recognized by the IRS as being tax-exempt by virtue of its charitable programs." (Google.com)
The journey to our nonprofit status has been in the works for a little while. Weirdo Cat Lovers of Cleveland started back in 2016. At first, the group mostly got together to share funny cat memes and cute photos of our own cats. Soon, members began sharing their own experiences with health and behavioral issues and would offer advice to one another on how to take on some of those problems. Leadership saw the need for sharing resources for members to turn to for affordable vet care. As membership numbers grew for the group, Leadership now saw that many members not only needed emotional support for some of their cats' health or behavioral problems, but could also use financial help sometimes, too. This lead to Leadership organizing ways to raise emergency funds for members in need of financial assistance. After a few emergency posts, it was apparent that WCLOCLE wasn't just a Facebook group. It was a community of cat lovers who have hearts of gold who do not think twice when they see a member and their cat in need. Donations would come pouring in and in the matter of hours the group had collectively paid an entire vet bill. Although Leadership knew that WCLOCLE had become a charitable organization, we were still unsure about actually applying for official nonprofit status. With persistent, and sometimes not so gentle prodding, Admin Lesley Pontin convinced the Leadership team to go after the dream of becoming official. On April 2, 2019, Leadership filed for 501(c)3 and also filed for WCLOCLE to be an official business. Unfortunately, a few snags were encountered with the filing being done and at the beginning of October we got word that the submission was not properly filed. So, Leadership had to go a different route and filed on our own online. On October 18, 2019, we received that glorious letter telling us we had been approved!!!
Now that we have been officially recognized as 501(c)3, what does that mean for the future of our group? Well, first off, it means we can help even more members and their cats. We can now apply for government grants that could provide us with funds we can use for our members' needs! We are also tax-exempt now, so we can get more with the money we have. We can also set up special wishlists with places like Amazon.
So, as a member of WCLOCLE, what does that mean for you when you decide to send us a donation? Well, it means that your donation to us can be filed in your taxes as a charitable donation! It also means that if your workplace has something set up so that they'll match employee's personal donations, then we qualify! It also means if your workplace will set up your paycheck so you can make donations straight out of your paycheck, we would qualify!
For total transparency, here are all of the things that your donations could be used for: vet services, (this includes anything the vet says is necessary to properly treating the cat- blood work, x-rays, scans, biopsies, surgeries, etc); medications that are given at the vet's office during the visit, or medications that will be taken home to be administered; supplies for members that are in temporary financial crisis and need things like litter, food, or treats for their cats; supplies that are bought off of wishlists for rescues; TNR fees for spay/neuter at the Cleveland APL; sending condolence cards to members who have lost a beloved cat; and helping to cover costs for euthanasia, cremation, and returning ashes to the cat member's family.
It is safe to say that every penny that is donated by each and every lovely WCLOCLE member is important to our cause. We appreciate every 17,929 of you!! Without our amazing members, we could not do what we love- helping the cats!! We hope we continue to make you proud and that you continue to follow along with us on this new leg of our journey! We have so many big ideas and cannot wait to unveil them all to you!
During all the of excitement and celebration on 10/18, I asked the Leadership team to tell me what it personally meant to them to achieve this honorable status. To close, I shall leave you with the comment from Lesley Pontin, WCLOCLE's Senior Admin. Said, as I can only assume in her most regal and British tone, "It's been a long road to here, I joined more than 2 years ago and in that time we have gone from cat memes to actually doing good in the community. After 2 years, this is really the START of the ideas I have."
This past weekend, cat lovers from all over the world descended upon Cleveland for the nation’s largest cat show. The Cat Fanciers’ Association held their International Cat show at the IX Center on October 12th and 13th. The CFA is a non-profit organization that was founded in 1906. It is currently the world’s largest registry of pedigreed cats. The overall mission of the CFA “is preserving and promoting pedigreed breeds of cats while also enhancing the well-being of all cats.” Now, while the subject of breeding may be a source of conflict for some of us, something we CAN get behind is that our mission also centers around promoting the well-being of ALL cats.
The show featured 45 pedigreed breeds, judging in 16 rings, meet and greet celebrity cats, agility contests, the Savitsky Cats, educational talks about the history of cats and their breeds, shopping with cat-themed vendors, and last but most certainly not least, the Adopt-a-thon that went on all day both days. This year, the CFA decided to focus on adoptions. They had several local rescues and shelters attend the show with adoptable cats and kittens for attendees to meet and take home.
I am SO happy to say that the adopt-a-thon was a HUGE success for ALL of the rescues that attended with adoptable cats. I went around to get final numbers from the rescues there and I was blown away by the numbers. The Euclid Beach Cat Project reported a WHOPPING 31 adoptions. The Cleveland APL reported 22 adoptions for the weekend. Kitten Krazy reported 15 adoptions. Forever Friends Foundation reported 12 adoptions. Lucky Paws rescue reported 5 adoptions. Tails From the City had 5 of their 8 cats they brought adopted, but only attended Saturday. House of Mews also reported 5 adoptions and they also only attended on Saturday. Viva Los Gatos had 6 pending applications. Overall, it surely showed that although the CFA was showcasing Pedigreed cats, the average attendee didn’t need a fancy title to go along with their furry friend.
The Weirdo Cat Lovers of Cleveland saw this show as an opportunity to promote our organization and share our own mission with fellow cat fanatics. Myself, Rachel, Mandi, Dawn, and Meredith spent several hours each day of the weekend working at our WCLOCLE booth. We also were in the company of Amber, our group’s graphic designer and web site developer. Christy O. was able to stop by with her beloved Derry as he was there to say hello to attendees at the “Companion Cat” booth. Brandy, Christy W. and Megan were also able to drop in and check out the show and hang out at the booth for awhile as well. We used our time at our booth to introduce ourselves to attendees, give a brief explanation of who the WCLOCLE are, and invite those who didn’t know us to join our group. We also talked about our calendar and how sales of the calendar were to help us build our emergency fund reserve for members in need. We had coloring books for sale to help our TNR fund and we also displayed our WCLOCLE tshirts. Rachel had her awesome homemade catnip toys for sale. We also had homemade jewelry from member Erica which was a crowd favorite. Amber had her irresistible Adcat Designs car window decals and her homemade fleece cat blankets.
For most of us, this was our first ever cat show. To say that I was thrilled to be there would be an understatement. I entered the building just before 10am on Saturday, just before the opening of the show for the weekend. I have never in my life felt more at home than I did as I walked around this cat show. “This is my place; these are my people,” is a sentiment that was echoed by many of us over the weekend. If you love cats as much as I do, I highly recommend that you attend the next CFA cat show. There were endless amounts of cat themed clothes and jewelry, tons of cat toys to bring enrichment home to your kitties, and cat ears as far as the eye could see. And surely enough cats there to pet until your heart’s content. The WCLOCLE leadership is already busy talking about next year’s show and how we will have even more exciting things to share with attendees about the amazing things WCLOCLE accomplished. We hope to see you there in 2020!!!