Tree Toppers everywhere!
Help the club grow and support Free Flying in Sequatchie Valley Forever
Have you heard the news?! The Tennessee Tree Toppers (TTT) is purchasing 5.8 acres on our north property line at the Henson Gap launch from Bryan Burnside, a founding member of the TTT who found Henson Gap originally! Another founding Tree Topper, Honorary Board Member and an old friend of Bryan’s, Mike Nash, stepped forward to offer negotiation assistance as Bryan and the TTT began to express mutual interest. Thanks to his efforts and those of our Board of Directors, we are now moving toward closing.
This purchase will enlarge our footprint on the mountain from four acres to almost ten. It includes what is perhaps the best location anywhere in the vicinity on the ridge to launch anything. We intend to construct a paragliding launch there quickly, answering the need for a TTT owned paragliding site established in our 2015 Bylaws revision. Of course, it will also offer much needed extra event camping area, a potential RV area, and perhaps even a glider shop and storage area. The possibilities are considerable!
As you may know, the TTT’s priority of site ownership is written in our bylaws, so it should be no surprise that we’ve been saving since our inception for the inevitable… and expensive… opportunities that arise from time to time. An LZ within reach of our Whitwell launch has been our priority for decades. Because we will be using part of our Property Acquisition or “Landing Field” Fund for a down payment, it is imperative that we raise funds as quickly as possible to pay our debt and restore our savings.
We are immediately initiating two fundraising campaigns:
1. The TTT 200
The TTT is looking for 200 heroic Tree Toppers to lead the way! The map for Lot No. 2.04, the Burnside property, has been divided into 200 squares and overlaid in a Google Earth KML file. A “location” marker pin has been added at the center of each square. Pins and sections will be “sold” for $1000 each. The TTT 200 contributors will receive a certificate denoting the geographic coordinates of their center pin and the corners of the square they helped the TTT purchase. Their contributions and sections will also be indicated on a monument to be placed on site upon project conclusion.
2. The Local Voodoo Free-Flight Weather Calendar
A fundraising calendar like you may have bought or sold in high school, only more expensive. It will feature fine art in miniature curated from around the world (wide web), seasonally relevant quotations profound and inane, and long-range weather forecasts with a few daily site recommendations. The latter are clearly bunk, preceded by a disclaimer warning against employment for flight planning. That’s why it’s the “Voodoo” calendar. Production cost should
come from advertising. Further proceeds should come from “daily listings,” paid notations for commemoration of anniversaries listed in the calendar’s daily squares, such as birthdays, weddings, and significant flights, among other things. Finally, the product will likely sell at a completely unreasonable price calculated to offer maximum opportunity for displayed proclamation of TTT support.
We have opened two accounts to receive fundraising contributions toward our cause:
1. A local “restricted” savings account with Citizens Tri-County Bank. This account may receive contributions immediately and directly. There are no requirements for deposited funds except their application to the stated goal. The TTT is classified by the IRS as a 501(c)(7) non-taxable organization so, while dedicated contributions to a restricted account for a specific mission-related objective are non taxable to the TTT, they are not tax deductible for the donor.
2. An endowment or “targeted fund” account with the Foundation for Free Flight (FFF). The FFF has graciously offered a matching grant of $25,000 to be awarded upon the successful completion of fundraising and purchase. Their requirements include 3% of deposited contributions and a “sunset” date of 2023, when unused deposits are to be surrendered to the FFF. However, reallocation of unused deposits to projects appropriate to our mission is permitted, so it’s difficult to imagine the latter eventuality. Because the FFF is a 501(c)(3) organization, contributions to this account are both non-taxable for the TTT and tax-deductible for the donor.
Though we certainly do not wish to diminish the immediate need for money, an arguably more critical need at this time is the expertise required to maximize our potential in this endeavor. The Tennessee Tree Toppers’ diversity and willingness to bring a broad range of skills and knowledge to bear for their free-flight club is what has made us strong. Now we need some special Tree Toppers with experience in advertising, marketing, and/or organizational fund-raising to step up and show us how to do it better.
We are excited about the opportunities afforded for new growth and development in the realization of this goal. Please consider offering your strengths and resources, financial and otherwise, toward preserving and improving the unrestricted access to free-flight you love for posterity, for future flying dreams come true, for the benefit of winged humans yet unborn, for FREE FLIGHT FOREVER! Please contact us immediately to volunteer your support and send contributions to:
TTT Free Flight Fund
PO Box 1286
Dunlap, Tennessee 37327
We look forward to working with you as we enter this exciting chapter of making America’s Number 1 Free-Flight Club even better!