A Grassroots Creation Care Organization

We founded the non-profit Dervaes Institute in 2006 to support and expand the earth stewardship outreach activities of Path to Freedom.  Through Path to Freedom, with the financial support of the Dervaes Institute, we seek to inspire others to live simpler, ecologically sustainable, self-sufficient lives. Since 2001, we have sought to help others through the website and various outreach activities.  Visitors to the site find freely-offered advice, examples, ideas, and tips based on our years of experience as homesteaders; they can also make contacts with others who are striving to live sustainably.

Our public outreach activities have included the design, printing, and distribution of brochures, presentation materials, and displays; participation in conferences and festivals; distribution of educational, “do-it-yourself” materials; presentations at schools and community groups; and screenings of eco-documentaries.

Cost Increases: Why We Need Your Support

From 1999 to 2006, outreach expenses were funded out-of-pocket by us. The sole exceptions were donations received at events we hosted on th urban homestead starting in 2004, but these funds often covered only the cost of promotional expenses, time, licensing fees, and honoraria for visiting presenters.

In addition to outreach costs, the growth of the Path to Freedom website and the subsequent increase of bandwidth use have led to major cost increases. Over the years, we have absorbed the dramatically increased transfer fees for the more expensive webhosting plans required to handle the number of visitors the site now receives. The Path to Freedom website currently uses a dedicated server. The hosting costs of our websites combined amount to more than $3,000 a year.

Dervaes Institute: Tax Exempt Corporation Sole 508(c)(1)(A)

No longer able to fund the website and outreach activities on our own, we decided to forge a ‘separate path’ to secure financial support for our outreach work. Dervaes Institute, established August 18, 2006, is an earth-care ministry and a California Corporation Sole under California Corporations Code Section 10000-10015 and is tax exempt under IRS Code § 508(c)(1)(A). On October 30, 2010, it submitted IRS form 1023 in order to receive its determination letter as a private foundation under IRS Code § 501(c)(3).

What does this mean? In short, it means your donations for Path to Freedom’s outreach activities, which include the website, events, displays, and brochures, are tax-deductible through the Dervaes Institute. Donations go into a separate account that is subject to review according to the jurisdiction and laws of the State of California Corporations Sole Code, 508(c)(1)(A).

Family or Nonprofit Organization?

We have often been asked why we chose not to make Path to Freedom a full-fledged nonprofit organization. While it is possible we could have achieved more as a 501(3)(c) nonprofit organization, doing so would have entailed the involvement of a governing board and substantial outside resources. We didn’t want our impact through Path to Freedom to be dependent on grants, memberships, tours, or the ‘lecture circuit,’ as these activities would detract from the significant time and effort required to operate a viable urban homestead.

Ultimately, we decided that we wanted Path to Freedom to be a true example of a single, ordinary family living a self-sufficient, sustainable life through the toil of their hands and the innovation of their minds. Although we have expanded our outreach activities through the years, we have retained this independent, ‘down-home’ spirit. Path to Freedom is our family’s journey—the journey of a lifetime—and we want it to stand on its own.

Looking Ahead

We strongly believe that our work through Path to Freedom, and now Dervaes Institute, is a way of life with a mission of earth stewardship. We strive to live by example. Our community outreach is the natural extension of our belief that we should care for the earth and all its resources and inhabitants. We thank you very much for your support!