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Cartoon image of a woman blowing a whistle

TOTTM, Inc. (“TOTTM,” pronounced like ‘totem’) began as an idea for a book by president and chair Joel Warne, who was a former U.S. Department of State employee-turned whistleblower. Books are fixed ideas while organizations are dynamic—able to flex and bend with time and circumstance. The goal was to create a platform for providing on-going advocacy to whistleblowers.

Thus, on June 19, 2018, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office issued a trademark for the plain-text mark: ‘The Origin of Things That Matter.’ The trademark was issued under the international and U.S. industry codes for public advocacy, with the specific of goal of ‘advocating for whistleblowers (and against whistleblower reprisal) by means of public awareness campaigns. The organization was formed in the State of Texas on August 17, 2018 under the abbreviated form of the plain-text mark: TOTTM.

TOTTMis a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization, designated by the Internal Revenue Service as a public charity. See our executive bios page for information about staff leadership and board members, their experiences, and what drives them in helping to form this organization.

Development Plan

Photo of a bunch of step signs, which say nepotism, theft, bribery, fraud, etcetera.

The great thing about the digital era is not only the ready access to information—it is also the ready access to individuals. (The contrapositive of the former.) TOTTM will engage in formal development strategies—i.e. grant applications—and will form [anchored] affiliations with foundations and organizations with common or similar missions to share resources. This includes access to development funds. But because the subject of TOTTM’s work is very personal to some people and has a more nuanced interest, development plans initially rely on crowdsourcing plans, such as GoFundMe campaigns.

TOTTM has received proofs of, and is likely going to provide:

  • t-shirts to anyone who donates $100 to $200, and
  • hoodies to anyone who donates $200 or more.

Proofs of the t-shirts have been received. They include the logo on the front and the web address on the back. While gift-backs like these provide incentives to donate and some view them as counter-productive to the concept of charitable giving, to the contrary, the memorabilia is designed to help advertise TOTTM, the website, and, therefore, our services.


Photo of suited man holding sign over his face, which reads whistleblower

TOTTM’s goal is to raise $400,000 by the end of fiscal year 2019—i.e., September 30, 2018—which will allow us to greatly expand our service offerings.

Foremost, the money will allow TOTTM to hire:

  • an executive director
  • a chief counsel
  • a chief financial officer
  • a director of research and content
  • a director of development
  • three (3) technical writers
  • three (3) researchers
  • two (2) paralegals
  • a pay and benefits specialist

Additionally, it would permit TOTTMto establish a permanent office in Austin, TX. It would also allow TOTTMto transition from being primarily a clearinghouse of information, resources, and referrals to an organization that provides direct representation.