A rush of donations before Christmas appears to have left The Gazette/El Pomar Empty Stocking Fund poised to surpass last year's campaign total.
The fund's balance totalled $575,405 through Sunday, about $64,000 more than at the same point in last year's campaign, according to Amy Horton, The Gazette's fund program manager.
"We're gaining more ground," Horton said.
The fund's most successful day came Dec. 20, when donations totaled $53,675. However, donations have tapered off since Christmas, and Saturday and Sunday were the slowest days for donations since late November.
The Gazette began the fund in 1984 as a grassroots way of raising money and donations for people in need. Despite growing into a massive holiday fundraising campaign, the fund still commits 100 percent of donations to the nonprofits that provide for people in need because The Gazette, the El Pomar Foundation, Wells Fargo and ADD STAFF cover all administrative costs.
That means that every cent of the roughly $14 million raised since 1984 has gone to people in need, organizers say.
The total raised to date doesn't include matching donations from the El Pomar Foundation and the Bruni Foundation, which could significantly boost the fund's balance by the campaign's end on Jan. 17.
The El Pomar Foundation pledged $1 for every $3 raised, up to $200,000, while the Bruni Foundation pledged to match $10,000 for every $100,000 raised, up to $70,000.
"Some people question whether donors hit donor fatigue from all the fires we've had," said Katy Hammond, a program associate with the El Pomar Foundation. "That's always on our mind...
"I think people will continue to give. That's the great thing, I think, about our community is that people continue to give throughout the year."
HOW TO DONATE
Make a secure donation at www.fillanemptystocking.org. Call 476-1673 to make a credit card or stock donation. Make check payable to the Empty Stocking Fund and mail to P.O. Box 910942, Denver, CO 80291-0942. Like us on Facebook at EmptyStockingFund or follow us on Twitter @esfsprings.