Donations to the The Gazette/El Pomar Empty Stocking Fund's coffers are keeping pace with last year's campaign - a rate that, if sustained, would allow the fund to eclipse $1 million for the seventh straight year.
The fund's balance reached $300,211 on Sunday, said Amy Horton, The Gazette's fund program manager. The figure is about $9,000 more than the fund's balance two and a half weeks into last year's campaign.
"It's still early in the campaign, because a lot of the contributions tend to be clustered quite close to Christmas," said Jerry Bruni, president of the Bruni Foundation. "Therefore we can't breath a sigh of relief yet. But we're off to a good start."
The campaign, which is in its 30th year, raises money through the holidays and into the new year for health and human service nonprofit agencies across the region. All the money raised goes directly to the nonprofits, because The Gazette, the El Pomar Foundation, Wells Fargo and ADD STAFF cover administrative costs.
Since its inception in 1984, the fund has received about $14 million, including $1,067,869 during the 2012-2013 campaign.
This year's campaign stretches to Jan. 17. The campaign started with $50,831 in its account on Thanksgiving, due to fundraisers earlier in the year.
The total also doesn't include pending donations from the El Pomar Foundation and the Bruni Foundation, which have pledged up to $270,000 in matching funds.
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.
"We can't let down our guard; there's a lot of work yet to be done," Bruni said.