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Empty Stocking Fund notches fourth-highest fundraising total

January 19, 2018 Updated: January 19, 2018 at 7:18 pm
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Only three times before has this stocking been so stuffed.

The Gazette/El Pomar Foundation Empty Stocking Fund raised $1,176,984 from 2,004 donors during its eight-week campaign, which ended Friday, said Chelsey Walker, the fund's campaign manager.

Every cent will go toward 20 nonprofits that help form the Pikes Peak Region's safety net - from early childhood education to end-of-life care.

Administrative costs were covered by Wells Fargo, ADD STAFF, the El Pomar Foundation, The Anschutz Foundation and The Gazette.

The amount is the fourth highest in the campaign's 34-year history, bringing the total raised over that time to $19.7 million.

"That's just astounding," said Joan Selman, who oversees fundraising for Pikes Peak Hospice and Palliative Care, a recipient nonprofit. "The impact that those donations make in our community for 20 nonprofits - the reach is just tremendous.

"Those dollars are going to help a lot of people in our community in really great need."

This season's total includes $200,000 in matching donations from El Pomar Foundation and $70,000 from the Bruni Foundation - two longtime partners in the fundraiser.

Those matching grants helped ensure the campaign topped $1 million for the 11th straight year.

"That reflects a lot of commitment by a lot of people in the Colorado Springs area, addressing a lot of needs," said Jerry Bruni, the Bruni Foundation's president.

For Pikes Peak Hospice and Palliative Care, the campaign offers a new way to help patients in their final days.

The organization joined the list of recipient agencies this year, the first change in the Empty Stocking Fund's lineup since 2014.

As El Paso County's only nonprofit community-based hospice provider, the organization provides help for families seeking to ensure their loved ones are treated with dignity and are comfortable at the end of their lives.

Its share of the total will partially go toward a program called Sentimental Journeys, which fulfills the bucket-list wishes of its clients. It also will help provide grief counseling and support for the relatives of people under the nonprofit's care, and others experiencing grief throughout the community.

"It makes a difference," said Selman, executive director of Pikes Peak Hospice Foundation, of the fundraiser. "We're doing things above and beyond what we're required and mandated to do, because we think it's important."

Last year, the campaign raised $1,188,151 - the campaign's third highest total.

The nonprofits will receive their checks during a closing reception in early February, Walker said.

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