January 13, 2013 5:11 PM
Tales of financial relief for a grandmother struggling to care for her three grandkids and another that had a 19-year-old who has been in and out of trouble finally getting his high school diploma highlighted the success stories that came out of The Gazette/ El Pomar Foundation Empty Stocking Fund for 2012-13.
For the sixth straight year, the fund exceeded its goal of raising $1 million. The tally was $1,033,313 as of Friday but was expected to increase because of last-minute donations and other money sent through the mail.
The money will be divided among 15 service agencies in the Pikes Peak region.
“The generosity of donors throughout the entire Pikes Peak region is inspiring to see,” said Josie Burke, director of communications with fund sponsor The El Pomar Foundation. “We’re grateful to be a part of this effort that helps so many in need while encouraging participation from every corner of the community.”
Jerry Bruni, president of fund sponsor the Bruni Foundation, said the continued success of the 29-year-old program “characterizes the depth of support in a very caring community.”
“That level in this most recent campaign is an extraordinary achievement,” Bruni said, noting the Colorado Springs area had several causes to support in 2012, including Waldo Canyon fire relief.
“People had to dig deeper than normal, and clearly they did,” he said.
El Pomar signed on to sponsor the fund in 1997, and Bruni joined the cause in 2000.
Gazette Publisher Dan Steever echoed the comments, saying, “This year has been particularly gratifying. We are really amazed and humbled by what the collective team, including donors, campaign partners, media partners and a host of others, has accomplished.”
The Empty Stocking Fund began as a small-scale holiday drive by E. Roy Smith, who was The Gazette’s publisher in 1984. The goal was to help needy families in Colorado Springs. The inaugural campaign brought in $50,000 in cash and goods.
The fund had its most successful year in 2008-09 when $1,320,000 was raised. Every cent donated goes directly to the supported agencies. Administrative costs are covered by the El Pomar Foundation and The Gazette.
The recipient agencies are: The American Red Cross of the Pikes Peak Region, Care and Share Food Bank, Ecumenical Social Ministries, Griffith Centers for Children Chins Up Youth & Family Services, Marian House and Catholic Charities, Mercy’s Gate (formerly known as Northern Churches Care), Partners In Housing, Peak Vista Community Health Centers, Pikes Peak Community Action Agency, The Salvation Army, Silver Key Senior Services, Southeast Family Center Armed Services YMCA, Tri-Lakes Cares, Urban Peak and Westside CARES.
Each agency has success stories based on what the fund has provided.