An annual holiday fundraising drive for eight charities in northern Colorado netted $70,396 in 2012, officials announced this week.
The Northern Colorado Empty Stocking Fund has raised more than $410,000 since its inception in 2007. This year’s drive means four agencies in Weld County will share $35,198 and four in Larimer County share the same amount. The fundraising drive is spearheaded by the El Pomar Foundation’s North Region Council and the United Ways of Weld and Larimer counties.
More than $50,000 was raised by individual donors in the two counties, and El Pomar matches $1 for every $3 raised, bringing the total to the $70,000 mark.
“The Empty Stocking Fund Campaign directly helps agencies meet the needs of so many struggling families in our communities,” said Jeannine Truswell, president and CEO of United Way of Weld County. “The matching fund from El Pomar increases the value of each donation made, which increases the impact in northern Colorado.”
In Weld County, the agencies benefiting from the drive are the Weld Food Bank, Catholic Charities, Connections for Independent Living, and the Greeley Transitional House.
The annual fundraising drive begins near the Thanksgiving holiday and concludes at the end of December. Eleven media outlets in northern Colorado, including The Tribune and Windsor Now, help publicize the drive by writing feature stories on the agencies that benefit.
Enita Kearns-Hout, the regional director of Catholic Charities Northern in Greeley, said the Empty Stocking Fund money is used to support the agency’s rental assistance program.
“We help about 500 families a year with their housing,” she said. “We always run out of money, so the funds will help a handful of families be able to stay in their homes and enjoy stable housing. None of our agencies could do what we do without the help of our partners.”
Connections for Independent Living provides support to about 600 disabled Greeley residents annually.
“All too often, poverty comes with disabilities,” said executive director Beth Danielson. “The Empty Stocking Fund allows us to give a boost to the disabled in our community to help them live independently.”
Jodi Hartmann, executive director of the Greeley Transitional House, said the agency assists homeless families and helps them transition into independent living. “The Empty Stocking Fund is unique in so many ways because of the partnerships of so many agencies,” she said. “Since the beginning, the Empty Stocking Fund has provided close to 1,100 nights of shelter for families. We’re so grateful for their help.”
The Weld Food Bank celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2012 by serving more people and raising more money and food than ever before in its history. “For every $1 raised we can provide six meals,” said Kevin Mullin, director of development for the Food Bank. “The Empty Stocking Fund represents thousands of meals to residents of northern Colorado.”