Christmas may have passed, but one big stocking is still being stuffed.
Donations to The Gazette/El Pomar Foundation Empty Stocking Fund have reached $772,879 as of Thursday afternoon, outpacing last year's campaign by about $166,000, said Chelsey Walker, The Gazette's marketing manager and fund program manager.
The figure doesn't include matching grants from the El Pomar Foundation or the Bruni Foundation, which have pledged up to $270,000 combined if the campaign meets certain benchmarks.
The most the Empty Stocking Fund raised during one holiday season was $1.32 million, which happened during the 2008-09 campaign.
"If we could break it this year, it would be huge," Walker said.
The 33rd annual campaign kicked off Nov. 24, seeking to eclipse the $1 million mark for the 10th consecutive year. All told, the fund has raised $17 million since its humble inception in 1984.
Last year's campaign raised $1.14 million.
This year's donations will be divided among 20 nonprofits, bolstering the Pikes Peak region's public safety net. The organizations help thousands of people every year, including military veterans, neglected children, domestic violence victims and homeless and impoverished residents.
Every penny raised goes directly to those nonprofits, because administrative costs are covered by Wells Fargo, ADD STAFF, the El Pomar Foundation, The Anschutz Foundation and The Gazette.
And each dollar raised goes a little further, thanks to two partnering foundations.
The El Pomar Foundation said it would donate $1 for every $3 donated to the Empty Stocking Fund, up to $200,000. And the Bruni Foundation pledged $10,000 for every $100,000 donated, up to $70,000.
Jerry Bruni, president of the Bruni Foundation, said the collection thus far showed "we have a lot to be thankful for." But he implored residents to continue giving.
"What follows in January, up to the cutoff point, is very important," Bruni said. "It's the homestretch."
Contact Jakob Rodgers: 476-1654