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Helping Neighbors in Need: The Impact of the Empty Stocking Fund

Tags: Empty Stocking Fund

Empty Stocking Fund Logo.jpg

Helping Neighbors in Need:

The Impact of the Empty Stocking Fund 

By Deb Mahan

What started in 1984 by The Gazette as a campaign to provide clothing and toys to families in need during the holiday season has grown into a multi-million dollar impact. Over the past 35 years, the Gazette Charities/El Pomar Foundation Empty Stocking Fund has been a constant presence in the Pikes Peak region, benefiting 20 health and human service partner agencies. The Fund has cumulatively raised more than $22 million since its founding, raising the third-highest amount ever in the 2018-2019 campaign. Empty Stocking Fund aims to exceed that this year during the 2019-2020 campaign, which started on Thanksgiving Day.

Empty Stocking Fund sparks the giving spirit of the Pikes Peak region to benefit local non-profits serving neighbors in need. These 20 non-profits we support reach almost 300,000 lives annually in El Paso and Teller counties. Each agency provides unique services in a variety of areas of need throughout the life-span. Services range from rent and utility assistance, warm shelter and safety, health screenings and medical care, to early childhood mental health and end of life comfort and care. Together these partner agencies form a network of support for residents of Colorado Springs and surrounding areas.

Empty Stocking Fund maximizes the collective impact of donations. Even a $1 donation can drastically increase the capacity of the partner agencies.With $1, the YMCA of the Pikes Peak Region can give a military family a day of fishing at Camp Shady Brook, giving them a moment of rest together they’ll remember forever. A $20 donation allows Care and Share Food Bank to provide 150 healthy meals to residents of Southern Colorado experiencing food scarcity. A donation of $200 can pay for eight hours of behavioral health services for a child and family in crisis through CPCP . . . Giving Children a Head Start. A generous donation of $2,000 allows Westside Cares to provide 30 people the gift of sight with eye exams and prescription eye-glasses.

Key matching partners increase the impact of every donation to Empty Stocking Fund. Since 1997, El Pomar Foundation has matched $1 for every $3 raised up to $200,000. Additionally, Bruni Foundation has matched $1 for every $10 up to $70,000 since 2000. Supporting partners, Add Staff, The Gazette, Gazette Charities, Pikes Peak Community Foundation and Wells Fargo, cover administrative costs, making it possible for 100% of every donation to go directly to partner agencies.

Individuals or businesses can donate via:

• the website at;
• over the phone - 719-476-1673;
• by mailing a check to:
P.O. Box 910942, Denver, CO 80291-0942;
• or by texting ESF to 56512.

You can also make a gift of stock or IRA distribution by contacting PPCF - or call 719-445-0601

Alternatively, Empty Stocking Fund partners with  many local businesses that host community events and donate a portion of the proceeds to the campaign.Community partners include The Broadmoor, Broadmoor World Arena, FH Beerworks, and Signature Homes by Steve Scott. The 36th annual Empty Stocking Fund campaign began on November 28, 2019 and runs through January 17, 2020. Spark the giving spirit this holiday season- show your support for agency partners and help your neighbors in need.



Empty Stocking Fund staff and nonprofit representatives prior to walking in the 2019 Veteran's Day Parade

     Your Donation Supports 

  • American Red Cross of Southern Colorado
  • Care and Share Food Bank for Southern Colorado
  • Catholic Charities of Central Colorado 
  • CPCD...Giving Children a Head Start
  • Ecumenical Social Ministries
  • The Home Front Cares
  • Luthern Family Services
  • Mercy's Gate
  • Partners in Housing 
  • Peak Vista Community Health Centers
  • Pikes Peak Hospice and Palliative Care
  • The Place 
  • The Resouce Exchange
  • The Salvation Army of El Paso County
  • Silver Key
  • TESSA 
  • Tri-Lakes Cares
  • Westside Cares
  • YMCA of the Pikes Peak Region




Currently Executive Director of Gazette Charities, Deb Mahan has been in Colorado Springs for 28 years working in the nonprofit sector as Executive Director of Small Groups and Community Engagement for First Presbyterian Church and in the business sector at local business banks. In addition, Deb has served as VP of the Cultural Office of the Pikes Peak Region and been a member of several boards such as the UCHealth Memorial Hospital Foundation board, the Ormao Dance Company board and the Pikes Peak Community Foundation board.