What started in 1984 as a fund to provide clothes and toys for needy families during the holidays, has grown into a multi-million dollar campaign impacting the well-being of an entire region.

Empty Stocking Fund - Second Photo

For 34 years, the Empty Stocking Fund (ESF) has built and maintained a powerful presence in the Pikes Peak region, benefiting 20 health-and-human-services partner agencies. The Fund has raised more than $20 million since its founding, surpassing the $1 million milestone for the 10th time during the 2017-18 campaign. ESF aims to exceed the $1 million mark again during this year’s campaign, which launches Thanksgiving Day.

ESF aims to spark the giving spirit of the Pikes Peak region, partnering with local agencies to reach more than 300,000 vulnerable people each year in Colorado Springs and the surrounding area. Each agency provides much-needed services to its clients, ranging from rent and utility assistance to shelter, warm meals, health screenings, and resource referrals. Together, they form a network of support that runs from birth to end of life for residents in our region.

Due to the number of partner agencies, ESF is able to maximize the collective impact of donations made to the fund. For example, with just $1, participating agency YMCA of the Pikes Peak Region can give a military family a day of fishing at Camp Shady Brook in Deckers, Colorado. A $20 donation allows Care and Share Food Bank for Southern Colorado to provide 150 meals to hungry families. A generous gift of $200 can pay for eight hours of behavioral health services for a child and family in crisis through CPCD . . . giving children a head start.

Empty Stocking Fund

Key partners help ESF dollars go even further. Since 1997, the El Pomar Foundation has matched $1 for every $3 up to $200,000, annually. The Bruni Foundation has matched $1 for every $10 up to $70,000 since 2000. Add Staff, Wells Fargo and The Gazette support the campaign with manpower, banking services, and promotion, making it possible for 100 percent of donated dollars to go directly to serving our community.

Individuals or businesses can make donations online, over the phone, or by mailing in checks. Empty Stocking Fund also hosts and attends a number of community events throughout the campaign, during which donations are collected. ESF also works with local businesses to host events, many of which donate a portion of event proceeds to the campaign. Community partners include the Broadmoor World Arena, FH Beerworks, and Signature Homes by Steve Scott.

The 35th annual Empty Stocking Fund campaign begins Thanksgiving Day and runs through January 18, 2019. Show support for ESF’s 20 local agency partners and help your neighbors in need by donating at fillanemptystocking.org. Help #sparkthegivingspirit in Empty Stocking Fund’s 35th year!

About the author

Deb Mahan and Devon Seymour

Deb Mahan has been in Colorado Springs for 28 years working in the non-profit sector, as Executive Director of Small Groups and Community Engagement for First Presbyterian Church; and in the business sector as VP, Lender at local business banks. She has given leadership to many local nonprofit philanthropy and funding campaigns. Deb has served on several boards and is currently Vice President of the Cultural Office of the Pikes Peak Region, a member of the UCHealth Memorial Hospital Foundation board, the Ormao Dance Company Board, and a founding member of the Kids on Bikes Board. She was Chair of the Board of the Indy Give! campaign for four years. Deb has a BS in Psychology from ASU and the UCCS.

Devon grew up in Fort Collins and received bachelor’s degrees in political science and French from Washington State University, where she also served as the director of academic affairs for the undergraduate student government, and as a fundraiser for disaster relief. After completing her undergraduate education, Devon spent a year in Corsica, France as an English teacher at a primary school. In June of 2017, she completed her Master’s in Public Administration, focusing on nonprofit management and healthcare.