For the second-straight year, an anonymous donor has fueled the Santa Fund for Schoolkids with a large donation to bring the home-grown charity closer to goal and its mission of helping Central Virginia children all year long.
The donor gave the fund $75,000 this year, helping the charity along its way to its $175,000 goal. The donation is the largest ever received by the charity. Last year a $50,000 helped push the fund toward the same goal.
“This was a huge surprise and we are thrilled, as we know the significant difference this gift will make for local economically disadvantaged children,” said Ravi Respeto, president and CEO of the United Way of Greater Charlottesville, which administers the fund. “It is from the same anonymous donor from last year who has increased their gift this year.”
The Santa Fund was created in 1894 by The Daily Progress’ founding publisher, James H. Lindsey. Co-sponsored with radio station WINA in conjunction with the United Way, the Santa Fund serves nearly 1,500 children in the city of Charlottesville and the counties of Albemarle, Buckingham, Fluvanna, Greene, Louisa, Madison, Nelson and Orange.
The Santa Fund is a totally local charity with the money raised in the area staying in the area. Donations are used to provide shoes, clothing, medicine, eyeglasses, school supplies and other essentials to children in need all year around.
The Santa Fund is unique in that there are no family income requirements and vouchers are distributed by the United Way to be redeemed in local stores. Teachers, pastors and others in the community who see a child in need can help arrange a voucher from the Santa Fund to take care of those needs.
This year, with the pandemic pushing children out of their school buildings and into their homes for remote learning, the Santa Fund’s organizers agreed to help provide computers and hotspots and other internet tools to keep those without internet access connected.
“This record setting gift from our Santa Fund angel could not have come at a better time,” said Peter Yates, publisher of the Daily Progress. “This leadership gift will help us to serve more people than ever in one of the most challenging years on record. We cannot adequately express our appreciation for the difference this will make for the families that count on the Santa Fund.”
Respeto declined to identify the donor, but speculated the pandemic and its financial impacts on those already in dire fiscal straits, could have led to the increased donation.
“[It’s] likely because of COVID and wanting to do more to support local children who are trying to learn virtually without having all the necessary tools they need to succeed outside of a school environment,” she said.
The donation brings the total of contributions so far this season to $171,790.22, just a little over $3,200 away from meeting the $175,000 goal. Last year, the fund set its highest-ever fundraising mark at $189,667.93, more than $14,000 over its goal. The fund drive ends later this month.
TODAY’S DONATIONSPeace for all, $50
In memory of Robert N. Standish, Jr., $1,000
Stephen and Anne, $200
Carole and Leonard Lohman, $50
In loving memory of Virginia Thompson Carlisle, $50
In Thanksgiving for Lolo, Tom, Becca and Morgan, $250
In loving memory of Esta and Douglas Kincaid by Julie and Don Wheeler, $100
Cynthia Power, $100
Paul and Margaret Handelsman, $250
In memory of Nicky Theodose and all her beloved dogs, cats and horses, $50
In memory of Monk McCauley, $50
In appreciation for public school educators in Albemarle and Charlottesville especially active and retired VEA members from: Martha Wood, $25
In loving memory of my husband, Kenneth W. Worrell, $200
Ronald H. Burton, $200
Douglas and Sally McKusick, $250
In loving memory of Diane M. Morris, John M. Morris, Charles Seth Morris, Julie Lynn Morris, $100
In memory of Jim Kelly and Jim Grove, $200
In honor of Tammie and Lou Lesesne, $40
In memory of Lucie Kelly and in honor of Nancy Bryant, $100
In memory of my favorite son, Mike Baber, $102.56
In memory of the faithful departed, $100
TODAY’S TOTAL: $80,667.56
RUNNING TOTAL: $171,790.22
TO REACH GOAL: $3,209.78