Did you know that by going to The Burning of Will Shuster’s Zozobra™, you are helping raise money for the children of our community?

Can’t come to Zozobra on Friday, September 01, 2023? We’ll miss you but don’t feel gloomy –– you can still help our historic tradition survive!

Your “I’m Not Coming So I’m Pitching In” $15 donation in place of a ticket purchase or your donation in any amount helps the Santa Fe Kiwanis keep this cherished event alive and funds programs that help our youth. That’s right, Zozobra is a local fundraising event in Santa Fe​! After Zozobra pays all its bills, the net proceeds go to fund nonprofits that help our kids. And that $15 or more that you donate to Zozobra and our Santa Fe charity cause –– the same amount as a movie or two lattes –– means that our Kiwanis mission of helping kids dream, learn, grow, and thrive can continue.

Please consider pitching in to this fundraising event in Santa Fe at this link to help Zozobra help kids. We’re counting on you. You’ll make your life less gloomy knowing that you made a child’s life brighter!

By supporting our charity activities in Santa Fe in monetary ways other than ticket sales, you will help us continue to bring Zozobra to you in your home for free.

Kiwanis is a global organization of volunteers dedicated to improving the world one child and one community at a time. For more than a century, Kiwanis has created opportunities for children to be curious, safe and healthy regardless of the community in which they live. The Kiwanis Club of Santa Fe donated the net proceeds of the 2020 Burn My Gloom campaign to area nonprofits that help make life better for children, with 20% of the proceeds earmarked to help fund The Eliminate Project.


  • Through The Eliminate Project, Kiwanis International and UNICEF have joined forces to eliminate maternal and neonatal tetanus—a deadly disease that steals the lives of nearly 31,000 innocent babies and a significant number of women each year. This local Santa Fe fundraising event has always been able to help a variety of charitable causes.

Even after battling through two long years of daunting pandemic challenges, Zozobra and the keepers of his flame, the Kiwanis Club of Santa Fe, never quit on kids!

In 2021, Kiwanis was able to burn your gloom but that was only part of our purpose. Now, the Zozobra grant cycle from the net proceeds of the 2021 burning has concluded and despite the pandemic necessitating a limited audience and affecting ticket sales, the net proceeds of Zozobra 2021 allowed Kiwanis to donate $25,000 to non-profits that aid Santa Fe’s underserved youth.

Grants were made to the following nonprofit organizations that help make a better life for children:

$4,000 to Cooking with Kids

$3,500 to CASA First Judicial District

$3,500 to Esperanza Shelter, Inc.

$3,500 to Youth Works

$3,000 to St. Elizabeth Shelter

$2,500 to Solace Crisis Treatment Center

$2,500 to Gerard’s House

$2,500 to Girls Inc.

In 2020, Zozobra was the only event in the State of New Mexico that took place in live time as planned, albeit without a live audience and was instead televised and streamed live on the web for free, making the event equally accessible to grandparents who watched on TV with loved ones and millenials who tuned in on their phones as they texted each other.

With no ticket sales, the Santa Fe Kiwanis created a new way to raise funds and continue to help our community’s kids –– the Burn My Gloom campaign!

For a nominal fee, thousands of people rid themselves of 2020’s sorrows by submitting their gloomy thoughts online, which Kiwanis printed on paper and stuffed inside Zozobra to burn. Many shared the moment by making a gift of gloom release to others –– family members who needed to let go of anxieties, friends who lost a job, or first responders who deserved a break.

And even without the ticket revenues that a typical live audience of 65,000 would normally have generated, combined funds raised from the 2020 Burning of Zozobra, the Burn My Gloom campaign, merchandise sales and substantial savings from reduced logistics and equipment for a no-crowd event resulted in net proceeds of $44,000, donated in grants of $4000 each to eleven Santa Fe area nonprofits that made life better for kids.

When 2021 rolled around, Kiwanis was as determined as ever to host a great burn, even though the 2020 pandemic burn without any ticket revenues had left event finances in dire straits. As the second long year of the pandemic wore on, event costs continued to rise and supply chain issues added new headaches, but there was never any doubt that Zozobra would burn.

While prospects for the return of a live audience in 2021 had improved, as the September event date drew closer, a new pandemic variant began to affect our community, and it became imperative to severely limit in-person attendance at the 2021 Burning of Zozobra. As a result of this conscientious but critical decision, with a crowd size that Kiwanis limited to a mere 1/5 of normal attendance to allow for social distancing, the net proceeds of ticket revenues that are the annual mainstay of Zozobra’s fundraising were dramatically reduced even while expenses for logistics and equipment for an in-person event increased.

Despite these formidable challenges, on April 20, 2022, the Santa Fe Downtown Kiwanis Foundation was proud to announce a Request for Proposals for funding from a total of $25,000 made possible by the net proceeds of the 2021 Burning of Zozobra. After the May 20, 2022 deadline, Kiwanis will announce the recipients of 2022 grants.

Everyone who participates in our Zozobra fundraising event in Santa Fe makes a difference for children and you can continue that good work by joining your local Kiwanis Club or making a deeply appreciated donation to the Kiwanis Club of Santa Fe.

Despite the 2020 challenges of the pandemic, Kiwanis was able to transfer $44,000 in hard-won net proceeds from the 96th Burning of Zozobra to the Santa Fe Downtown Kiwanis Foundation to help make a difference in the lives of local youth. In March 2021, the Foundation made grants of $4,000 each to the following area nonprofits that mirror the Kiwanis mission of helping children learn, experience, dream, grow, succeed and thrive.

  • Esperanza Shelter: Funding was used to create welcome backpacks and purchase pack-and-play cribs and combo car seat/strollers for children who enter the emergency shelter.
  • Cooking with Kids: This award-winning program helped students explore, prepare and taste fresh, affordable foods from diverse cultural traditions in a fun, supportive setting to positively change eating behaviors, increase home cooking practices, and help engage students in creative and cross-disciplinary ways.
  • The Sky Center/Suicide Intervention Project: Funds were used to support an 8-month training program for Natural Helpers at local Santa Fe schools, creating a diversified group of students trained as catalysts of change in their school communities by working in a resiliency enhancement and suicide prevention program for middle school youth.
  • St. Elizabeth’s Shelter/Casa Familia: Funds supported Casa Familia services for children whose low-income families have become homeless and require immediate emergency shelter, and who are at serious risk for developmental, physical and behavioral health problems.
  • Girls, Inc. of Santa Fe: Funding allowed Girls, Inc. to continue to respond to requests for services by maintaining their staff and adapt programming to an online format, create new curricula to address the girls’ changing needs, deliver programs to a diverse population, and find additional resources for girls and their families.
  • El Rancho de Las Golondrinas: Funds were used to support the ongoing Spanish Colonial Days and other Education and Outreach opportunities for New Mexico children and teens.
  • Gerard’s House: Funding assisted the “You Are Not Alone” program, a weekly, ongoing peer grief support group for youth ages 12-18 temporarily staying in emergency housing in safe, creative and welcoming environments that encourage dialogue for teens experiencing homelessness.
  • Solace Crisis Treatment Center: Funds were used to help make advocates available to locate and facilitate support services for families in dangerous circumstances
  • YouthWorks: Funds assisted the Culinary Training program with additional expenses due to COVID-19 and address safety measures, food requirements and additional staffing for an invaluable program serving thousands of children, youth and families.
  • Reading Quest: Funds supported a two-week “Reading is Magic” summer camp to be held in July 2021, celebrating the 10th year of this successful camp program, which will be offered in person or online as during last summer.
  • Youth Shelters and Family Services: Funds supported the purchase of cell phones and Chromebooks for young clients to further their case management, education, and employment opportunities.