Your Fundraising Dollars at Work

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?

2018 was quite a challenge, with the 94th Burning of Zozobra taking place in between two dramatic storm cells, which made the burning even more exciting! 62,400 cheered Zozobra down despite raindrops, with what was recognized as the most awesome fireworks display ever in Santa Fe.

2017 was a great year for the Santa Fe Kiwanis Club! Being tapped by the City of Santa Fe to organize and run the Fourth of July celebration in addition to the Annual New Year’s Eve on the Plaza made for satisfying experiences. But the most satisfying production of the year for Santa Fe Kiwanians was the 93rd Annual Burning of Will Shuster’s Zozobra™, which took place in 2017 on Friday September 1 and welcomed a record crowd of 60,000+ with an impressive safety record. Why so satisfying? 2017’s record Zozobra resulted in significant rewards for the Kiwanis’ ultimate goal of funding local nonprofits that serve the children of Santa Fe.

The Santa Fe Downtown Kiwanis Foundation, charged with distribution of the net proceeds from the annual burning of Zozobra, recently announced that Zozobra 2017 was able to fund our Key Club (teen Kiwanians), pay for current ongoing scholarship commitments, replenish the Foundation’s reserves, and make grants to thirteen deserving local organizations whose mission of serving the children and youth of Santa Fe County mirrors Kiwanis’ own goals.

2017 Grants selected for awards include the following:

* $5,000 was donated to Adaptive Sports of New Mexico, which gives disabled and developmentally challenged Santa Fe youth enjoy outdoor activities and recreational opportunities, leading to better physical, mental and emotional health.

* $5,000 was grated to Cooking with Kids, for their elementary school nutrition program in Santa Fe Public Schools, with the goal of creating life-long healthy eating habits and self-efficacy and serving approximately 75% of students who qualify for free or reduced-price school meals

* $5,000 was donated to Esperanza Shelter to help fund a program designed to help children who have witnessed or directly experienced domestic abuse, which results in short- and long-term behavioral and developmental issues.

* $5,000 was granted to St. Elizabeth Shelter to support the Casa Familia program that to provide counseling and case management for children whose families have become homeless and require immediate emergency shelter.

* $5,000 was donated to Resolve (formerly IMPACT Personal Safety) for Project PREPARE, a program to teach early prevention, bystander-intervention, and de-escalation strategies to Santa Fe children and teens in order to reduce violence in their loves.

* $4,000 was granted to Girls on the Run, a curriculum-based third to fifth grade program for girls, culminating with a 5K run, that fosters self-respect, self-confidence, compassionate caring for others, and positive connections with peers and adults and leads to improvement in physical, social and emotional competence.

* $2,500 was donated to Girls, Inc, serving girls 5-18 years old with hands-on activities and lessons that support STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) learning and college preparation, healthy lifestyles, and economic and media literacy.

* $2,500 was granted to Partners in Education to support the ArtWorks program in the Santa Fe Public Schools, which makes the arts (dance, theater, music, visual arts and poetry) more personally meaningful to children through an integrated program of art-making, live performances, museum visits, and inquiry and reflection, all leading to a better understanding of arts culture.

* $2,500 was donated to The Salvation Army $2,500 for the annual “Pack A Pack” backpack program that provides backpacks filled with school supplies for children whose families meet “at or below” poverty guidelines.

* $2,500 was granted to the Santa Fe Dreamers Project to help fund the SDFP Citizenship Project, providing legal representation and a pathway to citizenship for immigrant youth who have only known life as Americans.

* $2,500 was granted to the Santa Fe Public Schools Hands-On Heritage Summer Program, a five-week intensive summer learning experience designed to reinforce literacy and numeracy for students grades 4-8 using themes of environment, history and culture unique to northern New Mexico.

*1,600 was donated to New Mexicans to Prevent Gun Violence to print large-scale and individual Students Against Gun Violence pledges for students to sign and to print and distribute gun safety brochures to raise awareness about an issue that concern’s children’s safety and well-being.

*$1,000 was granted to El Camino Real Academy for a program to add opaque keyboard covers to the computers in the school’s technology lab, so that students K-8 learn to keyboard efficiently, with the goal of improving their future success in their education and future careers.

While Zozobra himself never cracks a smile, the keepers of his flame, the Santa Fe Kiwanis, are grinning ear-to-ear with the knowledge that the demise of Old Man Gloom has once again made a better life for the children of our Santa Fe community!  

In addition to the annual funds for our local Santa Fe Key Clubs (our teen Kiwanians), the funds from the previous burnings of Zozobra have done these good deeds:

  • A grant was made to the Boys & Girls Club of Santa Fe/Del Norte to fund a new $40,000 playground at the southside location, addressing the needs of the city's most affordable-housing sector for families. Read more about it here from the article in the Santa Fe New Mexican.
  • A grant of $1,500 was made to the First Presbyterian Church of Santa Fe to help fund their early childhood education program, answering the 2016 State-of-the-City call by Mayor Gonzales for a community commitment to invest in early childhood education.
  • A grant of $2,000 was made to Girls, Inc. of Santa Fe for the March 2016 STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) camp; and Girls, Inc. of Santa Fe was just recognized as one of the 2016 Outstanding Affiliates by Girls. Inc. National.
  • A grant of $1,000 was made to Communities in Schools New Mexico, to assist the program's placement of social worker-trained coordinators in schools to assess student needs and provide critical resources for student success.
  • A grant of $1,000 was made to Santa Fe Youthworks, to help the program provide life skills, leadership development, job training and experience with environmentally-based work crews and local business apprenticeships.

The Kiwanis Club of Santa Fe also performs annual service projects throughout the year in partnership with local entities via these important initiatives:

  • The Club annually fields a team for the April Bowl for Kids' Sake.
  • The Club mans a annual booth at Santa Fe Community Day on the Plaza.
  • The Club hosts an annual Zozobra Night with the Santa Fe Fuego.
  • The Club annually mans a booth at National Night Out on the Plaza.
  • The Club annually maintains a booth at the Girls, Inc. Arts and Crafts Show on the Plaza.

Since 1964, when artist Will Shuster gave the exclusive rights for Zozobra to the Kiwanis Club of Santa Fe, the Club has given $1.6 million back to the Santa Fe community in the form of grants, scholarships and a variety of civic improvement projects funded by the net proceeds of Zozobra. While the Burning of Zozobra cherishes its traditional home in its historic downtown location, the Kiwanis Club is committed to serving the entire Santa Fe community, actively seeking opportunities to address the needs of children living in every part of the city.

As keepers of Zozobra's flame, the Santa Fe Kiwanis work diligently to protect and preserve the legacy of creator Will Shuster, and they use the history of the Burning of Zozobra as an educational tool.

The Zozobra Decades Project, launched in 2014, is a tour through the successive decades of Zozobra's existence, which will culminate in a gala 100th anniversary in 2024. Each decade represents a specific historical era as experienced in New Mexico, the U.S.A., and the world, with the entire Zozobra event designed to mirror the art, culture and history of the decade. 2014 saw the Roaring 20's come to life, 2015 showcased the Depression era 1930s, and 2016 offered a unique opportunity to focus on the 1940s, a time of world disruption especially resonant today. Zozobra 2017 celebrated the 1950s, and Old Man Gloom's "Father Knows Worst" cardigan sweater was a surprise hit!

What will Year Five of the Decades Project, the 1960s bring? Be at Fort Marcy Park in Santa Fe, NM, on Friday, August 31, 2018 to find out!