I think I can. I think I can. I think I can. That phrase might conjure images of a little engine puffing up a mountain, but to Gary Faris, it’s also the story of the Teardrop Fund.

Doctors Without Borders: The Teardrop Fund was started by Gary Faris and his daughters, Abbey and Allison, when Gary’s mother passed away. She left behind a modest inheritance, which sparked a conversation— how could Gary, Abbey, and Allison use these funds to honor her and make a positive impact in the world?

A clinical psyco-therapist, Gary was familiar with the international nonprofit organization, Doctors Without Borders. “The thing that impressed me most and the thing I imparted to the girls was that [the Doctors Without Borders] mission is to relieve suffering in the world in the absolute worst situations. They don’t discriminate based on any type of ideology or culture. They just want to help people.” Gary learned he could create a fund at the Community Foundation for long-term impact benefiting Doctors Without Borders. Thus the Teardrop Fund was born.

The Teardrop Fund is remarkable for many reasons, particularly how significantly it has grown. In the first few years the fund slowly puffed along with Gary making small annual donations. However, everything changed when he decided to create a fundraising page on ColoradoGives.org.

The Community Foundation of Northern Colorado is the Larimer County Regional Champion for Colorado Gives Day and is a participating nonprofit. That means donors can donate to the Community Foundation and, specifically, Doctors Without Borders: The Teardrop Fund, on Colorado Gives Day. People started finding the fundraising page and giving generously. Over the fund’s 17 years, it has grown by over twenty-fold. No longer The Little Engine That Could, the fund currently has more than $360,000 dedicated to the ongoing support of Doctors Without Borders.

Gary Faris, with daughters Abbey and Allison

Gary Faris, with daughters Abbey and Allison

“When people give to the fund, I think it’s important they realize their donation isn’t just a one-time gift; it will make a difference year after year for perpetuity,”

Doctors Without Borders is a beacon of hope for many around the world, providing essential healthcare to those who need it most. According to Gary, however, their impact extends far beyond the immediate medical relief they provide; it is a testament to the power of empathy, solidarity, and the belief that healthcare is a fundamental human right.

“The fund is a drop in the bucket— they need so much help to do the work they’re doing,” says Gary. But it’s a bigger drop than it’s ever been. The fund has granted more than $69,000 over its lifetime. Gary sends a personal email to every single contributor each Colorado Gives Day to thank them for their support. “When people give to the fund, I think it’s important they realize their donation isn’t just a one-time gift; it will make a difference year after year for perpetuity,” shares Gary. Whether due to the compelling mission of Doctors Without Borders, or due to Gary’s thoughtful outreach, many people return year after year to contribute to the Teardrop Fund.

Colorado Gives Day is quickly approaching. In fact, you can schedule your Colorado Gives Day donations now through Tuesday, December 5. As the Larimer County Regional Champion, we encourage you to support your favorite organizations and the missions you love as part of our statewide day of giving.

Thank you to the Faris family for the impact they’re driving through Colorado Gives Day, and to all our Colorado nonprofit partners, we wish you a successful giving season. May your supporters be compassionate and generous, and may your impact be great.