Startup Santa would not have been possible without key partners!


by Katherine Zachara, Director of Business Development and Sponsorships

Last month, the United Ways of Utah and Silicon Slopes completed our third year of Startup Santa, a statewide children’s book drive where companies compete against each other to see who can donate the most books and funds to support literacy programs for low-income families.

Startup Santa gets books in the hands of kids who need them most. Nearly 350,000 children throughout Utah live in poverty, and many of these children simply do not have access to books, which significantly affects their educational success. It is estimated that 2 out of every 3 low-income 3rd graders in Utah are not proficient in language arts.

Our community came together to make a difference this holiday season! I started at United Way of Salt Lake just as Startup Santa was kicking off in November, and witnessed the dedication, passion, and drive that the tech industry and corporate partners in our community have in supporting literacy.

Companies held book drives, fundraisers, and friendly office competitions to collect over 50,000 new and gently used books and “virtual book” donations for children throughout Utah. Volunteers from partner companies sorted books and our Community School Directors determined which books would be distributed in our community schools – ensuring that each book found the right home. 

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Startup Santa would not have been possible without strong partners such as the Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce, who got the word out, attended numerous volunteer activities, and helped with planning and logistics. We also thank Real Salt Lake, as they held a fundraiser for Startup Santa in the Audi Executive Club where Startup Santa participants met General Manager, Craig Waibel and RSL players. With their support, we were able to raise more than $1,300 for literacy programs.

Chris Willis from Domo

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Want to spread holiday cheer throughout the year? Contact Katherine to learn how you and your organization can make giving back to your local community a part of your New Year’s resolution at 

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