United Way’s 26th Annual Red Feather Ball to Be Held to Support Families in need

By Giving List Staff   |   September 8, 2023

The Oct. 13 event will celebrate United Way’s 100th anniversary in Santa Barbara County

Join United Way for a celebration that will support local families in need at its 26th annual Red Feather Ball. This sparkling event will also be a celebration of United Way’s 100th anniversary. As such, this year’s theme is: A Diamond Celebration. 

This year’s event will be held on October 13th at the Montecito Club in Santa Barbara and will benefit the children and families served through United Way’s Academic Achievement Initiative. It will also honor the role the organization has played in the community’s longstanding tradition of care and commitment to local families and students.

Each year, all proceeds from the Red Feather Ball go to benefit United Way’s community education programs and initiatives. These programs include Fun in the Sun, a national award-winning summer learning program, and the United Learning Center, which provides essential academic support and resources to our community’s littlest learners. These initiatives have grown to serve over 10,000 local children and their families each year.

United Way programs provide life-changing educational tools to children and families throughout Santa Barbara County, creating safe and enriching spaces for students to learn and grow.

The Red Feather Ball was created in 1997 and was so named in honor of the symbolic red feather which the Community Chest campaigns, a precursor to the modern United Way network, used during its giving campaigns during the Great Depression. Every year since then, the event has provided an opportunity for donors to come together to provide for vital assistance programs. 

United Way is proud of the impact it has in Santa Barbara County. More than 40,000 students have received essential academic support and resources to combat pandemic-related learning loss through its programs and $53 million has been raised or managed for COVID-19 response efforts. Meanwhile 8,800 individuals and families have received funding for individual, rental, relocation, utilities and general disaster assistance from United Way crisis response programs.

The Red Feather Ball is an opportunity to support the vital work United Way does to lift up those in need. Tickets and sponsorships are available.

We are looking forward to gathering with friends and supporters at the gala this year.

About United Way of Santa Barbara County

Since 1923, United Way of Santa Barbara County has been a key leader in local efforts to empower children, families, and communities through its own unique collaborative programs and initiatives, partnership convening efforts, volunteer development, and funding. United Way’s mission is to enrich the lives of children and families and build resilient communities by leading local programs and partnerships that improve school readiness and academic achievement, financial empowerment, and crisis response and recovery. To learn more, please visit unitedwaysb.org.


United Way of Santa Barbara County

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(805) 965-8591
President & CEO: Steve Ortiz


Our mission is to enrich the lives of children and families and build resilient communities by leading local programs and partnerships that improve school readiness and academic achievement, financial empowerment, and crisis response and recovery.

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We know you care about where your money goes and how it is used. Connect with this organization’s leadership in order to begin to build this important relationship. Your email will be sent directly to this organization’s Director of Development and/or Executive Director.

Decades of Support

What I appreciate most about United Way’s approach to programming and outreach is that there is an organizational insistence on engaging the whole community. What that means for me personally is that United Way makes it fun and easy to support Fun in the Sun as it encourages more direct donor involvement with the program. This gives me a hands-on and close-up view of the work being done to support both our public schools and students. United Way makes it easy for donors to access all the programs and it involves members of our community at all levels in contributing, volunteering, and active learning about how we can collectively make our wonderful city and county an even better place for all.
David Jackson
Zegar Family Foundation

The Next 100 Years

In addition to its celebration of the 100-year anniversary alongside the volunteers, staff, partners, and supporters who have made the milestone possible, United Way of Santa Barbara County is also undertaking its first endowment campaign since 1982. 

“Our success in launching new programming and establishing new projects and partnerships are a benefit of that campaign 40 years ago,” President & CEO Steve Ortiz says. “With an evolving community, we need to prioritize maintaining UWSBC’s responsive and innovative programmatic infrastructure to adapt to changing needs. Endowment gifts or special anniversary donations will help UWSBC to stay strong for the next 100 years and sustain our impact on behalf of individuals, children, and families countywide.”

UWSBC Board of Directors

Cliff Lundberg, Chair
Vice President Emeritus, Westmont College
Diane B Doiron, CLU, Vice Chair
Owner, Doiron Financial Associates
Susan Hersberger, Vice Chair
Retired Public Relations Executive
Leo Hamill, Treasurer
Senior Vice President/Regional Manager, City National Bank
Steve Ortiz, Secretary
President & CEO, United Way of Santa Barbara County
Rick Scott, Immediate Past Board Chair
Nonprofit Executive
Tim Armour
Retired Executive
Sue Birch
Retired Educator
Lance Connor
Reliable Engineering Services
David Flattery
Vice President of Business Development, DuPont Displays
Robert Hollman
Commercial Real Estate Developer & Owner
Alex Koper
President & CEO, MoXi, Global Mortgage Group
Shari Liu Fellows
Co-Founder/Principal, The Grayson Agency
Terri Maus-Nisich
Assistant CEO, County of Santa Barbara
Art Merovick
Retired Executive
Kevin Nelson
Director of Corporate Compliance, Cottage Health
Patrice Ryan
Retired Executive