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United Way raising funds to keep youth programs alive during pandemic

United Way programs
United Way of Santa Barbara County

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. -- United Way of Santa Barbara County launches a virtual campaign to help raise funds for thousands of local students in the County.

On Monday, United Way announced that one of their big events of the year has turned virtual due to the pandemic.

The Red Feather Ball event was said to raise funds for many initiatives and programs that the organization worked on. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the organizations had to transition the event into a virtual one, it is called United | Together Red Feather Campaign. They hope this online event will continue to help raise funds for thousands of students in Santa Barbara County like it has done in the past years.

The organization says 100 percent of the proceeds will benefit their educational programs, this include scholarships and sponsorships. Throughout September, an online auction will provide thousands of students with access to high quality learning experiences through Fun in the Sun and United for Literacy programs through 2021.

The online auction will end September 18th at 5 PM. 

Fun in the Sun is a nationally-recognized summer learning program that transforms academically and financially at-risk children, grade 3 through high school, from low-resource neighborhoods into successful and confident students.

In addition, United Way, the Food Bank of Santa Barbara County and No Kid Hungry partnered to ensure that scholars received a free, nutritious lunch every day. Lunches were distributed on school sites for students and their families to pick up. United Way and volunteers distributed food to all Fun in the Sun scholars, their families and anyone in the community that are 18 and younger. 

The organization assures that though these programs will be virtual due to the pandemic but they anticipate that both the Fun in the Sun and the United for Literacy programs will be able to return to in-person program delivery models in 2021.

“As a result of this pandemic, we need to get creative in our fundraising efforts more than ever, including the Red Feather Campaign, to continue to support learning opportunities and activities for thousands of students across Santa Barbara County,” Said Steve Ortiz, President & CEO of United Way of Santa Barbara County.  

To date, the Campaign has secured Gold Level sponsors from City National Bank, Cottage Health ExxonMobil, and Kayne Anderson Rudnick; Silver Level sponsors from AGIA Affinity, Casa Dorinda, John and Susan Hanna, Montecito Bank & Trust, and Rosemary and Nicholas Mutton; and Bronze Level sponsorships from Aera Energy, Damitz Brooks Nightingale Turner & Morrisset, Paul and Bobbi Didier, Anne Towbes, Village Properties, and Jim and Marcia Wolfe. 

For more information on United Way of Santa Barbara County, click here.

Article Topic Follows: Santa Barbara - South County

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Julia Nguyen


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