Red Feather Ball

Image of 1940's Red Feather ad
    Historic advertisement for Giving


In 1997, the Red Feather Ball was created by Katherine Abercrombie after hearing the story of the Red Feather and how it came to symbolize giving during the Depression-era Community Chest campaigns. The Red Feather was used on posters and fundraising materials as a symbol of giving for decades. As you may or may not know, United Way of Santa Barbara County was established as the Santa Barbara Community Chest before becoming United Way in 1971. 

Katherine and her husband, Stewart, co-chaired the event for the first three years. It was Katherine with her flair for style, who suggested that the women wear red and the men wear red bow ties; and a time-honored tradition was created. In 2000, they received the award which had been renamed in their honor the Abercrombie Community Excellence Award. In 2007, the Board of Directors for United Way of Santa Barbara County voted Katherine Abercrombie, Honorary Chair in Perpetuity.

For 26 years, the Red Feather Ball has raised funds for United Way of Santa Barbara County's educational programs and initiatives, which have grown to serve over 10,000 local children and their families each year. 

Each year, proceeds from the Red Feather Ball 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, providing essential academic support and resources to our community’s littlest learners.

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

Learn more about the event, purchase sponsorships and tickets, and donate at


2024 Red Feather Ball


Click the images to see photos from past Red Fed Feather Balls

Image of a table at the 2019 Red Feather Ball