A warm fall evening greeted guests at the 15th Annual Red Feather Ball held at Fess Parker’s DoubleTree Resort Santa Barbara benefiting United Way of Santa Barbara County and honoring this year’s recipients of the Abercrombie Community Excellence Awards.

Red Feather Ball co-chairs Keith and Tina Berry with Montecito Bank & Trust President and CEO Janet Garufis were joined by Master of Ceremonies Debby Davison-Phelps and Honorary Chair in Perpetuity Katherine Abercrombie in welcoming guests to the United for Literacy Benefit.

Guests dressed in red gowns and black tie reviewed more than 80 silent auctions items on display in the Sierra Madre Room and were encouraged by auctioneer Andrew Firestone to bid on an array of items, including a two-night stay at Fess Parker’s DoubleTree Resort with a gift basket of signature Fess Parker’s wines and merchandise, or a three-night stay in New Orleans at the Renaissance Pere Marquette.

Some of the other items offered in the auction were opportunities to “Pamper Yourself,” “Day Trips,” “Family Fun Time” and for the “Sportsman,” a Ryder Cup 2012 three-day weekend grounds pass with a four-night stay and round-trip airfare to Chicago.

A delectable dinner and vivacious dancing followed the silent auction inside the Santa Ynez and San Rafael rooms with food by Fess Parker’s talented culinary staff of Catering Director Kathy Ackley, Executive Chef Kirk Delong and Executive Sous Chef Jacob Prelas.

The first course began with a light and flavorful salad of yellow heirloom sliced tomatoes, baby frisee, smoked trout, red lentils, roasted beats, goat cheese and citrus vinaigrette. A delicious main course followed with local seabass, baby red chard, butternut squash risotto and warm mustard vinaigrette topped off with a desert of candied kumquat mascarpone parfait.

Dinner and dancing was followed by a scholarship auction with guest speakers Patricia Santiago and Nancy Lorenzen.

Next, John Wigle and Dr. Peter MacDougall presented awards to the evening’s honorees — ABC-CLIO’s Eric, Ron and Marlys Boehm, and MarBorg Industries’ Mario and David Borgatello.

Founded in 1953 by Eric Boehm, ABC-CLIO, formally known as Historical Abstracts, is one of the leading publishers of print and digital works in academic materials, including professional development for librarians in secondary education, higher education and public libraries.

Under the guidance and dedication of the Boehm family, the company now staffs 135 employees with offices in Broomfield, Colorado and Santa Barbara, publishing more than 600 books and e-books in general interest, reference and academic categories, and more than 20 databases.

Eric Boehm has maintained a strong commitment to the United Way since the 1970s, and today Ron, Marlys and Becky have continued the tradition for ABC-CLIO and the Boehms family.

Mario and David Borgatello are part of another family run business flourishing for more than 75 years, and through the generations the Borgatellos and MarBorg Industries have contributed more than $300,000 to United Way’s Community Campaign.

This commitment to the community is also reflected in efforts to reduce waste as 70 percent of waste is recycled by MarBorg with 50 percent less in landfills with a savings for the city of $10,000 a day in fines.

In addition to honoring these community leaders the evening benefited the efforts of the Santa Barbara County United for Literacy Initiative in partnership with the United Way of Santa Barbara County to provide multiservice educational school programs to students from infancy to adulthood in the community.

These year-round educational programs include learning materials, parent-child teaching methods and online services designed to improve student literacy and increase the number of high school graduates in Santa Barbara County.

UFL’s three primary educational programs include Bornlearning, a parent-based program that encourages daily engagement between parent and child from birth to five years of age.

The Dolly Parton Imagination Library provides new and free age-appropriate books to low-income children from birth to kindergarten and the Reading Plus software program helps to increase reading comprehension, speed and vocabulary from second grade through college.

These multipronged United for Literacy programs have assisted more than 3,500 school children from Carpinteria to Lompoc in the Reading Plus program.

The 14-year success of the Red Feather Ball has also supported United Way’s Fun in the Sun program with a specialized summer enrichment curriculum that offers an array of educational programs benefiting thousands of homeless and low-income children throughout Santa Barbara County.

This year, more than 148 students from grades three to nine participated in the Reading Plus program achieving a 2.1 reading grade level gain, and 87 percent of students gained 45.8 words per minute, plus 64 percent gained 1.7 graded levels in vocabulary.

The wonderful evening was capped off with lively dancing to Art Deco and His Society Orchestra as guests enjoyed another successful Red Feather Ball.

United Way of Santa Barbara County thanks the 15th Annual Red Feather Ball Sponsors:

» Red Feather Sponsors: Harold and Annette Simmons, and Mark Taylor of Taylor Associates.

» Platinum Feather Sponsors: MarBorg Industries and the Borgatello Family.

» Gold Feather Sponsors: ABC-CLIO and Ron & Marlys Boehm, Boehm-Gladen Fund, Tom & Nancy Crawford Jr., Hutton Parker Foundation, Montecito Bank & Trust, Santa Barbara Bank & Trust, Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians Foundation, Herbert & Bui Simon – The Herbert Simon Family Foundation and Venoco, Inc.

» Silver Feather Sponsors: AGIA Insurance Services, AmeriFlex Financial Services, Cottage Health System, Cox Communications, John & Susan Hanna, Perri Harcourt, Mike & Dale Nissenson and Westmont College.

» Bronze Feather Sponsors: Bridlewood Estate Winery, Bryant & Sons Ltd., Diana MacFarlane & On Q Financial, Fell Marking Abkin Montgomery Granet & Raney LLP, Fess Parker’s DoubleTree Resort, Fielding Graduate Institute, Forster Group – Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, Santa Barbara Iron & Metal Recyclers and Santa Barbara Zoological Gardens.

» Angel Feather Sponsors: Jelinda and Barry DeVorzon, and Ralph and Melissa Iannelli.

Noozhawk iSociety columnist Melissa Walker can be reached at mwalker@noozhawk.com. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkSociety, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Become a fan of Noozhawk on Facebook.

Noozhawk iSociety columnist Melissa Walker can be reached at mwalker@noozhawk.com. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.