Noted community members clad in evening gowns and tuxedos mixed elegance with philanthropy as they mingled in the Springs Ballroom of the Ritz-Carlton Rancho Mirage Saturday evening at the United Way of the Desert's Silver Ball VIP Gala.

Ticket sales and the earnings of the gala's auctions benefited the United Way of the Desert while local sponsors such as Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Rancho Mirage, the city of Rancho Mirage and The Desert Sun all contributed prizes for the silent- and live auctions, as well as decor to make the night a special celebration.

The revelry was not without a cause. The United Way of the Desert has provided $25 million in program funding since its inception 70 years ago, and the annual VIP gala's proceeds provide a significant amount of funding to continue that philanthropy. Executive Director for United Way of the Desert Kristal Granados said she expects this year's event to pull in more than $150,000.

Scott Robinson, executive director of the Boys & Girls Club of Cathedral City, said the gala was a great time for different organizations and nonprofits to come together and celebrate each others' tireless work.

"We're just very proud to be a piece of the puzzle and make a difference in the Coachella Valley," he said.

The United Way of the Desert's Community Impact Fund works to improve education, income stability and health in the Coachella Valley, where the United Way estimates that one in five children are food insecure and 19 percent of families live in deep poverty.

"While 19 percent live in deep poverty, 48 percent of children actually live in poverty, that's why we're specifically targeting the children," Granados said. "They're really the key to breaking the poverty cycle."

Some of the United Way supported programs include FIND Food Bank, Martha's Village and Kitchen and the Boys and Girls Club of the Coachella Valley and Cathedral City.


 

Guests received red clown noses in order to promote the May 21 Red Nose Day comedy telethon on NBC designed to raise money for organizations such as United Way, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, and Feeding America. Even if you didn't get dressed up to attend the gala, however, by purchasing a red nose at any Walgreens, you can participate in giving back to United Way and the community.

"(The gala) is significant because it really shows how much our community cares," Granados said. "So it really is about the power of their collective caring."

Anna Rumer is a public safety reporter for The Desert Sun. She can be reached at (760) 285-5490, anna.rumer@desertsun.com or on Twitter @AnnaRumer.