GOLETA, Calif. - Planned Parenthood Central Coast members and their supporters filled the grand ballroom at the Ritz-Carlton Bacara Saturday night for their annual event.
It was called the Birds and Bees bash.
An outside reception area was full of silent auction items, a table full of materials about the organization, a photo booth for creative group shots and a table full of materials about the organization.
The event, attended by about 500 people was hosted by Geoff Green. He recapped the past year when budget cuts on the national level were threatened that would force the organization to cut its operations.
"They are the most equipped, they have a century of experience and they have an incredible track record of making sure that every person and every family has access to the information they need, the resources they need and they are a constant advocate to make sure everyone does, " said Green.
Board Chair Karen Engberg reinforced the message saying, "We dodged the bullet last year. We know the threats are not over. They are not going to go away."
She went on to say, to expand access to health care,
"3600 donors made their first ever gift to Planned Parenthood California Central Coast.Thanks to you in this audience, our health care center doors are open."
Outside the event on Hollister Avenue where cars were coming into the parking area, students from Thomas Aquinas College in Ventura County held signs against abortion. Some had graphic photos against abortions. The students did not come into the Bacara property with the message.
Jenna Tosh, President and CEO of the organization told the audience, "We all know that abortion is a small part of what we do at Planned Parenthood, but it is an important part. Tonight we will celebrate all three pillars of the Planned Parenthood mission, education, advocacy and health care.
The event also honored Leslie Sweem Bhutani as the winner of this years Jean K. Schuler award. She served on the Planned Parenthood California Central Coast board for seven years.
During the dinner a "test-giving" campaign was announced where those attending could text in a donation. Over $72,000 came in.
After the formal program, there was a late night party with both a DJ and live singers.
Among those to attend included Santa Barbara City Councilmembers Gregg Hart and Jason Dominguez, Santa Barbara County Supervisor Janet Wolf and actor Christopher Lloyd.