United Way fundraising in Georgetown and Horry counties remains on track to reach goals that help fund dozens of vital nonprofit organizations. Both United Way organizations have set dates for annual volunteer recognition events which traditionally signal the conclusion of the annual campaigns.
The Georgetown County United Way has reached 72 percent of its $475,000 goal, resource development director Phillip Keilen says. The United Way of Horry County is at 92 percent of its $1.275 million goal, according to marketing and communication coordinator Jill Watts.
One of Georgetown County’s largest employers, Georgetown Hospital System, holds its United Way campaign in April, so that major segment will be nearing a wrap when the United Way annual volunteer appreciation and awards ceremony is held April 25 at Greater Bible Way Church in Georgetown. The guest speaker for the event is Joe Waters of Greenville, vice president of policy and communications for the Institute for Child Success, a statewide S.C. organization.
The 2,200-employee hospital campaign will complete the corporate area, which has had good reports from supporters such as International Paper, Santee Cooper, Brookgreen Gardens and Georgetown County Schools. The latter met its goal, matching last year’s GCS contributions. Leadership and small business segments of the Georgetown County campaign are ongoing. Overall, “we’re running about equal to last year,” Keilen says. A veteran nonprofit professional, he joined the Georgetown County United Way last year.
In Horry County, campaign chairwoman Rebecca Hardwick says, “We still have many opportunities” to reach the goal by the March 20 annual volunteer recognition luncheon at Ocean Lakes Family Campground. Hardwick notes that volunteers have pledge cards from a February phone blitz for folks who have given in the past but perhaps have not been contacted for the current campaign. Also, several larger accounts are done online and reporting has not been completed of amounts raised or pledged. “I am confident” the campaign will reach its goal by March 20, she says.
An expanded “Caring for Kindergartners” with Coastal Carolina University student athletes and coaches also will be on March 20. Watts says CCU participants will read the Shel Silverstein book “The Giving Tree” in an expected 18 of 23 Horry County schools with kindergarten classes. The program, a United Way initiative, was held for a decade with football players and coaches, but not last year in the wake of CCU Coach David Bennett’s dismissal. As part of the program, kindergartners make cards for seniors. The cards are placed in May Day baskets.
Keilen noted that uncertainty in the economy can make contributors more reserved about giving. That’s a fact of life for most if not all of the nearly 70 nonprofits supported by our two United Way organizations. The same sour economy that makes raising money a tough task also drives up needs for the vital services provided by United Way agencies.
The United Way still works, and our neighbors helped daily by area nonprofits are depending on successful 2012-13 campaigns. If you haven’t made a pledge or contribution, or are in a position to increase your giving, we urge you to act soon.