Over 300 volunteers from a host of organizations officially started United Way of Horry County’s 2018 fundraising campaign by completing a dozen Day of Caring projects at community partners such as A Father’s Place in Conway and the men’s shelter of New Directions in Myrtle Beach.
For years, Day of Caring has launched the annual campaign at a breakfast announcement of Pacesetters contributions before volunteers go to work on projects such as cleaning, landscaping and painting. For the 2018 drive, 18 Pacesetters, including the cities of Conway and North Myrtle Beach, raised $349,000 – 27 percent of the $1.3 million goal. Travis Dannelly of CresCom Bank is the 2018 campaign chairman.
Genie Sherard, president of the United Way of Horry County, said the goal was lowered by $25,000 from last year’s $1.325 million goal, which was surpassed in a hugely successful campaign that raised $1.426 million, one of the best outcomes in the history of the United Way. It was a stellar year, Sherard said, but some of the major contributors cannot repeat their numbers and other gifts a year ago were one-time contributions.
“You always have ebb and flow,” Sherard said. “You have to look at each year on its own.”
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So, in view of the economic realities, the 2018 goal is $1.3 million, well under the amount raised last year and less than the total numbers prior to the recession of 2008. That national downturn impacted the economy in many ways. For many United Way partners, it meant increased demand for food and other safety net help at the same time charitable giving dropped – a double-whammy.
At A Father’s Place, volunteers from Santee Cooper and HTC set up a Born Learning Trail, a set of 10 signs describing fun activities to help early childhood brain development. The trail is a product of the worldwide United Way, and the new one at A Father’s Place is the second in Horry County. Julia Nichols, communications/marketing coordinator, said other Day of Caring volunteers refurbished the trail at the North Myrtle Beach Park & Sports Complex.
At the New Directions men’s shelter, volunteers from South State Bank joined the utility employees to replace dining area flooring with high grade vinyl tile, and others reorganized second-floor rooms. Other Day of Caring projects included a butterfly garden at the Horry County Socastee Recreation Center; the annual Horry County Disabilities and Special Needs party at Ocean Lakes Campground, a favorite of many volunteers; and updating information at Neighbor to Neighbor.
Volunteers also power washed and painted the building on Mr. Joe White Avenue in Myrtle Beach that is shared by United Way partners Helping Hand of Myrtle Beach and Community Kitchen; painted at SOS Health Care in Myrtle Beach and Surfside Beach; cleaned the community garden in Conway; replaced a ramp, took inventory and restocked at North Strand Helping Hand.
A highlight of Day of Caring was a long-term service award to Ann Graham, United Way’s director of administration, who recently marked 40 years of service. The national award goes to United Way staff people across the nation. Graham of Conway was invited to a national presentation event. But in typical fashion, she preferred to receive it in Horry County, not in front of strangers. Former United Way President Olivia Garren, with whom Graham worked for 36 years, presented the award with Sherard.
Although the goal is less than last year’s, United Way volunteers will be looking for new contributors, individuals and businesses, to put another fundraising campaign over its goal. One of the factors that can help is expanded use of Mobile Cause, an application for mobile phones. Employees may make their payroll deduction pledge via their phones, and United Way prepares the list for the employer.
In advance of the campaign kickoff, the 18 Pacesetters raised $349,000 – 27 percent of the $1.3 million goal.
Here are the Pacesetters for the 2018 fundraising campaign of United Way of Horry County:
Blue Cross Blue Shield, City of Conway, City of North Myrtle Beach, Coastal Carolina National Bank, Coldwell Banker Chicora Real Estate, First Citizens Bank, First Palmetto Bank, Grand Strand Water and Sewer Authority, Jackson Companies, Peoples Underwriters, Publix Coastal North, Publix Forest Square, Publix Grand Dunes, Publix Prince Creek, Sandhills Bank, South Atlantic Bank, South State Bank, Spann Roofing and Sheet Metal Inc.
United Way of Horry County
P.O. Box 673
Conway, SC 29528
Phone | 843-347-5195
Online | www.unitedwayhorry.org