United Way volunteers, supporters should take well-deserved bow

By The Editorial Board

Highly motivated volunteers and generous donors throughout Horry County completed the best fundraising campaign in nine years for the United Way of Horry County, with a total of $1,426,270 – 107.6 percent of the goal and the fourth highest total in the organization’s 41 years.

The success of the drive is because of the volunteers and the businesses and individuals, “The sum of all parts,” campaign chairman John Rowe, a banker, said Tuesday. “This was a collective team effort that included volunteers, the United Way board of directors and leadership team and all the citizens that contributed.”

While Rowe modestly downplays his own role, United Way president Genie Sherard said Rowe’s “can-do attitude and positive approach were important parts of this campaign leadership.”

The campaign has seven divisions: Myrtle Beach, North Strand, South Strand, Inland, Public Service, Professional and Industry. The latter, chaired by veteran volunteer Gregg Turbeville, finished the drive at 119 percent of its goal. The North Strand Division, chaired by Marc Jordan, raised 114 percent.

Rowe noted that some new leaders were involved throughout the county. One example is Travis Dannelly, chair of the Myrtle Beach Division, which finished with 106 percent of its goal. In the division, the business and residential segments finished over 100 percent. Dannelly, a banker, will take the chairman’s role in the upcoming United Way campaign.

That gives us a succession plan for future campaigns,” Rowe said.

United Way fundraising campaigns typically are economic indicators of the strength of an area’s economy. After a strong finish in 2008, finishing over $1.4 million, subsequent drives faltered as area’s economy - and the nation’s - fell into a deep, protracted recession. Campaign goals were reduced to match the economic realities, and in several years, campaigns came up short of their goals. Then goals were met and modestly increased by $25,000 in each of the last two years.

As is the case in all of the nonprofits served by the United Way, volunteers play a significant role. Over 60 are expected for a Volunteer Victory Luncheon Noon Thursday at the Dunes Club in Myrtle Beach. More than 700 May Day bags were delivered on Tuesday to homebound seniors.

“Scores of volunteers” donated contents for the bags. Still more volunteers are involved in the “investment meetings going on now,” Sherard said.

United Way board member Lowell Carter of Gallivants Ferry entered a Monsanto corporation contest for farmers.

“It was something he wanted to do,” Sherard recalled. The award was a $2,500 contribution to a favorite charity. Carter won the $2,500 for the United Way.

In the Conway Residential subdivision (Inland Division), three significant contributions by new participants helped Conway Residential finish at 120 percent of its goal, the highest of all residential segments of the campaign. Publix is among the new businesses that have helped the campaign finish strongly. Along with the volunteers, thousands of neighbors assisted in myriad ways.

United Way community partners have much to celebrate.

Contact information

The United Way of Horry County is headquartered at 761 Century Circle, Conway.

Mail | P.O. Box 673, Conway, SC 29528

Phone | (843) 347-5195

Online | www.unitedwayhorry.org