The United Way of Horry County board of directors approved financial support totaling $744,200 for 36 programs and initiatives providing a variety of vital education, financial stability and health services.
The UWHC directors also set a goal of $1.375 million for the 2018 fundraising campaign which will begin in September. The new goal is $50,000 higher than for the campaign that ended April 30 with a total of over $1.4 million in contributions and pledges.
“As we encourage our partners to do more, we will do more ourselves,” UWHC President Genie Sherard said of the higher goal, which has been increased the past several years as fundraising reached goals again after some lean years following the recession of 2008.
The final figure for fundraising drives includes pledges not ultimately paid because of people leaving a job or moving away; UWHC has shrinkage of 10 percent, or $140,000, Sherard said. Operating costs total about $213,000.
Recipients of United Way money undergo a rigorous process of application and investigation.
“Our investment committee only puts money out there that is asked for and earned,” Sherard said. The investment volunteers “are committed to maximizing our supporters’ dollars in their investment recommendations.”
The entire process, formerly known as allocations, is more efficient, enhanced by Rosanne Dates, community impact coordinator.
New Directions of Horry County received $75,000 for its Back to Work /Back to Life programs in Myrtle Beach. New Directions is the result of merging several safety net programs now classified as financial stability services. They include five of the six nonprofits receiving the largest financial allocations: Helping Hand of Myrtle Beach, $52,500 for its food pantry and client assistance; American Red Cross Eastern S.C. Chapter, household fire response program in Horry County and North Strand Helping Hand, both $40,000; Churches Assisting People of Conway, $34,200.
Allocations were made to 12 financial stability programs, including Back Pack Buddies of Help 4 Kids, $25,000; North Strand Housing Shelter, $19,500; South Strand Helping Hand, $20,000; Community Kitchen of Myrtle Beach, $19,500; and A Father’s Place Pathways to Employment program, $20,000.
In health services, Friendship Medical Clinic was awarded $65,000. Other allocations include Family Outreach of Horry County’s Parents on Point, $28,500; Neighbor to Neighbor senior transport programs, $24,000; Classy Smiles (dental care for at-risk children), $23,000; and Horry County Disabilities & Special Needs, $20,000. Fourteen health programs received allocations.
Education programs include those of the Boys and Girls Club of the Grand Strand, $26,000; Claire Chapin Epps Family YMCA, $25,000; and Freedom Readers, $20,000. The funded education programs include seven of the United Way, such as summer reading camp and reading & tutoring with Horry County Schools.
Other UWHC initiatives include the 2-1-1 helpline to services, Get Connected and Charity Tracker, which likely will be a requirement for future funding. The board also directed about $275,000 to reserve funds, which were depleted during lean years after 2008 and to initiatives such as the HCS reading and tutoring program.
The 2-1-1 program is “becoming more and more critical,” Sherard said.
In May, there were more than 4,000 calls about access to health care and more than 1,000 about food.