Horry United Way Goal Increased for New Drive in Horry County

After reaching its fundraising campaign goal for the first time in several years, the United Way of Horry County has increased to $1.3 million the goal for the drive which begins in September. Campaign chairman Justin Lee feels the bigger number “is very attainable.”

“I have some big shoes to fill” says the Myrtle Beach banker, crediting 2015 chairwoman Lisa Bourcier. “It appears our community is healing” after the recessionary economy that had prevented the United Way from reaching its $1.275 million goal in recent years. United Way fundraising totals illustrate the depth of the recession of 2008.

Prior to the national economic downturn, United Way of Horry County raised $1,491,000, well over the $1.475 million goal.

Total 2016 allocations to nearly 40 nonprofits are $818,800, an increase from $779,850 for 2015 but below the amounts for 2014 ($856,150) and 2013 ($884,950). The North Strand Housing Shelter was allocated $18,000 because the Longs facility has expanded. It had received $4,300 and $5,000 in United Way funds. The Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club in Conway also received a $10,000 increase (total: $23,000) because of its larger facility.

Two community partners were added: Grand Strand Miracle Leagues ($5,000) and SOS Healthcare ($5,000). The American Red Cross area chapter’s 2016 allocation is $60,000, still the second largest number but $5,000 less than was allocated the previous cycle and $15,000 less than the $75,000 for 2014.

The largest single 2016 allocation is $62,500 to Friendship Medical Center, which had the same number for 2015 and $72,000 for 2014 and 2013. United Way president Genie Sherard, who “sat in on every one” of the evaluations that determine recommendations to the board, says “each allocation year is a whole new year.”

Nonprofits seeking funding undergo a detailed examination of programs, budgets and financial statements to determine how the nonprofit fits into overall community needs. An organization’s own fundraising capabilities are considered.

Larger allocations include those to Helping Hand of Myrtle Beach ($51,100), CAP in Conway ($34,200), North Strand Helping Hand ($32,500), and The Salvation Army of Horry County ($21,900). All the amounts are increases from the allocations a year ago.

The fundraising campaign that ended April 30 started with a 90-day blitz from mid-September to mid-December. The campaign was ahead of previous years after the first 90 days. Sherard says setting a firm ending on April 30 was something volunteers wanted.

“This inspired people ... to have a deadline” and volunteers really scrambled to reach the goal.

The 2015-16 campaign kicks off with the annual Day of Caring on Sept. 11. Lee and Sherard are adding a division for new businesses.

Lee has Horry County roots and grew up in Florence. He is a graduate of the University of South Carolina, has been in Myrtle Beach banking for 15 years and now is senior vice president of Coastal Carolina National Bank. He has several years experience in the United Way, including heading the Myrtle Beach Business Division.

Lee is open to all suggestions and, in particular, is looking for new volunteers who will “breathe new life” into the United Way campaign. “We want anybody that wants to help.”

[Hed] How to help

United Way campaign chairman Justin Lee is looking for new volunteers, including those not involved with United Way, or those who may have experience in other United Way organizations.

Contact the United Way of Horry County at (843) 347-5195 or online at www.unitedwayhcsc.org