FLORENCE, S.C. – The United Way of Florence County announced on Thursday at its Community Investment Committee (CIC) Allocation Luncheon that it will be partnering with 22 agencies that will share $850,750 in 30 programs during the 2020-2021 fiscal year that begins Wednesday.

The event was a celebratory luncheon honoring the 22 partner agencies.

“We have added four new agencies,” said Jenna Nance, the marketing manager of the United Way of Florence County.

The new agencies for the 2020-2021 year are Harvest Hope Food Bank, The Naomi Project, Foster Care Clothing Project and Tenacious Grace Ministries.

Quincy Kennedy, the chairman of the CIC of United Way, said he has been on the United Way Board for a long time but that being on the CIC is a real eye-opener.

“Until you sit in front of them (agencies), you don’t know what they really do,” he said.

In the past, Kennedy said the agencies have come before the allocation committee and made a presentation for an estimated 25 minutes about what they do and their needs. He said last year the CIC decided to go to the agencies to see where they work and what they do, which he said gave them a different perspective.

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Mike and Charisse Reichenbach were the keynote speakers  for a United Way of Florence County Luncheon conducted at Florence First Presbyterian Church.

This year was even different. Because of the coronavirus, Kennedy said they did a video conference.

“It was an interesting and challenging experience, and it was difficult for everyone,” Kennedy said. “While not physically there, we still had an interactive experience.”

In announcing the amount of funds to be dispersed between the agencies, Kevin Russell of United Way said that a little more than $850,000 is “a meaningful number that will make a meaningful impact” for the 22 agencies it supports.

United Way Board Chairman Les Ward welcomed approximately 30 to 35 members from these agencies to the luncheon. It was his first official event, as it was Michelle Byers, the campaign director.

Byers said this year the campaign will stress “local.” The slogan is “live local, give local, help local.”

Mike and Charisse Reichenbach were the guest speakers for the luncheon.

Mike, who has a background in accounting and corporate finance, gave the nonprofits some insight on running a nonprofit like a business.

He said although you are a nonprofit, you are still a business.

He said there has been a sharp decline in giving since the coronavirus pandemic, and charitable agencies are going to need to be careful how they spend their money.

“Cash flow is truly king,” he said. “Cash is what is going to matter.”

He said givers will consider carefully how they spend their cash and what organizations they want to support.

He told the agencies they all have wonderful hearts, but that will only go so far.

He said nonprofits must look at their budgets and find ways to trim the fat. And he said financial literacy is important. He said they need to know what terms like profit and loss, return on investment, net profit and balance sheet mean.

While Mike spoke about the practical aspects of nonprofits and business, Charisse said she wanted to talk about the spiritual aspect and the importance of prayer. She offered a prayer for the agencies. She told them they need to make not good decisions but the best decisions for their agencies and the people they serve.

The 2020 partner agencies supported by United Way of Florence are American Red Cross-Eastern S.C. Chapter; Boys & Girls Clubs of the Pee Dee Area; CARE House of the Pee Dee; Children’s Cancer Partners of the Carolinas; Chrysalis Center of Circle Park; Civil Air Patrol; Florence Literacy Council; Florence County Disabilities & Special Needs; Florence Family YMCA; Girl Scouts of Eastern South Carolina; Lighthouse Ministries; Mercy Medicine FREE Clinic; Pee Dee Area Council Boy Scouts of America; Pee Dee Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Assault; Pee Dee Speech & Hearing; The Salvation Army; Senior Citizens Association in Florence County; and Youth Mentors, plus the four new agencies: Foster Care Clothing Closet, Harvest Hope Food Bank, The Naomi Project and Tenacious Grace Ministries.

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