Travis Dannelly watched his parents’ involvement in local civic organizations growing up, and always knew he wanted to give the same level of commitment to his community.
He’s doing just that, and then some, as he takes on his new role as the chief operating officer of the United Way of Horry County (UWHC) this week.
“I look forward to better helping uplift all communities of Horry County through our mission,” Dannelly said.
Dannelly was reared in Conway. He graduated from Carolina Forest High School in 2002 before going on to attend Coastal Carolina University. He played football under Coach David Bennett, and went on to work in the banking industry at both First Citizens Bank and CresCom Bank beginning in 2008.
“We were really pushed to be involved from the university standpoint, from a coaching standpoint, and from my parents’ standpoint,” Dannelly said. “Over my 10 years in banking, I’ve always stayed involved [in civic organizations] in one varying degree or another.”
He’s served on the board of the United Way for the past three years, and serves on the boards of the Conway Chamber of Commerce, Sertoma Inc., CCU’s Alumni Association and the Horry County Higher Education Commission.
Justin Lee, chairman of the board of UWHC, said that they are excited about what Dannelly will bring to the table.
“Travis is enthusiastic, empathetic and motivated, all of which are qualities the search committee was looking for in the new leader of United Way of Horry County. We are grateful to have Travis as CEO. His passion for this Community is unparalleled. I’m confident that this passion will drive him, the United Way staff, our Board and partners to do influential work for the Horry County community,” Lee said.
Dannelly said he’s fortunate to lead a mission in an agency that will directly improve the community he grew up in, as his new office is almost across the street from where he was raised.
His first day on the job was this past Monday, and he said he was thankful to have exiting CEO Genie Sherard mentoring him this week.
“I’ve got my work cut out for me…some big shoes to fill,” Dannelly said. “I’ve got a great staff to work with…very community-centric board members, committee members and staff. They are true stewards of this community and of all the communities in Horry County.”
Prior to his new position, Dannelly headed up the United Way campaign, which will wrap up soon. He is proud to say they are only a few thousand dollars away from their $1.3 million goal.
“I want to make sure every dollar is really valued and maximizes the return on investment of our community for our community,” Dannelly said. “We’ve got our thumb on the pulse of the community. Education, health and financial stability are the three-prong approach to the mission of UWHC, and it’s something near and dear to my heart.”
Dannelly said he has a 100-day plan for his first months as CEO, which includes making an effort to meet every director of the agencies that are part of the United Way.
“I want to find out where our abilities are meeting the needs of the communities and find other opportunities…” Dannelly said. “There’s something about human interaction…eye contact that drives accountability and genuine care for one another.
“We’re working to foster more opportunities not only for current agencies but those we have opportunities/open doors with to folks that fall in line with our mission,” he said.
The UWHC Day of Caring in September will kick off their yearly campaign, followed by their Day of Reading and right now, they are finishing up their May Day bags.
Area chambers of commerce and other groups are facilitating the collection of essential personal care items that will be placed into bags and redeployed to those that are shut-in, or those who don’t have the ability to get out often.
“I genuinely care about the greater good of the people in [Horry County],” Dannelly said.
Dannelly lives in Conway with his wife Kim and children, Addison and Maddox. They love to spend their spare time outdoors, whether it’s hunting, fishing, traveling or just heading to a local festival or Coastal ball game.