Friday, August 15, 2014
It’s been about 20 years since Lucy Woodhouse first came to Georgetown, and there are traces of her across the nonprofit community.
Service Over Self, an organization she founded in the mid-90s, is still thriving, and Georgetown County Habitat for Humanity has continued to grow since she left her role as executive director in 1999.
And now, after many years in Greenville, she’s back in Georgetown as the new CEO of the Georgetown County United Way. She takes the helm Aug. 18.
“This job just spoke to me,” she said with a smile.
Woodhouse has more than 25 years of experience in nonprofit administration, but she will also bring with her experience as an executive director, board of directors member, volunteer, fundraiser and grant writer for a variety of nonprofits.
“I’m excited,” she said. “One of the best things about my interview process here was that I could see how engaged the board was, they had a vision, and they wanted someone to take the time to fulfil that vision.”
That was a thrill for Woodhouse.
“I love coming into an organization and making it strong, making it better, and helping build that foundation. … I believe I’m always going to be successful in what I do, that’s just my personality, so I can’t wait to bring that to the United Way.
She hasn’t started her new position yet, but Woodhouse already has ideas for some big changes she plans to introduce to the United Way.
Expanding its coverage area is the largest change.
“We are the Georgetown County United Way, but really it’s the Georgetown and Williamsburg counties United Way.
“They are in as much need as Georgetown County is, and they’re technically under our jurisdiction, we just haven’t done a lot to reach out to them.”
She also hopes to work more closely with area businesses to ensure the organization thrives financially in the future.
Recruiting more volunteers is also a goal, but not one she’s worried about: “I think every single person wants to be a part of something bigger than they are.”
But with so many things to do, where does she plan to start?
“Well, we need a few more people on the board. We need to have a good, diverse mix.”
Once the board is replenished, rebuilding the committees will follow.
But after that, she’s unsure what will follow.
“We need to help create a vision, where the United Way is going to take us, and I don’t know where that is yet.”
It’s a challenge Woodhouse said she’s ready to embrace.
“We have a wide variety of people here, from the very wealthy to the very rural, the very poor, and there’s so much to do, it’s important to think about how can we use both of those to make something good. … What are the areas we can make a difference? What are the areas that aren’t being addressed?”
Her biggest task, she said, will be “mobilizing the community resources, and that means money, people, talent and skill.
“I like to enable people. Everyone has a talent or a skill they can contribute.”
Luckily for Woodhouse, her family is just as enthusiastic about her new career as she is.
“The boys are just awesome,” she said of 15-year-old Colt and 13-year-old Bryson. “They have just taken this move and run full force with it.”
The family, including Bob the dog, has been established in Pawleys Islands for several weeks now and is already adjusting to the beach lifestyle. Woodhouse said Colt has been marching with the Waccamaw High School marching band for a couple weeks and Bryson is preparing to join the soccer team at Waccamaw Middle School.
Beginning to interact with people in the community has reminded Woodhouse of why she enjoyed living in Georgetown previously, she said, and it’s what she’s looking forward to the most about her move back.
“Just getting back out in this community, meeting people, that has reminded me how great the community here is. That’s one of the things I remember most about living here; everyone is so caring, so giving.”