Board of Directors

HHMB Annual Report

Our Mission is to provide a healthy environment for registered Myrtle Beach High School students who are designated homeless and who are actively completing their academic requirements to receive a high school diploma.

Hope House of Myrtle Beach Board of Directors:

Gretchen G. Abney, President & Co-Founder

Mary “Cookie” Goings, Vice-President & Co-Founder

Kelly Payne, Secretary

Burt Huggins, Treasurer

Todd Harms, Director

Sue Cranford, Director

Roz Gentry, Director

Diane P’Pool, Director

George W. “Bo” Bryan, Advisory & Co-Founder

Myra Starnes, Advisory & Co-Founder

  • Our Executive Board meets the second Tuesday of month @ 5:30 PM
  • Hope House Board of Directors meets quarterly the second Tuesday of the month @ 5:30 PM

From the President

H.H.M.B. President’s 2015 Annual Report
General  Meeting, Fire Station #6, February 8, 2016

The 2015 year began on a grateful note for the outpouring of generosity our students received from the community during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. The continued need for a better system to run the Hope House Closet from which we distribute material donations to the students, however, had been made apparent in the hustle and bustle. Contacting the Myrtle Beach High School person in charge, a plan was devised to do a quarterly clearing of the out of season and age inappropriate clothing and pass them on to either Fostering Hope or Salvation Army who have trucks to pick them up. As the year progressed, the room used for our purposes was reassigned and we were moved into a smaller space. A staff change then followed as well which called for a meeting with the Principal and set forth a change for volunteer management of the closet. Other operations included our ongoing property search. The Carver Street premises we have looked at for several years was sold to the City of Myrtle Beach to be developed as a museum honoring the musicians who had performed there when the building was a night club in the forties and fifties. The Hope House Building Fund continues to grow as we seek a property within proximity to the high school. Meanwhile, we continue to rely on our Myrtle Beach High School surrogate parents to house our unaccompanied youth when no family members are available. This year the Hope House Executive Committee established a stipend for these Seahawk Families so that our students would feel less indebted to them for room and board. The City of Myrtle Beach through its New Directions agency took over Myrtle Beach Haven and, after renovation, reopened it in December as  New Directions for Families. This may at times be an option for an unaccompanied youth as well as for a student’s family fallen on hard times. And the Center f or Women and Children which assists clients with non-emergency, long term, transitional housing is also very comfortable, safe and well located housing for certain unaccompanied youth. Hope House was able to move two sisters who we have been housing in a motel for months into their own apartment at the center. It is with particular note that I say Hope House has played its part in helping our city to see where its programs for the homeless needed attention. Myrtle Beach can now adequately house and assist many more unfortunate homeless who want to improve their circumstances. Though children will always be a singular entity not to be mixed in with adults unless properly supervised, Hope House is living up to its mission of providing a safe and healthy environment for its students through every avenue we can create. We continue every means we can manage for outreach and to that end have this year published a quarterly e-mail newsletter, the data base from which we look to turn into a membership program in the future. At the close of the school year, Hope House had served 53 McKinney-Vento students. Twelve (12) unaccompanied youth were among them. Of the twelve (12), two (2) withdrew and another one (1) will return as a senior next fall. The remaining nine (9) were all seniors and graduated in June. Four (4) of these students were committed to college; two (2) joined the military; and the remaining three (3), who were undecided, became part of the work force. Luggage was purchased for those students attending college. We also served another nine (9) seniors throughout the year. Hope House of Myrtle Beach exists to serve ALL underprivileged students at M.B.H.S. in their efforts to get a degree; which means those who have not self-reported their circumstances for federal assistance through the McKinney-Vento Act are still a part of Hope House.

During 2015, the following achievements were:

  • Poster targeting M.B.H.S. students created and posted Grants sought and need for writer acknowledged Community food, clothing, drives increased
  • S.C. College Application Night at M.B.H.S. sponsored
  • Holiday Programs to sustain students through vacations expanded
  • HH supply closet and pantry reorganized and holiday needs prioritized
  • Meetings with M.B.H.S. Administrators for coordination of efforts advanced
  • M.B.H.S. Cafeteria outstanding lunch fees paid
  • Weekly distribution of clothing and groceries from school pantry continued
  • Board of Directors exemplary commitment noted
  • Fund Raising Standing Committee managed
  • Volunteers added
  • Conflict of Interest statement from all directors filed
  • Property search pursued
  • Attention to past donor list evaluated Chronology of student testimonials continued Ten (10) Frequently Asked Questions identified Young Life program sanctioned
  • Mentoring programs in county researched
  • Annual Budget formalized and approved
  • Strategic Plan 2015 & Business Plan 2015-16 implemented
  • Hope House mission reevaluated (by Executive Committee and Board) I.R.S. / S.C. State 2015 fillings accepted
  • City and Community relationships nurtured

Coastal Carolina University opportunities pursued

Community Fund Raising sanctioned

Grande Dunes Resolution Run

Channel 13 Three Degree Organization of the Month

Star Tek

Anchor Café Dollar Toss

  • Public Relations and speaking engagements throughout the community sustained

Ladies of the Moose

First United Methodist Tennessee Collier Circle

S.C. State Columbiettes

Penn State Alumni

Chicora Rotary Club

Kiwanis Club of Myrtle Beach

First United Church Women

Church Women United

Surfside Methodist Women

  • Grant applications initiated

M.B. First Presbyterian Church ($7,632.83)

Jackson Family Fund/Waccamaw Community Foundation ($5,200.00)

Webster Rogers Foundation ($750.00)

  • Media coverage received

Print – MB Herald, column mentions Red Nose Day; Grand Strand Mag Red Nose Day

Radio – WEZV/WKZQ Red Nose Day; Anchor Café Dollar Darts; Resolution Run

T.V. – WMBF/Red Nose Day

  • Marketing plan defined

Social Media/web site/Facebook expanded and improved

Rack Card updated & reprinted

Quarterly newsletter published


Hope House continues to receive an impressive amount of community support during the year. The number of businesses, churches and groups who chose us as a beneficiary through either fund raising events and/or donating funds grew and speaks to the kind of response we have received to the crisis of these homeless students. Clothing drives and canned food drives by various organizations have been numerous. Collections for specialty items such as toiletries and paper goods are ongoing club projects. Once again, Hope House must acknowledge the amazing generosity and pledge First Presbyterian Church has shown us. The Benevolence Committee along with several groups within the church have tapped our students with their charity amounting to an amazing nine-thousand-two-hundred-ninety-one dollars and eighty-three cents ($9291.83) this year. Gratefully, the Myrtle Beach High School Guidance Department acts as our operations central. The holiday shopping trips for our Unaccompanied Youth arranged by First Pres with them each year are such a treat for these kids. And the relationship we maintain with the school’s administrators and staff is the backbone of our efforts to effectively reach out to those teens needing assistance in their goals to get a sound education and graduate.

This year Hope House celebrated Red Nose Day! On May 26 we gathered at the Anchor Café with our noses on and enjoyed taking part in this coast to coast campaign to end hunger in children. P.S.A.’s were sent to print, radio and television and coverage was good. Like the “Myrtle Manor” Premier Party last year, this kind of event is great to piggy back because of its splashiness. Our electronic mailing list is growing and we look forward to developing a membership program through our quarterly newsletter which is one of our long term goals. The rack card used to describe Hope House and what we do as well as to acquire contact information from interested parties was printed professionally this year, giving us a slicker marketing piece. Reaching the students themselves who are in need of our assistance may always be slightly challenging. But the board continues to look for ways to do so. During the summer of 2015 a committee was appointed to create a poster targeting these kids which, then, was professionally designed and printed by donating businesses. This was posted throughout the school and in recreational centers as well as a few other spots like the Boys & Girls Club. Other long term goals like seeking more host families to take in unaccompanied youth demand attention. We have been successful at getting some of the area churches to print this search in their weekly bulletins. Hope House feels that placing our teens in a family environment is more conducive to their all round development. Concerned with helping the student to feel unobliged and more independent, the board developed a policy to give host families a stipend toward his or her room and board.

Always conscientious of being good stewards, the Executive Committee, or elected officers of Hope House, have also given much thought to appropriating funds toward compelling areas of want. This year we identified those privileges which come with being a senior as a program to be sponsored. We have always provided funds for students who asked for assistance in paying for class photos, year books, prom tickets, senior trips and graduation because we believe in the value of giving them a great high school experience. Now our intent is to underwrite all of these expenses for every unaccompanied youth. We will also continue to financially assist any and all McKinney-Vento students by their needs. This is a significant allocation of funds of which the board believes our donors will approve. Having received one (1) very generous twenty- thousand dollar ($20,000.00) donation in December, we feel it is called for at this time to take such a step.

Again, this holiday season was busy and productive for Hope House. Holiday meals were distributed both at Thanksgiving and Christmas. So many civic clubs, church groups and individuals made our students a part of their Christmas observance. Food and clothing drives were many, matching the wish list we circulated. Gift cards were donated in abundance and our Treasurer created a more exacting way to track them. Well over fifteen thousand dollars ($15,000.00) was donated in addition to the exceptionally twenty- thousand dollars ($20,000.00) already mentioned. Our short term goal of growing grant writing was substantiated in our application to PNC Bank who awarded us $25,000.00 to be spent on students attending summer specialty camps. Hope House also applied for participation in the Low Country Day of Giving which will make its selections in the spring of 2016. It is clear we could use someone to pursue these avenues for us “full time”. We continue to identify other needs of our organization to match them with skills and talents of our Directors. And it is worth mentioning again this year that the commitment to duty this Board of Directors has demonstrated has been exemplary. We end the year having invested both a portion of our funds into a C.D. as well as moving our money market account to C.C.N. Bank for their better interest rates.

Respectfully submitted,

Gretchen G. Abney