Kelly Callahan Cruise

President and CEO
United Way Association of South Carolina
Kelly Callahan Cruise is the President & CEO of United Way Association of South Carolina. With over 15 years of experience in non-profit management, Ms. Cruise is the leader of not only one of the largest 2-1-1 call centers in the country, but also one of the largest United Way state associations in the network. Shortly after joining the organization, she was asked to take the lead in expanding the South Carolina 2-1-1 system. Since 2010, SC 2-1-1 has grown statewide from a 10-seat call center to an over 250-seat contact center, securing both state and federal contracts. SC 2-1-1 has broadened its reach outside of state borders to provide service to other areas of the country. In 2016, SC 2-1-1 managed over 3.5 million contacts via phone, chat and text. Recognized nationwide as one of the largest non-profit call centers in the country, SC 2-1-1 continues to grow, providing services in the health and human sector, providing a lifeline in disasters, and extending a safety net to our most vulnerable citizens. United Way Association of South Carolina also serves as the state’s lead agency on volunteerism and national service as the South Carolina Commission for the National and Community Service Commission. Since 2007, Over $15.1 million federal dollars have been matched with local dollars to implement local programs focused on improving education, economic opportunity, environmental stewardship, disaster response, veterans and military families, and healthy futures. The organization published a report in 2016 that that measures income adequacy based on the costs of basic needs for working families in each county in the state, across 152 different family types. “The Self-Sufficiency Standard for South Carolina” has gained attention statewide due to its credible and comprehensive analysis of what a family needs ‘to make ends meet’ without the help of government assistance. The Association also provides advocacy leadership and utilizes data from the SC 2-1-1 contact center to provide support to those efforts. As a non-profit leader, Ms. Cruise believes that it takes innovation and technology to provide the assistance needed to those who are difficult to reach. An avid reader of Wired magazine, she is constantly musing of ways to bring new technology into the non-profit sector. She is a member of the American Society of Association Leadership, United Way Worldwide, Together SC, The Blue Ridge Institute, Women in Philanthropy and is a Riley Fellow from Furman University. As a mother of three, she believes in teaching her children to fight for social justice through her leadership in action.


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Today’s customer wants access to information here and now. The delivery of instantaneous support must be a key focus as customers expect questions and problems to be resolved as
quickly as possible. UWASC’s SC 2-1-1 Contact Center, one of the largest non-profit contact in the U.S. with 250 seats, handles life and death customer interactions. Discover how they
are leveraging innovative technology – usually reserved for the corporate sector – in a non-profit environment. The full safety net include: chat, text, e-mail, and apps to speed up human
assistance to connect “customers” to the services they need.