Making a Difference: Franny Gerthoffer

Hilton Head Humane Association

December 2021 Issue
Part of Pink's "Making a Difference: 6 Women Who Care" Special Section
Photography by Jacie Elizabeth Millen

BD Franny1221Franny Gerthoffer
Charitable Organization:
Hilton Head Humane Association

Mission: To improve the lives of homeless dogs and cats while also working to substantially lower the number of animals reproduced or relinquished.
Locations: 10 Humane Way, HHI, SC 29926 and 10 Pritcher Point, Okatie, SC 29909

Tell us about Hilton Head Humane Association:
It’s a happy place to work and play—the best job on earth! There is nothing better than taking good care of animals and then finding them the best homes.

What’s new and exciting at Hilton Head Humane Association?
Our new state-of-the-art facility in Okatie has made all the difference as we continue to move forward in helping animals not only in our county, but also across the state. Our public/private partnership with Beaufort County Animal Services has proven to be successful and has opened the doors for us to provide more service to the community.

What is your role in the organization and how did you come to this role?

I have been the Executive Director at HHHA for 16 years. I started as a volunteer, cleaning kennels, driving animals to vet appointments, evacuating animals during hurricanes, (Macon was a great place to evacuate, and most of Hilton Head was at the same hotel—animals in every room!) While I did have a full-time job with Hilton Head Health Institute, eventually I joined the Board of Hilton Head Humane and focused on fundraising. The more time I spent with the organization, the more I was motivated by the mission. It’s really good work! When the opportunity came to apply for the director’s position, I threw my hat in the ring, and the rest is history! There has never been a day in all of my years working for Hilton Head Humane that I didn’t want to come to work. It’s true when you love what you do!

What brings you the most joy in being a part of this organization?

The animals—each and every one of them! Also, the people I work with and the people I meet; the supporters who are always at the other end of a phone call when I need their help. This place and these people are amazing!

It’s the most wonderful time of the year to feel emotionally warm. Please share something great that has happened recently because of this organization.
Riley Miller, a local broadcaster, found two kittens while she was out on her morning run. She immediately called us for help, which we were happy to offer. We medically updated and neutered both kittens. Thankfully they were in relatively good shape. Our next call was to Riley to thank her for saving the kittens and update her on their status. During that phone call something very joyous happened: Riley decided to make both kittens a part of the Miller family! So, in the case of these two little kittens, their finder was their keeper!

Tell us the most important thing people should know about Hilton Head Humane Association:
Our staff and volunteers are truly the backbone of all we do. They work tirelessly on behalf of the animals. We are a 7-days-a-week/24-hour-a-day operation. Weekends and holidays off are not a part of our schedule! The animals dictate the schedule, which sometimes includes around-the-clock care. Our staff and volunteers never let the animals down!

How can people get involved, help, donate or volunteer with HHHA? Do you have a wish list?
Now that we have two animal locations, we are always happy to train volunteers to help with the daily care of the animals. Volunteers have been our saving grace! The best way to get started is to visit, call, or email, and let us know your interest. We also have a busy eBay department. There are many opportunities to help! Our wishlist is on
Some items include Pedigree canned dog food and wet and dry puppy food, MilkBones, Purina Kitten dry food, Friskies canned paté cat food. The wish list is long, so please check it out.

Anything else you want to add?

Our board of directors are the very best! They work tirelessly behind the scenes to support the daily operations. Their knowledge and insight is much appreciated by all. The Board definitely makes our workload much easier!