Supporting grantees on the front lines of Maui

Earlier this month, the Foundation committed $850,000 in grants to aid initial relief efforts in communities severely affected by the wildfires on Maui. 

The majority of that funding contributed to the Hawai‘i Community Foundation’s Maui Strong Fund, which is supporting immediate and long-term recovery needs. Informed by state and county leaders, nonprofits, and community members, the foundation has developed a multiphase approach to its response. As of Aug. 30, nearly $68 million has been donated to the Maui Strong Fund, of which over $10 million has been distributed to a range of local nonprofits, including several Foundation grantees.

The Foundation and Jewish Federations of North America also provided grants to Jewish Community Services of Hawaiʻi to support Jewish organizations and individuals on the island as they contend with the aftermath of the wildfires. 

Below is a brief summary of the initial efforts of these grantees and others to foster the physical and mental health, well-being, and safety of children, adults, and families.

We will continue to work in solidarity and support of the West Maui communities for the duration of the relief and recovery efforts. 

  • Family Life Center, one of Maui’s largest providers serving people without housing, has partnered with Hawaii Off Grid to build ʻOhana Hope Village, a temporary housing solution made up of foldable container housing units that can house up to six people. The first phase is slated to open Sept. 4, with as many as 34 dwellings. Units will include private kitchens and bathrooms to create a community on a 10-acre site leased from King’s Cathedral Maui
  • Hawaiʻi Community Lending is helping residents file insurance claims and secure disaster aid, among other services. The nonprofit helps individuals, specifically Native Hawaiians, obtain permanent affordable housing and achieve financial security, building wealth that can be passed onto future generations.
  • Jewish Community Services of Hawaiʻi is addressing community and humanitarian needs in partnership with the four Jewish nonprofits on Maui, in addition to providing mental health services and case management.
  • Ka Hale A Ke Ola has provided emergency food and housing on Maui since 1986. Following the loss of its 78-unit Westside Center in Lahaina, the nonprofit shifted its efforts to activate a shelter and donation collection site. More than 140 people were evacuated from the Westside Center, and 25 residents moved to the shelter for emergency housing.
  • Maui Behavioral Health Resources, one of the largest mental health providers on the island, is mobilizing nearly 200 employees to help Lahaina residents recover from the trauma of the devastation. Youth counselors are assisting those in need at evacuation shelters and through the American Red Cross.
  • Maui Economic Opportunity is providing free legal assistance for those affected by the Maui wildfires on issues ranging from immigration to insurance claims to the replacement of vital documents. 
  • Maui Food Bank has swiftly activated to offer crucial support to the affected communities. Creating hubs all over the island, the Maui Food Bank maintains active collaboration with over 170 partner groups to facilitate the distribution of food, water, and essential supplies to evacuees and others affected. 

Photo credit: Chef Hui and Brendan Smith

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