Our Islands, Our Future

Recently, all the Rotary Clubs on Maui were invited to gather at Lahainaluna High School to welcome the Rotary International President Gordon McInally, his wife and fellow Rotarian, Heather McInally, and Maui Mayor Richard Bissen. Over 150 Maui Rotarians, as well as some from other Hawaiian Islands and Canada, heard about a multitude of ways that Rotarians have met the needs of people harmed by the fires in Lahaina and Upcountry.

Mayor Bissen said, “I’m here to recognize the extraordinary work that Rotary District 5000 has done to help the Maui Fire Relief Fund. Your model of ‘service above self’ has transformed aloha into action in the aftermath of the August 2023 wildfires. Your response efforts, handing out hundreds of food and gas gift cards, and helping with internet connectivity, keiki supplies, and so much more in financial help, has been outstanding.”

The August 8th wildfires were a life-changing tragedy for many Maui families and friends. “Rotary members took immediate action,” said Joanne Laird, Maui Rotary Advisor. “As we came together to recover and rebuild, we formed a Fire Relief Fund through the Hawaiʻi Rotary District 5000 Foundation. A committee was organized shortly after to find the greatest needs for distribution of the $3.2 million collected.”

The Rotary Club plans to use $2 million for long-term projects such as rebuilding and a memorial park. During the event, McInally presented the Kanikapila Project – a ukulele program funded by Rotary to provide ukuleles and instruction to fire-survivor students – with a check for $20,745. In addition, he presented a check for $10,000 to support David Malo Day at Lahainaluna High School.

McInally concluded, “The money Rotary has raised and the work being done is a great service to Maui relief victims. We have to work into the future together. I believe that an organization like Rotary can make a difference in the world. I believe that we all have the spirit of caring in our hearts, and Rotary is a wonderful way to deliver that care for people. We can improve things and ultimately create hope worldwide.”

There are more than 1.4 million Rotarians in over 200 countries who have donated more than $3 million to help Maui’s recovery.
Gordon McInally, Rotary International President