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County charity walks set new fund-raising record at $613,025

By Staff | Aug 16, 2012

From left, Matt Bailey, Charity Walk chairman; Peter Tierney of the SPCA; Carlayna Nakamura and Mitch Mitchell from Hale Makua; Alison Wolton and Lisa Varde from the Maui Memorial Medical Center Foundation; and Carol Reimann of the Maui Hotel & Lodging Association hold the large presentation check announcing the record-breaking funds raised during Maui County’s charity walks.

WAILUKU – The Maui Hotel & Lodging Association last week announced the record-breaking amount raised for Maui County during the 34th annual Visitor Industry Charity Walk.

The tally is an impressive $613,025 – $120,725 more than last year’s previous record-setting amount.

Held earlier this year, the events on Maui, Molokai and Lanai under the jurisdiction of the Maui Hotel & Lodging Association drew more than 2,750 walkers.

The breakdown of results by island is: Maui, $584,587 raised, 2,500 walkers; Molokai, $12,666, 130 walkers; and Lanai, $15,772, 120 walkers.

In a special Charity Reception held at the Grand Wailea last week, more than 84 nonprofit organizations were honored in appreciation of their participation in the annual event that emphasizes and validates the visitor industry’s commitment to the community.

In addition, the following top fundraisers were recognized for their efforts:

Individual Raising the Most: Mitch Mitchell, Hale Makua, $10,660; Peter Tierney, SPCA, $10,445; and Suzie Moore, Kahana Falls, $6,775.

Nonprofit Agency Raising the Most: Hale Makua, $33,020; Maui Memorial Medical Center Foundation, $21,804; and SPCA, $18,797.

Business Raising the Most: HC&S, $11,372; Bank of Hawaii, $9,912; and Avis/Budget Group, $4,456.

Property Raising the Most Per Capita: Kahana Falls, $257 per employee; Grand Wailea, $219 per employee; and Maui Condo & Home, $200 per employee.

Property Raising the Most: Grand Wailea, $100,001; Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa, $26,317; and Royal Lahaina Resort, $16,570.

The Charity Walk is one of the largest single-day fundraising events in Hawaii. Statewide, more than $1.4 million was raised through walks held on Oahu, Kauai, the Big Island, Maui, Lanai and Molokai.

Maui continues to raise more dollars per capita than any other island, and, for the third year in a row, raised more money than any other island in the state.

Since MHLA started hosting the event in 1980, Maui County has raised a cumulative total of $6.4 million to benefit hundreds of nonprofit organizations on Maui, Molokai and Lanai. All of the funds raised on Maui stay in Maui County to benefit the local community and its residents.

Over the years, there have been many heartwarming stories about generous individuals who go above-and-beyond in raising funds for their non-profits during the Charity Walk.

Because of these amazing stories, for the second year in a row, MHLA awarded a Charity Walk Inspiration Award. This award recognizes an individual who not necessarily raises the most money, but who has a compelling story that best exemplifies the true spirit of giving.

The 2012 winner is Phyllis McOmber of Lanai. Part of the Lanai community for 30 years, she was a founder of the Lanai Community Health Clinic in 2008. Their goal was to ensure that Lanai has good quality, low-cost health care. She has also been deeply involved with many other charitable organizations on the Pineapple Isle for decades.

Earlier this year, when MHLA began planning for a Charity Walk on Lanai, McOmber was diagnosed with brain cancer – her fourth bout with the disease.

Despite feeling ill, she continued be part of the Charity Walk’s Team Lanai and was instrumental in Lanai’s success in raising $15,772 for their island.

Along with receiving the Charity Walk Inspiration Award, a donation of $5,000 in McOmber’s name has been awarded to the Lanai Community Health Clinic.

The annual Charity Walk is the visitor industry’s way of giving back to the community. Many MHLA property and business members work year-round to raise funds for this worthy endeavor.

“Our industry remains committed to providing for and positively impacting the lives of the people of Maui County,” said Carol Reimann, MHLA executive director.

“This year, we are thrilled to have raised $120,725 more than last year, which has enabled us to award significant and valuable funding to 84 worthy Maui County organizations from the event’s proceeds. The range of services of these recipients touches many residents’ lives, from children to the elderly, from athletic organizations to service-related agencies, from health to housing. It is our goal to impact many lives by supporting a variety of charitable organizations that provide valuable services and to ultimately improve our community.”

MHLA is a nonprofit organization founded in the 1980s to advocate for the visitor industry. The organization also provides educational opportunities via the Academy of Hospitality & Tourism and scholarships for University of Hawaii Maui College students. MHLA benefits the community through the annual Visitor Industry Charity Walk, Excellence in Education golf tournament and Kupuna Dinner. For additional information, contact MHLA at 244-8625 or info@mauihla.org.

Mark your calendar for next year’s Visitor Industry Charity Walk: May 4 on Molokai and Lanai and May 11 on Maui.