The Hawai‘i Lodging & Tourism Association (HLTA), through its non-profit arm the Hawai‘i Hotel Industry Foundation (HHIF), distributed funds to 128 charities on O‘ahu at its annual post-Visitor Industry Charity Walk presentation ceremony at the Ala Moana Hotel’s Hibiscus Room. The funds were raised in May of this year through the 39th annual Charity Walk, in which 6,500 walkers enjoyed food, refreshments, and entertainment along a 5.25-mile route through Waikiki.
Charity Walk funds are distributed based on the deliberations and vetting of a committee consisting of members from the hospitality industry. Charities that fundraised monies were first awarded that money back and received extra funding through their grant application. Remaining funds were awarded based on the organization’s scope of work and by their level of participation with the event through walkers and volunteers.
“The Charity Walk allocation ceremony really is the culmination of all the hard work and generosity put forth by the visitor industry. The good these charities do for our communities is why we continue this tradition of giving, and it’s so great to see that many of them are getting more involved with our Charity Walk year after year,” said Mufi Hannemann, HLTA President & CEO.
Among the grant recipients were long-time beneficiaries such as Make-a-Wish Foundation, the National Kidney Foundation of Hawaii, VASH and Special Olympics Hawaii. However, it was the year of the newcomers as the top fundraisers of the walk, from the charity organizations group, were first-time participants Youth for Christ USA, Hui O Momilani PTSO, and second year participant Honolulu Community Action Program (HCAP).
Youth for Christ USA has run their Campus Life Clubs program for 70 years helping troubled youth in public high schools across the island. They will be expanding their outreach in the community by establishing clubs in 5 new high schools and building on the 16 schools they are currently in. The HCAP youth services program aims at breaking the cycle of poverty by motivating Hawaii’s underprivileged youth through innovative educational and leadership initiatives. The Hui O Momilani PTSO put their best foot forward this year to help raise funds for the Drama Program at Momilani Elementary School. The Drama program encourages student growth in public speaking and performance through themes relating to community engagement and character development.
The 39th annual Charity Walk raised $2.27 million for 363 charities statewide. This year’s total once again topped last year’s records for both the number of charities helped and monies raised. Since its inception, the Charity Walk has raised over $32 million. All of the money raised on each island stays on that island to benefit local charitable groups.
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