The results are in, and the 2021 Visitor Industry Charity Walk was a smashing success. Despite being relegated to a virtual format, Charity Walk raised a statewide total of $2,053,804.84! You may recall that we raised a record $2.67M in 2019—the last time this iconic event was held in-person. To have raised nearly as much in 2021 is a testament to the commitment our visitor industry partners have to the community.
I recently was interviewed by the Honolulu Star-Advertiser about the Charity Walk’s pivot to a virtual format and was pleased to read an excellent piece in this morning's edition. The paper did a great job not only contextualizing the amount of money raised and the number of nonprofits that will be supported, but also connecting with some of our top fundraisers and notable nonprofit organizations.
"Visitor industry’s virtual Charity Walk raises $2 million," Honolulu Star-Advertiser, November 8, 2021
Take for instance, Chip Bahouth, the general manager at the Sheraton Kaua'i Resort: For years now, the property’s RumFire restaurant has donated a portion of their revenue to various charitable causes via their Table 53 initiative which contributes sales proceeds at the famous table. Chip has always been a staunch supporter of Charity Walk, and to see his efforts recognized was truly gratifying.
The Star-Advertiser also spoke with Chadd Paishon, the senior captain of Na Kalai Wa'a, a nonprofit dedicated to preserving and perpetuating ocean voyaging traditions. The organization is a first-time participant in Charity Walk and went above and beyond in terms of participation and engagement, ultimately raising more than $18,000.
On O'ahu, we were fortunate to receive several big donations from community partners including Central Pacific Bank, which donated $50K, as well as Bank of Hawai'i, First Hawaiian Bank, HECO/HEI, and ABC Stores/Kosasa Foundation. I also must thank HLTA board member Mike Rompel who set up a special Domino's Hawai'i promotion that set aside a portion of all pizza sales to donate to Charity Walk. This translated to $50K being gifted to O'ahu's Charity Walk!
Finally, the Valley Isle has continued to set a high bar when it comes to fundraising totals. This year, Maui, Lana'i, and Molokai generated a whopping $1.203M on their own. This is an impressive number even considering how well Maui Nui does in each year's Charity Walk.
None of this would have been possible without amazing participation around our state and the leadership and hustle of several key individuals. First and foremost is our statewide VICW chair and newly-seated HLTA Chairperson Thomas Foti. Thomas brought a wealth of new ideas to this year’s Charity Walk, and the results of his hard work speak for themselves.
I would also like to commend our various county VICW Chairs: Beres Wall on Kaua'i, Simeon Miranda on O'ahu, Chris Rabang on Maui, and Simon Amos on Hawai'i Island. Each of our chapter leads worked tirelessly to drive participation and engagement throughout this year's Charity Walk process and this resulted in outstanding turnout across the islands.
I would be remiss not to also recognize some of the other key people who make Charity Walk as special as it is. Mahalo to HLTA Kaua'i Executive Director Samira Siale who, in her first year at the helm, is already making great strides on the Garden Isle. Thank you also to MHLA Events & Membership Coordinator Christine Christensen and Hawai'i Island Charity Walk Admin Bambi Lau. Lastly, a big shout out to my team at the HLTA statewide offices for all their hard work in making this year’s campaign another one for the books.
We are now in the process of convening our Allocation Committees which will be tasked with dispersing this money to our nonprofit partners later this month. We will keep you updated as to these upcoming events.
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