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Aloha Kekahi I Kekahi

There are no words that can describe the devastation, loss, and tragedy that occurred in Lahaina, Maui.  The incident has impacted so many families who have lost so much, not to mention the loss of life. As an island state, we are all connected and feel the loss either personally or emotionally.


UHPA was informed that three of its Lahaina members have been significantly impacted by the incident and unfortunately lost their homes or were displaced.  As we pray for those we lost and for the victims of this unfortunate tragedy, the UHPA Executive Committee authorized UHPA Executive Director Christian Fern to withdraw funds from the UHPA Emergency Relief Fund to help these three members. UHPA established this emergency fund after Hurricane Iwa hit the islands to help faculty members impacted by disasters.  In addition, the American Federation of Teachers, the second largest teacher’s labor organization in America, through its President Randi Weingarten, generously donated $10,000 to help UHPA members who were adversely impacted by the incident.  

With the combined resources of the UHPA Emergency Relief Fund, the AFT donation, and the UH Foundation, $10,000 checks were distributed to each of the three UHPA faculty members on August 23, 2023 at UH Maui College to help kick-start their recovery efforts.

From left to right: UHMC Chancellor Lui Hokoana, UHPA Executive Director Christian Fern, UHMC Staff Member Mike Asami, UHMC Staff Member Dwight Kalua , UHPA Faculty Member Michael Young, UHPA Faculty Member Velma Panlasigui, UH Foundation Associate Vice President Karla Zarate-Ramirez. Missing: UHPA Faculty Member Laureen Kodani.

It’s Only A Start

While the $10,000 donation is miniscule to the financial challenges ahead for these three UHPA Faculty Members, any amount of support and donations are going to help ease the burden and stress these members are going to face in the long road of recovery.

Organizations You Can Support

If you are interested in making a donation to help support those impacted, UHPA recommends the following vetted nonprofit organizations:

UH Foundation’s Help Maui

The University of Hawaiʻi is uniquely positioned to respond quickly in emergencies affecting our students, faculty, and staff.  Visit here to make a donation to directly support impacted faculty and staff.  

Hawaii Community Foundation Maui Strong Fund

HCF is collaborating with state and county leaders, nonprofit organizations, businesses, and philanthropists to identify evolving priorities for Maui communities impacted by the fire. Visit Maui Strong’s website to make a donation. 

Maui United Way

Maui United Way provides direct relief to families and nonprofit organizations. Visit the Maui United Way website.

The Salvation Army

As the fires continue to upend lives on Maui, the Salvation Army Hawaiian and Pacific Islands Division is quickly responding with food, shelter, emotional and spiritual care, and other critical services. Visit the Salvation Army website.

In Solidarity We Stand.