HONOLULU(KHON2) — Hundreds of millions of dollars have been donated to help those impacted by the Lahaina wildfire. But where is all the money going? KHON reached out to two organizations that received large sums of donations to find out.
Donations started pouring in immediately after the devastation in Maui hit the airwaves.
“The outpouring of Aloha, not just from here in Hawaii, but really all over the world. Other countries as well, has been just amazing,” said American Red Cross Pacific Islands region CEO Diane Peters-Nguyen.
“How much has Red Cross raised so far for the efforts for the Lahaina wildfire?” KHON2 asked.
“So I don’t have that number yet,” Peters-Nguyen said.
She went on to explain that information won’t be available until their monthly report comes out. But she did confirm it’s in the millions and said 90 cents of each dollar goes to the Red Cross mission. She also assured people the money raised for Maui is going to the Maui response.
“We’ve been able to get money directly out to these folks that need it. And we just on Friday surpassed the $9M mark in financial support.”
She said that’s money in people pockets to help them pay for what they need. She said donations are also paying for hotels, meals and wraparound services for those who lost their homes in the fire. In addition, they cover the cost of travel, and lodging for the thousands of volunteers who are on Maui assisting the Red Cross.
Another non-profit that’s racked in millions, Hawaii Community Foundation.
I sat down with CEO Micah Kane who launched the Maui Strong fundraiser Aug. 8.
Micah Kane, Hawaii Community Foundation CEO & President: “over 200 thousand donors from 67 countries totaling over $120 Million dollars has come into Hawaii “
HCF’s website breaks things down showing what they received ($120,730,844), and that they’ve already awarded $19,200,444. The website even outlines the more than 100 organizations that were given funds, including the date and dollar amount.
But there is still the question of funds.
“HCF has collected about $120M so far and $19M has been dispersed so where is the rest of that money going?” KHON2 asked Kane.
“There’s going to come a point in time, a year from now when the lights stop shining on Maui and Hawaii and these resources are going to be needed for the recovery of Maui,” Kane explained.
He said they plan to distribute the funds in four phases.
“Phase one is really around getting prepared,” he explained. “Phase two is around rapid response, phase 3 is around stabilization, and recovery, and phase four is about building a more resilient place so when another disaster comes.”
“It’s a long haul,” Kane added. “It’s a two to three year period. It’s not going to, this problem’s not going to be solved overnight. And when you get to year two, resources are going to be scarce so we’ve got to be very thoughtful right now.”
Kane said he wants the people of Maui to have hope and know the efforts they are making are coordinated and well-intended.
Still there are many concerns about how money is being spent
Representative Scott Saiki issued a letter to Gov. Josh Green on Sept. 18 urging the the governor to “immediately issue an emergency proclamation to prohibit and criminalize fundraising under false pretenses.”
KHON reached out to the governor and is awaiting a response.