A Cross-Section of Non-Profits on Maui
"No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted."
Finding Ways to Give Back on Maui
The spirit of Hawaii is rooted in community and kindness. The word 'Kokua' specifically defines this spirit when it is combined with a desire to help others unselfishly. While you have a solid desire to help the local community, you may be challenged to find a way to make a meaningful difference. Several non-profits on Maui have been making a solid impact in the community in various ways and I would like to take a few minutes to recognize them for their great work.
The impact of these organizations generally relies on the goodwill and support of others in the community. The organizations below cover a variety of causes and missions on Maui. From preserving our precious natural as well as cultural resources, helping others who cannot help themselves, and educating our Keiki (children) about agriculture for a more sustainable future.
However, keep in mind that there are other ways to support these organizations other than financial contributions. Many organizations rely heavily on the efforts of volunteers and time is just as valuable of a resource as money. That being said, what are some of the most active non-profit organizations that serve the Hawaiian community?
Maui Nui Resource Council
Since 2007, the Maui Nui Marine Resource Council has been actively promoting the health of the oceans surrounding Maui County. Their work relates to both the cleanliness of the ocean water and the health of coral reefs. Their efforts extend to areas such as sustainable fishing, runoff management, and the education of tourists.
While the government has some initiatives to function in these areas, the Maui Nui Marine Resource Council partners with the Nature Conservancy and runs six community-managed areas. They take a grassroots approach to promote a healthy marine environment in and around Maui County.
Grow Some Good
Grow Some Good works throughout Maui to promote sustainable agriculture at the grassroots level. One of its first initiatives more than a decade ago was to establish and promote a school garden program statewide. The program has grown over the years, and it now reaches more than 7,000 students annually.
Also in schools, the organization educates children about the importance of composting wasted food. Outside of schools, Grow Some Good has partnered with Big Brothers, Big Sisters and the YMCA to facilitate the growth of two community gardens. These are designed to educate the public about agriculture and to address the food insecurity issue on the island.
Hawaii Land Trust
Land is in short supply throughout Hawaii, and the Hawaii Land Trust works diligently to protect and preserve the open spaces that remain. To date, the Hawaii Land Trust has completed 44 unique land conservation projects. It actively supports 14 additional projects and plays an essential role in the preservation of more than 57,000 acres of natural areas.
As one example of its work, it created a public park that was strategically located within walking distance of more than 26,000 residents. Its work also covers sustainable farmlands, botanical gardens, and more. One of the Hawaii Land Trust's largest projects on Maui is protecting the Waihee Coastal Dunes and Wetlands Refuge just past Wailuku on the way to Kahakuloa. Every Friday 8 am-12 pm and every 3rd Saturday 8 am to 11 am are volunteer hours at the refuge.
Women Helping Women Maui
Women Helping Women Maui specifically addresses the important issue of domestic violence through a well-rounded approach. It offers refuge and support to both women and children who have been victims of domestic violence on Maui, and this includes the operation of a 24-hour hotline and a safe shelter for those who are escaping a dangerous home environment. It also strives to quash domestic violence through its initiatives for education and advocacy.
Other programs include a children’s program, a transitions program, and assistance with temporary restraining orders. The Women Helping Women organization was founded in 1977, and its reach today touches more than 600 individuals annually.
Haleakala Conservancy’s mission is to protect the fragile natural environment of Haleakala National Park. It specifically focuses on promoting the well-being of the many endangered species that find a home in the park. As part of its efforts, it engages youth in Maui through internships and special programs. Funding that it receives will be allocated to support the tracking of endangered bird species in Maui and other efforts to protect them.
Funding may also be applied to the rehabilitation of a nene pen within the park and the creation of a documentary regarding avian malaria, a disease that has impacted many species throughout the island. The Haleakala Conservancy is committed to working side by side with the National Park Service to provide support where the park might be limited in its ability.
Behavioral health has been an underserved area of public health on Maui over the years, and Aloha House works to address those needs. The organization’s primary mission is to provide intervention and prevention services for those who are suffering from substance abuse or other behavioral health issues. Its work is focused on core programs. The program for substance abuse services offers drug rehabilitation services and support for the maintenance of a drug-free lifestyle.
The program for mental health and social services encompasses everything from short-term therapy programs to specialty counseling programs, crisis services, and psychiatric care. Financial donations made to Aloha House will be applied to these essential services that continue to help those suffering within the community on a daily basis.
Maui Humane Society
The Maui Humane Society works tirelessly to protect the health and well-being of animals throughout the area. It is most well-known for connecting lost pets with their owners and for running an adoption shelter for surrendered or misplaced animals. However, it also end-of-life services for pets who no longer have a positive quality of life because of health issues. It also runs the Wings of Aloha program to connect homeless animals with new homes on the mainland. Another program is its 24-hour emergency response service.
This program is designed to protect the lives of animals who are in immediate danger. The organization welcomes one-time donations, and it offers the Faithful Friends Monthly Giving Program so that regular contributions can be made more easily.
Creating a Better Maui Together
These non-profits on Maui each serve critical functions in the overall well-being of the community. They strive to protect the environment, to feed the hungry, to protect the community’s most vulnerable citizens, and more. Financial contributions and volunteerism supporting these important non-profits on Maui enhance the betterment of all who call Maui their home.
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