After the worst fundraising year in more than a decade last year, the Maui United Way's fundraising campaign rebounded this year, raising more than a million dollars and exceeding its goal.
Laksmi M. Abraham, president and chief professional officer of Maui United Way, said Thursday that the nonprofit organization raised $1,047,676, exceeding its $1 million goal for the campaign.
That total was almost $150,000 more than last year, which "was probably the worst that I've seen in the 12 years that I've been here," said Abraham.
Despite the recession that hit in 2008, the fundraising campaigns had been exceeding goals prior to last year.
"We were really lucky," she said, adding "we had to take our hit somewhere."
Last year, the drive raised $901,278. Among the biggest hits came in the employee-giving sector, which represents 60 percent of the funds raised for the campaign, Abraham said. Corporate giving also was down.
"We finally took the brunt of what the recession had to offer last year. The good news is that we bounced back," she said.
Abraham was optimistic about prospects for the upcoming fundraising campaign.
"We are expecting to have a pretty good campaign," Abraham said. "The bottom line is we are in a very good position moving forward.
"I'm a little less worried than I was last year."
The money raised by the 64-year-old Maui United Way goes to 36 health and human service partner agencies and programs, ranging from the American Red Cross to The Salvation Army.
Even in a down year, funds raised "touched the lives of over 63,000 people and provided hope for a better life,"Abraham said at an awards luncheon held last month at the Kahili Golf Course.
Allocation of the funds raised is done by volunteers, and funding last year ranged from $3,500 to $38,000, said Abraham.
In a change from past policies of awarding the money, Abraham said that grants are provided to specific program needs, rather than as a lump sum to the agency, and to agencies where Maui United Way funding is vital to their survival.
Abraham also announced the winners of its Mahalo Awards at the luncheon. They included:
* Corporate Contributor of the Year, Alexander & Baldwin.
* Campaign of the Year, County of Maui.
* Company Coordinator of the Year, Chasserae Kaawa, Maui Fire Department.
* Bank of the Year, First Hawaiian Bank.
* Hotel of the Year, Marriott's Maui Ocean Club.
* Partner Agency of the Year, Aloha House.
* Community Partnership of the Year, Maui Electric Co.
* Foundation of the Year, Bendon Family Foundation.
* Outstanding Volunteer Award, Sandra Florence.
* Outstanding Volunteer Awards, Maui Waena Intermediate School, Falcon Entertainment Engineering.
* Outstanding Company Campaign, Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Co., Enterprise Holdings.
* Outstanding Corporate Contributor, Hawaiian Electric Industries Inc.
Also at the luncheon, officers for the new year were installed. They are Curtis Tom, chairman of the board; Deanna Davis, vice chairman; Libby Behn, treasurer; and Stephen Kealoha, secretary.
For more information about Maui United Way, call 244-8787 or go to the website at www.mauiunitedway.org.
* Lee Imada can be reached at email@example.com.