The Hawai‘i Lodging & Tourism Association’s 41st Annual Visitor Industry Charity Walk generated a record $2.66 million statewide which benefited scores of charities across the state.
The walks, which drew 14,000 walkers, was held on consecutive Saturdays in May throughout the islands, which get to keep what they raise. HLTA, a 700-member statewide organization representing hotels, condominiums, timeshares, other lodging entities, suppliers, and related firms and individuals, challenges itself to grow the walk and its donations annually.
Oahu’s walk alone raised a record $510,000, which was distributed to 123 nonprofit organizations Wednesday during a check presentation ceremony held at Jade Dynasty Seafood Restaurant in the Ala Moana Shopping Center.More charity walk distributions will take place on Maui, Kauai and Hawaii island this month.
Recipients are selected based on their nonprofit performance, how much money they raised for the charity walk and their participation in the event, said Mufi Hannemann, HLTA president and CEO.
“It’s a privilege to be able to grant monies to these well-deserving nonprofits, who work tirelessly all year. Charity Walk continues to be a positive, perennial event that allows the hospitality industry to give back to the community, as a consolidated effort, in addition to our individual efforts throughout the year,” Hannemann said.
Hannemann said one of the strengths of the event is that nonprofits that submit grant applications get to keep the funds they raise on behalf of our event. But, HLTA also add additional dollars from the communal pot, raised by the industry, to help increase the total granted, he said.
Oahu beneficiaries, including Hawai’i Ecotourism Association and Adult Friends for Youth, were thankful for the visitor industry support.
Hawai’i Ecotourism Association Vice President Chris Barzman said,”The funds we received will go a long way in helping the Hawai‘i Ecotourism Association fulfill our mission to promote sustainable tourism and develop educational programs relating to responsible travel.”
Deborah Spencer-Chun, Adult Friends for Youth president and CEO, said youth and staff walked and volunteered during Oahu’s event. Spencer-Chun said Adult Friends for Youth is grateful for the Charity Walk’s financial support which helps expand services “to more high risk, hard to reach, violent, truant, and homeless youth.”
“One service in particular that benefits from these funds is our Mobile Education Center that helps to assess, support and reconnect these youth back to traditional or alternative schooling.” she said.
For more information, go online to www.charitywalkhawaii.org.