Native Hawaiian heiress Abigail Kawananakoa has donated $15,000 to Iolani Palace to help pay its electricity bill.
“The princess has been our largest benefactor over the years and we can’t mahalo her enough for her continued generosity, especially during these challenging times,” Paula Akana, executive director for The Friends of Iolani Palace, said in a news release.
The funds will help the national historic landmark run its 24/7 air-conditioning system, which is one of its largest expenses, palace officials said. Even when the palace closed starting in March due to the coronavirus pandemic, it continued to run its electricity to preserve its artifacts.
The palace was closed for about three months before reopening its doors on June 19. The loss of daily visitors financially affected the palace, which cut its personnel budget and furloughed half its staff.
Before the pandemic, there were 450 to 500 daily visitors. The average daily revenue was $7,000 from ticket and gift shop sales, which is 90% of its income.
Since the palace reopened, social distancing guidelines limited visitors to about 105 each on Friday and Saturday. About half of its furloughed staff were brought back through the Paycheck Protection Program.
Akana has said without additional funding the palace will likely run out of money in three to four months.
The call for help has attracted many donors such as Kawananakoa, the eldest granddaughter of Prince David Kawananakoa.
“I kindly ask others to match my donation or give what they canto help support Iolani Palace through its present financial crisis,” Kawananakoa said in a news release.
For more information, go to iolanipalace.org.