WAILUKU - The Maui Hotel & Lodging Association (MHLA) celebrated 34 years of giving back to the community in grand style with its annual Visitor Industry Charity Walk on Saturday, May 12.
A record-setting 2,500 walkers gathered at the War Memorial Soccer Field for an amazing and fun-filled morning of exercise, camaraderie, good food, great prizes and fabulous entertainment.
At the end of the day, an impressive total of $530,123 was raised on Maui. The week prior, MHLA-hosted walks on Molokai and Lanai brought in $10,116 and $14,899 respectively for a grand total for Maui County of $555,188. Last year, Maui County's event raised $492,000.
Participants in the Maui Visitor Industry Charity Walk raised $530,123 for Maui County charities.
The bulk of the participants included visitor industry workers, nonprofit agencies and business representatives. Many of these hardworking walkers begin their fundraising efforts months prior to the event by collecting pledges and hosting bake sales, chili and stew cook-offs, benefit luaus, car washes, tug-of-war competitions, a kickball tournament, dunking booths and concerts.
The Grand Wailea took top honors for properties by bringing in $100,001, followed by the Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa ($26,317) and Royal Lahaina Resort ($16,570).
The business that raised the most was HC&S at $11,372, followed by Bank of Hawaii at $9,912 and Avis/Budget Group with $4,456.
Winning the award for nonprofit fundraising was repeat-awardee Hale Makua, which collected $33,000. The Maui Memorial Medical Center Foundation came in second at $21,804, followed by the SPCA with $18,797.
Top individual fundraiser was Mitch Mitchell for Hale Makua, who collected $10,660. Peter Tierney of the SPCA collected $10,445, and Suzie Moore brought in $6,775 for Kahana Falls.
The property raising the most per-capita was Kahana Falls at $257 per employee, followed by The Grand Wailea at $219 per employee and Maui Condo & Home at $200.
"This year, we raised more funds than any other year in the 34-year history of the Charity Walk on Maui! We are extremely proud to host such a successful fundraising endeavor which brings together the visitor industry and the Maui community in grand style. And most importantly, all monies raised on Maui County stays in Maui County," said Carol Reimann, executive director of the Maui Hotel & Lodging Association.
"Our ability to provide for Maui's non-profits - especially during tough economic times - is a direct reflection of the integrity and philanthropic conviction of the fine businesses in the visitor industry. And Maui has always done it in grand style - our island continues to raise more funds per capita than any other island in Hawaii."
The Visitor Industry Charity Walk is a statewide event that takes place on Maui, Molokai, Lanai, Oahu, Kauai and the Big Island. The Charity Walk is one of Hawaii's largest single-day fundraisers with thousands of walkers, typically raising over $1 million annually to benefit charities. Funds will continue to roll in, and a final tally will be announced in August.
The 2013 Visitor Industry Charity Walk is set for May 11. For more information, contact the Maui Hotel & Lodging Association at 244-8625 or email@example.com.