Aloha United Way has served the Oʻahu community for more than 100 years. Established in 1919 as the United Welfare Fund by local philanthropist, Frank C. Atherton with the help of the Honolulu Chamber of Commerce; the United Welfare Fund envisioned a more efficient way of raising and distributing charitable giving.
It was the first time in Hawaiʻi that multiple charities raised money jointly for their organizations. There were 17 charities named as recipients in the first year of the United Welfare Fund. The new group's goal was to raise $250,000 in its first year. Aloha United Way grew from this collaboration and now partners with more than 300+ nonprofit organizations.
Aloha United Way advances the health, education, and financial stability of every person in our community by bringing together resources, organizations, and people.
As Hawai‛i has changed and evolved, so has our mission and work. Today, Aloha United Way is an impact leader serving in four critical areas to fulfill our mission:
We are an ADVOCATE. Our voice shines a light on the systemic issues facing our communities and the work that we do informs and impacts policymakers, the business community, and nonprofit organizations. The collaborative advocacy work Aloha United Way is part of has resulted in landmark legislative victories, unlikely alliances, and effective coalitions.
We are a RESOURCE. We provide nonprofit organizations, policymakers, and other community members with important data, funds, opportunities and information.
AUWʻs 211 Statewide Resource Helpline offers critical data to identify trends over time, and community members access to accurate resources in one location.
The ALICE Initiative has become the foundation for all sectors to understand and respond to our state’s financial and social challenges.
Our fundraising efforts provide nonprofit organizations the financial resources to focus on their clients and work — a lifeline for social service agencies locally.
Aloha United Way impact area grants specifically fund critical areas of need
Our volunteer portal connects those with help to give with organizations who need the help.
We are a PARTNER. Aloha United Way works closely with thousands of individuals across the islands. Our nonprofit partners receive fundraising, capacity-building, advocacy opportunities, and key marketing support to amplify their impact and message in the community. Our more than 1,000 workplace partners, 300+ nonprofit organizations, and extensive 211 Statewide Resource network makes Aloha United Way a hub for change and robust cross-sector collaboration.
We are a CONNECTOR. We bring people, partners, and resources together around community issues and building the frameworks for collaboration. The ALICE Initiative connects multiple nonprofit organizations, the business community, and policymakers to address systemic issues in our community. Through our 211 Statewide Helpline, we connect those in need with thousands of available resources and track unmet needs, laying a groundwork for response and improvement. We bring people closer to one another and closer to the issues plaguing our community through workplace campaigns, affinity groups, and a volunteer network. Aloha United Way brings every sector of our community together.
Our Impact Areas
Our impact areas are designed to address the most urgent needs in our community and provide donors the opportunity to strategically address systemic problems through thoughtful investment. AUW partners, evaluates, and manages investment in the following impact areas:
ALICE is an acronym for (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) and the AUW ALICE Fund directly funds the research and collective impact work of the ALICE Cohort for three-year cycles. The work in 2022-24 focuses on creating greater financial stability and savings, while addressing lack of access to stable and secure housing for ALICE Households.
Aloha United Way is a data hub for our community and the Community Care Fund provides donors the opportunity to invest resources in the most pressing problems in our community. This fund provides an immediate response framework and is intended to provide a framework for flexible and nimble response to emergencies.
In an emergency, a safety net is necessary. The Aloha United Way Safety Net Fund provides grant funding to organizations uniquely positioned to respond in an emergency situation. From natural disasters to homelessness, the safety net impact area is there to get resources out quickly and efficiently to the organizations most equipped to respond.
More than 4,000 resources are available online and by phone, text, or email. We continue to make strides in technology and data to influence community and policy response to needs, but the service provides a human response to individuals looking for aid seven days per week. This statewide service directly connects people with community resources. These resources are constantly updated, representing the most comprehensive database of its kind in the state.
Leading with Equity
Aloha United Way advances the health, education, and financial stability of every person in our community by bringing together resources, organizations, and people. We believe that diversity, inclusion, equity, and justice are essential for a healthy society. It is our responsibility to actively practice and promote these values and condemn all forms of discrimination in our daily work. Aloha United Way recognizes the impacts of colonialism, structural racism, ethnic discrimination, and other forms of oppression that have had significant and disproportionate influences on generations of people in Hawai’i. We acknowledge that these inequities are the result of systems and practices that have contributed and continue to contribute to persistent disparities. Each community member, donor, volunteer, advocate, and employee must have equal access to solving community problems.
Aloha United Way funds impact-based programs to improve the socio-economic status, health outcomes, education, and overall well-being of Native Hawaiian and other historically marginalized communities, and is committed to working with community partners to co-create solutions with Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) that dismantle these systemic inequities and create an equitable and just Hawai’i where everyone has access to the resources, support, opportunities and networks needed to thrive.
Our Board of Directors
is filled with thought-leaders from every sector of our community, and we are honored by their exceptional dedication and generosity to create positive change. Their strategic guidance ensures that AUW remains a vital and impactful organization that you can trust to lead the community into an equitable, healthy, and sustainable future.
How You Can Support Our Work