Lodging hui, AUW push charity effort

Aug. 16, 2016

Lodging hui, AUW push charity effort
By Allison Schaefers
August 16, 2016


Andrew Ahn, 4, left, showed his work to Cindy Adams, president and CEO of Aloha United Way, right, at Waikiki Community Center on Monday. Also pictured are Teri Orton, general manager of the Hawai‘i Convention Center, second from left, and Caroline Hayashi, president of the Waikiki Community Center.

The Hawaii Lodging and Tourism Association is partnering with Aloha United Way to launch the first coordinated Waikiki workforce campaign, an attempt to increase visitor industry support for local nonprofits.

Last year 85 visitor industry companies participated in the AUW campaign that raised $11.3 million. More than 1,200 companies gave last year.

“The visitor industry is a small but significant percentage,” said AUW Executive Director Cindy Adams. “It’s a market segment that is a significant contributor to our state.”

The visitor industry kickoff will be Aug. 30 from 4 to 5 p.m. at the Royal Hawaiian Center. The timing coincides with AUW’s fall campaign, which spans began Monday and lasts through Oct. 7. AUW’s general campaign kickoff will be held Aug. 26 from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. at Tamarind Park.

Adams said the new push is an attempt to increase participation from the employees of one of the state’s largest industries. She said that it also would provide a way to track industry contributions, which declined several years ago when AUW switched from the automatic funding of 62 nonprofits to a merit-based formula.

“That probably created somewhat of a break in the community with AUW. This is an opportunity to build a bridge and mend those relationships,” Adams said. “We would like to see the visitor industry’s contribution double over time.”

Mufi Hannemann, the HLTA’s president and CEO, said the Waikiki campaign aims to get more tourism partners involved in AUW, which supports many nonprofits that are important to the success of the visitor industry and the quality of life for its members.

“This partnership is a way to continue the visitor industry’s long tradition of giving back to the community,” Hannemann said. “We are asking all of our members to step up awareness of Aloha United Way and to participate in this campaign.”

Hannemann said the campaign comes on the heels of the HLTA’s record-setting Visitor Industry Charity Walk, which topped $2 million in May. Hannemann said the AUW assisted the visitor industry in that endeavor.

“If we can give, we ought to give,” he said. “This is an opportunity to reinforce more of the causes that are important to our industry.”

Teri Orton, who is heading the HLTA’s Waikiki campaign along with Kelly Hoen, general manger of the Modern Honolulu, said many members of the visitor industry are pumped and ready to go.

“I feel like the industry is on a peak,” Orton said. “It’s a very good time to ask for donations and increase partnerships. Some hotels aren’t participating, and we’ve got new hotels that need to get signed up. We’re out there rallying as many organizations as we can to join the movement.”

Orton, who serves as general manager of the Hawai‘i Convention Center, is leading by example.

“We were one of the organizations that used to participate in AUW but fell off,“ Orton said.

The added interest in the AUW is good news for nonprofits like the Waikiki Community Center, which rely on the AUW to diversify their fundraising portfolio and increase awareness of their organization.

“We’re a small nonprofit. We don’t have the capacity to market ourselves. We have much broader visibility through AUW, and being associated with them is a positive that reassures people that we are legitimate,” said Caroline Hayasahi, the Waikiki Community Center’s executive director.