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Hui of the Year

The Maui Weekly acknowledges some of the many local nonprofit groups that faithfully serve our island community.

December 31, 2009
Trisha Smith

The historic moment was captured at the SeaWatch Restaurant on Saturday, Nov. 28, as the ‘Ulupalakua Ranch easement was signed, preserving over 11,300 acres along the leeward slopes of Haleakalā as both a working ranch and wildlife habitat for future farming opportunities and green-energy initiatives. ‘Ulupalakua Ranch Owners Pardee and Betsy Erdman signed these momentous documents, finalizing Hawai‘i’s largest-ever voluntary easement donation.

MCLT—which receives 75 percent of its funding through donations—is the first nationally-accredited land trust in Hawai‘i and now oversees nearly 16,000 acres in Maui Nui for perpetuity, including the Pu‘u O Hoku Ranch on Moloka‘i.


Article Photos

She supports a hui that works to preserve our community.

Upcountry Sustainability
Sustainability groups are sprouting up throughout Maui as economic and social struggles shed a vital light on the importance of self-sufficient communities. Our isolated isles must remain on a diverse and productive path over time. We commend all of Maui’s sustainability collaborations, and pay tribute to the new kid on the self-reliant block—Upcountry Sustainability (US).

US was born as a result of the Upcountry Sustainability Expo last April, as like-minded individuals gathered to support how our multi-cultural community can be environmentally, socially and economically sustainable. They hope to educate and collaborate with those who live in particular microclimates of Upcountry, increasing their ability to raise their own food, produce renewable energy, practice water preservation and more. Members Ron Montgomery and Melanie Stephens are proud of US in its freshman year, which has already sponsored three educational tours to seven different local farms, such as the Ululoa Farm in Ha‘ikū. They have also coordinated visits to homes that employ “green” practices and future planning.

US meets on the first, third and fifth Monday of each month, supporting ongoing projects such as school gardens, and envisions an active and energetic Upcountry ‘ohana for the future.


Grants Central Station
What happens when the groups that provide help need help? Recent economic times have revealed how many nonprofits need assistance in strengthening their grant writing skills. Grants Central Station (GCS) is a newly organized nonprofit formed specifically to provide capacity training for all of Maui County’s nonprofits. GCS is a team “invested in helping your team be great stewards of our islands.”

In 2009, through a generous grant from Office of Hawai‘i Affairs and other support, GCS developed, promoted and taught 15 free workshops—five each on Maui, Moloka‘i, and Lāna‘i. With its “Fundamental Five Nonprofit Training Series,” GCS served nearly 172 nonprofits—90 percent of them directly serving the Native Hawaiian community. Nearly 62 percent of those nonprofits are engaged in activities directly impacting our economic development.

“The skills, tools and opportunities we passed along to more than 500 nonprofit professionals and boardmembers will impact those attendees and the thousands of people who benefit from their services for years to come,” said GCS Program Director Leslie Mullens.

GCS is awaiting a grant to continue these workshops, to continue as a “one-stop shop for nonprofit improvement and enrichment.” Visit

Community Work Day
Acts of vandalism, littering and abandonment are behaviors most don’t correspond to Hawai‘i, yet they are the everyday realities for nonprofits like Community Work Day (CWD).

The CWD program on Maui is an environmental and educational organization that strives to restore or enhance public places, engaging over 3,000 volunteers in 2009 with projects including litter pickups, marine debris cleanups, invasive plant control, illegal dumpsite clearing, graffiti cleanup, recycling and paint exchange.

Thanks to the efforts of government, businesses and volunteers working together, CWD has assisted removing over 200,000 pounds of litter and illegally dumped trash from our community environments, all while planting nearly 4,000 native species.

The annual “Great American Cleanup” event held last spring boasted 73 events, including a metal and solid waste-recycling event in Hāna. The “Art of Trash” exhibit showcased an exhibition from 60 Maui artists who created pieces from reused materials. Another successful “Get the Drift and Bag It” International Coastal Cleanup took place, and featured 1,000 volunteers.

CWD closed 2009 with a two-week collection of appliances, tires, batteries and scrap metal on Lāna‘i, which has no facilities to accept these items. Nearly 1,400 items and 14,000 pounds of scrap metal were shipped to O‘ahu for recycling. CWD also coordinates countywide cleanups five times yearly, collects illegally dumped appliances, offers free wire baskets for recycling and materials for cleanups.



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