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Rebuilding Hope: How MoveOn Members Joined Hands to Aid Maui’s Recovery Efforts

Credit: Robert Gauthier/Getty Images 1601912968

In the wake of the devastating fire that ravaged Lahaina, Maui, in August, a rallying cry was heard across communities near and far. It was a call for support, for solidarity, and for a collective effort to aid in the recovery of this historic town. And among those who heeded this call were the compassionate and proactive members of MoveOn.

When disaster struck, MoveOn members came together, demonstrating the power of collective action and empathy. Through a concerted fundraising initiative, nearly $200,000 was raised to assist a community-driven organization, the Maui Community Power Recovery Fund (MCPRF), in their tireless efforts toward recovery and resilience-building.

This substantial contribution, comprising more than a quarter of the total funding for MCPRF, holds immense significance. Not only does it facilitate immediate material relief for those affected by the fire, but it also serves as a foundation for long-term strategies to address the root causes, particularly in combating climate disruption and enhancing Maui’s resilience against future challenges.

The Maui Community Power Recovery Fund’s dedication to not only rebuilding but also fortifying the community against future adversities echoes a broader sentiment—a reminder of the strength found in solidarity and collective action. Each contribution, each gesture of support, becomes a building block in the restoration of hope and resilience. Here’s a look at what MCPRF told us they’ve been up to, fueled by support from around the country:

  1. Facilitated a series of meetings with community leaders to guide a shared game plan and identity, which turned into the Lahaina Strong initiative.
  2. Staffed up with people from the community, representing a range of different skills (operations, community organizing, videography, etc.).
  3. Conducted needs assessments through in-person canvases at community meetings and within hotels. We coordinated tagnawa events with Ilocano and Tagalog volunteer translators to connect more than 1,500 Filipino survivors to benefits that were falling through the cracks with FEMA and Red Cross. We also helped stand up Roots Reborn, an organization to support Spanish-speaking and Filipino immigrants on Maui, many of whom are undocumented. Other partners for this effort include Help Maui Rise and the Hawaii Workers Center.
  4. Created a system to connect people to the right service providers via automated texts, emails, and calls responsive to their real-time needs.
  5. Held listening sessions on recovery, in coordination with council members, and turned out thousands of people to various hearings—including distributing 1,500 shirts for people who testify or volunteer. Dozens of press clips so far. Here’s one!
  6. Pushed for extended relief so service workers wouldn’t be forced back to work, and won $100 million in Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) funds and FEMA block grant extensions.
  7. Pushed to extend the October 8 reopening of west Maui to tourism, gaining support from local political leaders. Here’s our petition delivery!
  8. Planning various upcoming concerts and respite events with partners, all under the Lahaina Strong banner.
  9. Launching a participatory rebuilding process and developing a community-driven master plan for Lahaina.
  10. Working on legislation for the next state legislative session to institutionalize some of these changes to build resilience!


As we reflect on this collaborative effort, it becomes evident that the impact stretches beyond monetary value. It’s about the interconnectedness of communities, the willingness to extend a helping hand, and the belief that, together, we can create tangible change.

The involvement of countless MoveOn members embodies the spirit of compassion and unity that reverberates in times of crisis. Your support has not only aided Lahaina’s recovery but has also illuminated the path toward a more resilient and empowered Maui.

Let this be a reminder that, amid challenges, there exists unwavering hope. And through collective efforts and unwavering support, we can rebuild, strengthen, and create a better tomorrow for all.

Together, we continue to make a difference—one community at a time.