By Sarah Ruppenthal
Throughout the month of March, Coldwell Banker Island Properties agents and staff members have been busy collecting canned goods and other non-perishable items for the Maui Food Bank at their offices in Kapalua, Kahului, Kihei, Paia and Wailea.
The month-long food drive is the first to be sponsored by the brand-new Coldwell Banker Island Properties Foundation, which launched on March 8.
“Coldwell Banker Island Properties is proud to announce the Coldwell Banker Foundation,” said Donna Valentine, who serves as the foundation’s Maui Island representative. “Our mission is to empower individuals and our island communities by supporting community development, housing attainability, and environmental preservation. Generously backed by our supportive agents and staff, the Coldwell Banker Island Properties Foundation is committed to creating a better Hawaii today and always.”
It’s not even a month old, but the fledgling foundation is already making strides. “Our goal in 2023 is to raise $100,000 to help with our pillars of engagement within our communities,” Valentine explained.
The foundation’s three areas of focus are community development, housing attainability, and environmental preservation. Community development encompasses youth and education, kupuna outreach, humane society support, social causes, and sports, music, and the arts. Housing attainability includes homebuyer assistance, financial counseling, income support, homeowner assistance, and Native Hawaiian farming. Environmental protection efforts will include beach cleanups, forest management, loi farming, fishpond restoration, and cultural site preservation.
For Coldwell Banker Island Properties agents and staff, the foundation’s inaugural food drive is especially meaningful, as it commemorates the life and legacy of one of the Maui Food Bank’s most ardent supporters.
“Throughout March, we have a Maui Food Bank drive at all of our offices in progress to help launch the Foundation,” Valentine said. “This is in honor of our dear friend and colleague, Mark Harbison, who passed away in December. Mark was the president of Maui Food Bank for 10 years and a Realtor Broker with Coldwell Banker Island Properties for 21 years.”
Among many other things, as a longtime member of the Rotary Club of Kihei-Wailea, Harbison promoted and ran the club’s food drives at the Pi‘ilani Village Shopping Center Safeway since the store first opened; he also sponsored a number of Rotary grants for Maui Food Bank projects.
Realtors Association of Maui member and Coldwell Banker Island Properties Foundation Maui Island Representative Donna Valentine (from left), Cultural Practitioner Kimokeo Kapahulehua, Jessica Nakamura of Hawaiian Community Assets, Coldwell Banker Island Properties Owner Steve Houle and Coldwell Banker Island Properties Foundation President Dan Richards celebrate the launch of the Coldwell Banker Island Properties Foundation on March 8.
Photo courtesy Donna Valentine
In a May 2018 Kahiau article in The Maui News, Harbison expressed his gratitude to those who support the food bank year after year. “I am continually impressed with the generosity of Maui people, including the amazing support of our visitors,” he said. “Maui Rotary clubs and other organizations participate in statewide food drives during the holidays and in the spring, and every year, I am amazed at how the number of Maui businesses sponsoring food drives just keeps growing, along with the number of people who give. Food security is a fundamental human right, and yet the problem of food insecurity is growing, along with the island of Maui.”
Just like the Coldwell Banker Island Properties Foundation, you can provide hunger relief by holding a food drive anytime of the year. To learn more about the Maui Food Bank or to inquire about donor or volunteer opportunities, visit www.mauifoodbank.org or call (808) 243-9500.
For more information about the Coldwell Banker Island Properties Foundation or to learn more about donor or volunteer opportunities, visit foundation.islandproperties.com.
Do you know a Realtors Association of Maui member who should be recognized for their contributions to the community? If so, send your story idea to Sarah Ruppenthal at firstname.lastname@example.org.