As the saying goes, one day can make a difference. Case in point: The annual Maui Visitor Industry Charity Walk. Hosted by the Maui Hotel & Lodging Association (MHLA), the single-day fundraising event draws thousands of participants and benefits more than 100 local nonprofit organizations. This year’s Maui Visitor Industry Charity Walk raised more than $1.1 million, surpassing the million-dollar mark for the third time (MHLA-hosted walks on Moloka‘i and Lana‘i yielded $85,525, bringing Maui County’s grand total to more than $1.2 million).

More than 2,400 registered walkers gathered at the War Memorial Complex soccer field on the morning of Saturday, May 11. Among them were 30 Realtors Association of Maui (RAM) members, who collectively laced up their sneakers for the first time (and likely not the last time) as “Team RAM.”

Thanks to the efforts of those 30 walkers and the generosity of 114 donors, RAM raised $11,891.36 (along with a percentage match from the MHLA) for its scholarship program, and exceeded its initial fundraising goal of $10,000. “Everyone was very glad to be giving and walking for such a great cause,” said 2018-19 RAM President Gina Duncan, who participated in the walk.

Since its inception in 1989, RAM’s Presidential Scholarship Fund has awarded $750,000 in academic scholarships to college-bound high school seniors and past scholarship recipients. That includes the 70 scholarships (amounting to $70,000) awarded this year to students on Maui, Moloka‘i and Lana‘i. All of the money raised at the Maui Visitor Industry Charity Walk will be donated to the scholarship program—and help it continue to thrive.

The Maui Visitor Industry Charity Walk was a first for RAM, but the organization is no stranger to raising funds for worthy causes. From golf tournaments to talent competitions, RAM hosts a number of events throughout the year to support its philanthropic arm, the RAM Community Foundation. Incorporated as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization in 2007, the RAM Community Foundation makes a difference in the lives of Maui County youth through RAM’s Presidential Scholarship Fund and the Wishing Well…for Maui Students program, which has contributed more than $1.65 million in goods, supplies and services to public schools countywide. In 2018, RAM added housing concerns as an objective of the RAM Community Foundation; last fall, RAM members raised $29,200 to help Ka Hale A Ke Ola (KHAKO) Homeless Resource Centers purchase a brand-new and much-needed playground for its facility in Wailuku.

Duncan says this year’s Maui Visitor Industry Charity Walk was further proof that RAM members embody the spirit of giving—and camaraderie. “This fundraiser is very special to our community and does such good work for Maui’s charitable organizations. It was an activity that everyone could participate in and we had so much fun,” Duncan said. “We were especially thankful for all of the water station folks, the water mister, oranges, and the popsicles towards the end. The food provided after the walk was excellent and I can’t say enough about how well run the whole event was. What fun!”

There were a few accolades, too. Dave Futch of Hawaii Life Real Estate Brokers took home a $200 gift certificate to Mama’s Fish House for collecting the most donations for RAM; Maria Sims of eXp Realty, LLC and Ryan MacLaughlin of Island Sotheby’s International Realty tied for rounding up the most “Team RAM” walkers.

Duncan acknowledged the hard work of those who served on RAM’s charity walk planning committee: Becky Hanna of Island Sotheby’s International Realty; Li Hay of Equity One Real Estate, Inc.; Lena Taberna of Coldwell Banker Island Properties; Sharon Viger of Keller Williams Realty Maui; Dave Futch of Hawaii Life Real Estate Brokers; Reggie Audant of Wailea Realty Corp. A Boutique of Windermere Real Estate; Patrick Kilbride; RAM Membership Manager Hana Valle; and RAM Marketing and Communications Manager Kelsey Daimon.

To learn more about the RAM Community Foundation, visit www.ramaui.com/foundation/ram-community-foundation. For more information about RAM’s Presidential Scholarship Fund, visit www.ramaui.com/foundation/presidential-scholarship.

The Maui News – June 8, 2019

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