Every fall, the Realtors Association of Maui (RAM) inducts its new slate of officers and directors at an annual installation and membership gala. This year’s event looked very different. On Friday, Sept. 11, nearly 200 RAM members met virtually on Zoom to welcome the incoming leadership team. Among those inducted that day was Joe Hogin of NextHome Pacific Properties, who will serve as RAM’s 2020-21 president.

His presidential term has hardly begun, but Hogin is already laser-focused on two things. The first is the theme he chose for 2020-21: “Coming together” in the face of the ongoing public health and economic crises. The second is raising money for the Realtors Association of Maui Community Foundation (RAMCF), a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization with two programs under its umbrella: Wishing Well…for Maui Students and the RAMCF Presidential Scholarship Fund.

Founded in 2007, Wishing Well…for Maui Students contributes school supplies, services and cash donations to public schools countywide. Run by volunteer RAM members and fueled by the generosity of the community, the program covers every public school on Maui, Molokai and Lanai, along with Ka Hale A Ke Ola Homeless Resource Centers (KHAKO), a nonprofit that shelters students in different grade levels at its Wailuku and Lahaina facilities. Throughout the year, volunteer coordinators collect and distribute “wish list” items to schools—everything from pencils to playground balls to scientific calculators to rubber slippers—so students have the items they need to succeed in the classroom.

Since it was established in 1989, the RAMCF Presidential Scholarship Fund has awarded $812,000 in academic scholarships to hundreds of college-bound high school seniors and past scholarship recipients (past recipients can apply every year they are in school, up to four years). To be eligible for the annual scholarship, an applicant must be a high school senior or a former scholarship recipient and must be in the process of applying or reapplying to an accredited college, university or trade school. Applicants must also be full-time residents who are currently attending, or have previously attended, a public or private high school in Maui County. (However, students attending private schools off island will be considered residents if they are living off island for the specific purpose of attending that school.) Over the summer, RAM awarded scholarships to 62 students from Maui, Lanai and Molokai who are now pursuing degrees at colleges and universities across the country. Applications for next year’s RAMCF Presidential Scholarship will be available in early 2021.

As far as he knows, Hogin is the first RAM president to be sworn in virtually. And he will also be the first to find ways to support RAMCF’s programs with COVID-19 health and safety protocols in mind. Historically, funds for the nonprofit have been raised through well-attended events like RAM’s annual installation and membership gala, the RAMCF Presidential Scholarship Golf Event, RAM’s Got Talent, and the Maui Visitor Industry Charity Walk. In lieu of in-person fundraisers (which have been canceled or postponed due to COVID-19), Hogin has appealed to all RAM members to donate a portion of every closed transaction to RAMCF from now until September 30, 2021.

He also encourages non-RAM members to consider contributing to RAMCF in the months to come. From Kindergarteners to college seniors, RAMCF has helped make educational dreams come true for thousands of Maui County students. And in these difficult times, Hogin says the foundation’s mission is more important than ever. “There are a lot of kids whose parents are struggling right now,” he said. “This is one way we can help ease their burden.”

For more information about the RAMCF Presidential Scholarship Fund, visit www.ramaui.com/scholarship. For more information about the RAMCF Wishing Well…for Maui Students program or to make a donation, visit http://www.ILoveMauiSchools.com or call program director Sarah Sorenson at 283-3969. To learn more about RAMCF, visit www.ramaui.com/foundation/ram-community-foundation.

The Maui News – October 5, 2020

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