Aloha For Japan Generates $8 Million
By Wendy Osher
The statewide Aloha For Japan campaign formally ended this month, with a total of $8 million raised through partner charities over a six month span.
The fundraising campaign was launched the day after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami in Japan. It was coordinated by the Office of the Lieutenant Governor, and driven by Hawaii’s major banks; credit unions; and a host of island businesses, community groups, schools, public officials and individuals.
More than 100 organizations were involved in this campaign, which sponsored hundreds of Aloha For Japan events, including concerts, art shows, and other fundraising drives.
“This was a team effort that came from our collective hearts and shows how much we can accomplish when we work together and collaboratively,” said Lt. Governor Brian Schatz. “I’m so proud of everyone – our banks, credit unions, other businesses, community groups, nonprofits, schools and all our county mayors. Hawaii has really stepped up for our friends across the Pacific,” he said.
Key supporters expressed gratitude for the opportunity to participate in the fundraising effort including Island Insurance CEO Colbert Matsumoto.
“The tremendous outpouring of support in response to the disaster from all parts of our state affirms Hawaii’s close bond with Japan and validates the values that are at the heart of the spirit of aloha,” said Matsumoto, who led the campaign’s Administrative Committee which developed the structure and overall vision of the campaign.
“Our two countries are linked in many ways and no amount of distance could keep us from providing assistance and showing our friends in Japan that the aloha spirit is alive and well in Hawaii,” said Bob Harrison, FHB President. Harrison was actively involved in developing the strategic direction of the campaign, and First Hawaiian Bank was among the first major institutions to step forward with financial assistance.
The Aloha For Japan name was inspired from a team of local designers, who joined creative forces to produce t-shirts that quickly sold out at many supporting retailers.
“The Aloha for Japan campaign has had such a tremendous response. It’s great to see that this state has so much aloha and it makes me proud to be from here. The people of Hawaii should be proud for all their generous donations and continued kokua for the people of Japan,” said Lani Tabura on behalf of the various designers.
The collaborative efforts of artists included participation from Buti Groove, HI-LIFE, Fitted Hawaii, Aloha Army, Barefoot League, and In4mation.
While the Aloha For Japan campaign has formally ended, those interested in making donations for disaster victims can still do so by contributing directly to the Hawaii chapter of the American Red Cross (www.hawaiiredcross.org) or the Japan-America Society of Hawaii (www.jashawaii.org).