AUW achieves tough fundraising goal

Last month, with only a few weeks to go, the Aloha United Way announced that it expected to miss its fundraising goal for 2002 by nearly half a million dollars. But a matching challenge by The Harry & Jeanette Weinberg Foundation and a last-minute rush of gifts from local businesses and residents helped boost the year’s take to $13.2 million, meeting its target. “It was an aggressive goal considering Hawaii’s economic condition,” said AUW President Irv Lauber. “Our volunteers worked very hard for this accomplishment.”

“Not meeting the goal wasn’t an option,” said Carol Ai May, who chaired the year’s fundraising campaign with husband T. Michael May. “We know how important the funds are in protecting our community, so we found a way to make it happen.”

The Mays are the first husband-and-wife team to lead an AUW fundraising campaign. She is vice president of City Mill, and he is president and CEO of Hawaiian Electric Co.

T. Michael May said last year’s drive faced unusual challenges.

“The Hawaii economy is still feeling the effects of September 11th; at the same time, the unprecedented political spending in 2002 competed with our fundraising efforts,” he said. “So, the fact that we raised 13.2 million dollars is a testament to how much people on Oahu care about our community.”

An estimated 75,000 individuals contribute to Aloha United Way each year.

Lauber said he predicts health and human service needs will remain high throughout 2003, noting that federal, state and county governments are projecting budget cuts, which are expected to impact funding for health and human service programs in Hawaii this year. People who aren’t able to get help from government programs will rely more heavily on nonprofits like Aloha United Way, he said.

AUW also released its list of the top contributors for 2002, each donating at least $250,000 in corporate and employee donations:

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