Locals Raise Over $16M in Grassroots Campaigns for Maui Fire Victims

Locals Raise Over $16M in Grassroots Campaigns for Maui Fire Victims


The devastating and tragic fires on Maui have impacted thousands of families across the island, but it has also rallied thousands more to help, with locals raising over $16.5M in relief from over 130K individuals in the first two weeks after the fires. This grassroots fundraising is an amazing example of the Aloha Spirt and strength of the Hawaiian community.

Hawaiians quickly took relief and aid into their own hands. Before cell service was available and the roads re-opened, locals began supporting each other by creating GoFundMe’s and sharing Venmo links for those who lost everything. Links were collected in Google Sheets like this one and circulated throughout neighborhood message boards and social media, quickly growing to over 1,000 entries. By no means a complete list, this sheet gives a sense of how much grassroots support is getting to affected families:

  • $16.5M raised from 136K donations to 885 GoFundMe campaigns*
  • Average fundraiser amount: $18,625
  • Average donation amount: $121
  • Percent of campaigns that have reached their goal: 10%
  • Average percent of goal reached: 49%

While there has been a tremendous outpouring of support to Maui, these campaigns also highlight how much more help is needed. Only 10% of campaigns have reached their stated goals, with the average across those goals coming in around $40,000. For those who have lost homes, cars, and all their possessions, $40,000 is not realistically enough to rebuild your life. $18,625 is a start for many, and a far cry from the $700 offered from the government, but this community will need continued support for a long time.

Digging into the 885 GoFundMe campaigns even deeper, around half raised less than $10,000, with 22% raising less than $5,000. At the higher end, only 10% raised over the average goal level of $40,000. Almost all of the 9 campaigns that raised over $100,000 were from local businesses that are raising funds to support their employees and their families. In addition to homes and apartments that burned, over 1,000 Lahaina businesses were affected, which means a lot of the community will be out of work for the indefinite future.

These numbers represent only a portion of all the relief being sent to Maui. Instagram accounts like @Lahaina_Ohana_Venmo gained over 60,000 followers by simply posting photos and Venmo QR codes for affected families. No one will truly know how much was donated through such direct means, but at least these funds are going directly to those who need it the most.

We created MauiLove.org as another way to share local stories from those who have lost their homes, their businesses, and even their loved ones. If you are looking for a way to help, you can donate to families here or check the resources listed above.

* NOTE: Current figures based on data from 885 GoFundMe campaigns as of 8/21/23. We will continue to collect and update the data as it becomes available.


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