Living The Aloha United Way

By Susan Au Doyle
Wednesday - September 05, 2007
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Aloha United Way works to improve lives, motivate people to help others, increase resources to meet needs and inspire solutions to community problems.

When we began in 1919, Aloha United Way (AUW) served essentially as a fundraiser, but today, the mission of AUW is much broader. While AUW continues to raise money, throughout the years, AUW has been able to improve lives by bringing people and resources together to build a stronger and healthier community.

So what does AUW really do? While most of you may know AUW as the “one time ask” with monies taken out through payroll deduction, we are much more than that.

We invest your dollars to support a network of agencies offering a broad range of services, allowing them to do what they do best - serve as direct lines of support to those in need.

Kids from KCAA Preschools, Aloha United Way’s partner agency, on the playground
Kids from KCAA Preschools, Aloha United Way’s partner agency, on the playground

In 2006, we raised nearly $20 million in our federal and non-federal campaigns. Our funding is leveraged into more than $320 million in health and human services, resulting in over 500,000 individuals benefiting from assistance.

Thanks to the community, AUW has also been able to direct over 45,000 people to the services they need through our information and referral service, 2-1-1 ( We’ve also encouraged volunteerism through our Volunteer Hawaii website (, where we have almost 600 people each month refer themselves to volunteer opportunities in the community.

AUW also serves as a community leader, taking the community’s concerns in four key issues that are important to them - early childhood development, individual and family financial stability, homelessness and crime and drug use-and partnering with other agencies to permanently improve our community in these issue areas.

In these four areas, we’ve worked towards creating results, some of which include (homeless): helping prevent over 400 at-risk families from becoming homeless; (crime and drug use) the development of Weed & Seed communities to keep neighborhoods safe; (individual & family self-sufficiency) coordinating the statewide effort to help more families file through free tax sites for more than $5 million in refunds and credits such as the Earned Income Tax Credit; and (early childhood development) delivering 5,100 packets of information in a public awareness campaign called Born Learning to help parents use every day moments to help their young children be ready for school.

Sept. 4 is the start of our annual General Campaign and runs through Oct. 12. This is really a time when the community at large comes together in support of raising monies for community betterment.

You may find employee rallies, bake sales and even car washes going on at establishments around town-all done with the camaraderie and self-lessness of hundreds of thousands of individuals working to give back to those less fortunate.

In partnership with all of you, AUW hopes to continue this legacy of community giving and to increase resources for the betterment of our community.

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