Molokai and Lanai High Athletics Fundraiser a Homerun
Downtown Athletic Club Hawaii News Release
The Downtown Athletic Club Hawaii’s (DACH) second annual benefit fundraiser, “Cheers for Molokai and Lanai High,” held on Jan. 29 outside Murphy’s Bar and Grill, raised $131,500 to benefit student athletes from both schools, and donations are still coming in.
DACH Board of Directors President Keith Amemiya said the outpouring of support from across the state was emotional and overwhelming. Of the proceeds, $85,500 went to Molokai High and $46,000 will benefit Lanai High’s athletic program.
DACH arrived at the financial allocation with the agreement of Molokai High and Lanai High athletic administrators based on the respective numbers of student-athletes served and certain donations that were earmarked by sponsors.
“We are thrilled that the Downtown Athletic Club Hawaii was able to raise money for two deserving schools that face very unique geographic challenges,” Amemiya said. “We are so grateful to our many sponsors, as well as the community, for rallying together to help provide sorely needed funds to supplement Molokai and Lanai High’s athletic and transportation budgets. And, we’re hopeful the legislature will restore funds to high school athletic programs soon.”
The pre- and post-event coverage – including a mini documentary called “Going the Distance: The Journey of Molokai and Lanai Sports,” which aired on KGMB prior to the fundraiser – also generated awareness of the struggles faced by student athletes at Molokai and Lanai High who endure bumpy ferry rides and sleep on gym floors to participate in off-island away games. The TV program, shot and produced by local videographer Susanne Kurisu, helped spur movement by elected officials toward restoring resources for public school athletics that had been cut in past years.
In the 2013-2014 school year, Molokai High School is facing a $32,000 shortfall on its travel budget, which threatens participation and sometimes forces teams to send less-than-full squads for games on Maui and Lanai. Lanai High School faces similar budget shortfall challenges and, over the years, has learned to make the best of substandard equipment and fatigued players.
Molokai High Athletic Director Hoku Haliniak said, “Words cannot express how appreciative we are to receive this very generous gift from the Downtown Athletic Club Hawaii and the community.” She said the money will enable Molokai High to purchase new uniforms, help defray travel costs and allow the school to replace worn out equipment.
Lanai High will also use the proceeds to cover travel expenses and enhance the school’s athletic programs.
Guests of “Cheers for Molokai and Lanai High” enjoyed live local entertainment by Brother Noland and Kapena Delima and dined on popular Molokai and Lanai fare, such as Lanai venison chili and Molokai poi and bread.