Making a Difference in Hawai'i

Hawai'i Rotary District 5000
Maui No Ka Oi

August 9, 2023 was a tragic day for our Rotarians, families and friends on the Island of Maui. The fires across the island have changed lives forever. Truly devastating. Our sympathy, thoughts and prayers are with everyone impacted.

As people of action, we can take immediate action. As we come together to recover and rebuild, we need to support each other. We need to Create Hope for Maui.

Through our Rotary District 5000 Foundation, a relief fund has been established. Foundation President Dave Hamil and Treasurer Sharon Amano will handle all donations. A committee will be organized shortly to find the greatest needs for distribution of monies. A single fund will be the most helpful over time to provide the most significant benefits.

Mahalo to the Rotary Club of Waikiki for collecting monies at their lunch meeting today. These are the first contributions to the fund.

Please also widely share this opportunity to help.

Stay safe, take care and mahalo for creating hope.

Mark Merriam, District Governor
Rotary District 5000, Hawaii, USA
Stories from Hawai'i Rotary

Aloha, Again!

Aloha from the Rotary Club of Wahiawa-Wailua.

Here is our December 15th, ARC Hawaii-Wahiawa Facility Al Wonder Christmas Party! Have a great day and a very Blessed and Merry Christmas!

Table of Contents

  • December is Rotary International Disease Prevention and Treatment Month!
  • The ARC Al Wonder Christmas Party
  • Around the Club in Photos

Why should you go to the International Convention?  You will experience the excitement when you are surrounded by the global grandeur of it all. You get ‘Chicken Skin’ while seeing the country flags paraded at the opening ceremony.  You feel Rotary’s breadth when you are among thousands of others living up to Service Above Self. You will see fellow people of action fill an arena around you, and you might hear a dozen languages while walking around the House of Friendship. Hear from inspiring speakers and meet potential friends with the same conviction for service! 

Amidst Maui's wildfire aftermath, Rotary District 5000 secured a $24,000 grant to aid Pu`uhonua o Nene shelter. Operated by Project Vision, it houses 150 wildfire survivors. Grant funds provided drinkable water containers and a powered golf cart for mobility. Rotary's commitment continues with plans for additional structures.

On November 2nd, The Lahaina News featured a story from the October 27th check presentation to Pu'uhonua O Nene Shelter on Maui.

Start the new year by supporting a great a cause with the Rotaract E-Club Ohana (RECO) on Saturday, January 6 at Sports Box at Dole Cannery.

Through the unwavering spirit of Aloha and heartfelt donations from around the world, the Hawai’i Rotary District 5000 Foundation’s Maui Fires Relief Fund has garnered an incredible outpouring of support. Three Maui Rotary clubs collaborated to provide funds from this effort to support the Keiki Health and Wellness Fair held at Whaler’s Village on Saturday October 28, 2023.

As we count down the days to 'World Polio Day,' I find myself reflecting on the monumental efforts we've witnessed and the journey we've shared in the fight to eradicate this crippling disease. This year, on October 24th, we have another opportunity to raise our voices, commit to action, and contribute to a cause that, for decades, has been at the heart of Rotary's mission — ending polio.

October 24, 2023 - World Polio Day provides an opportunity to highlight global efforts toward a polio free world and honor the tireless contributions of those on the frontlines in the fight to eradicate polio from every corner of the globe. We need to ramp up our efforts to eradicate polio to protect children from this devastating and disabling disease. What are you and your club members planning for World Polio Day?
Tell us what your doing by emailing

Greetings and Salutations from the Rotary Club of Honolulu! 

If you missed our Tuesday meeting with guest speaker, Nanci Kreidman, you might want to give yourself a hug - be kind.  She packed the "house"!  Her topic was well received and plucked the heartstrings.  Violence is a tough topic - especially for those who have endured it.  Nanci, among others, has worked hard to make help available to those in need and she shared with us how, brought to our awareness things we may not have thought of, and definitely taught many of us more than we knew before. 

Our Speaker Committee has been working hard to bring you amazing speakers with relevance.

This coming week, our guest speaker will be Chip Fletcher.  He is going to share with us about our eroding shorelines.  Do you live on the shoreline?  You might want to come listen to what he has to say!  Is there something we can do?  I don't know, but I will be there to find out!  COME JOIN US!  Sign up now before registration closes!

Maui Rotary Clubs hosted “Kokua Lahaina Rising,” an informational meeting with Lahaina-area physicians and mental health providers.

On Thursday, Aug. 31st, the nine Maui Rotary clubs hosted a dinner and informational meeting at Tante Fishmarket Restaurant in Ma’alaea Harbor. Over 65 Rotarians and Maui-area health care professionals gathered to hear Dr. David Schonfeld, director of the National Center for School Crisis and Bereavement. Dr. Schonfeld was in Maui at the invitation of the Hawaii Department of Health.  Kathleen Merriam, from the Department of Health on Oahu, Adult Mental Health Division, was dispatched to Maui for three days to assist with the newly-established Lahaina Medical Clinic.  Kathleen assisted at the event and serves as the chairwoman of District 5000’s Mental Health Action Group.

Event coordinator Joanne Laird said Thursday’s dinner was underwritten by two very generous Rotary benefactors, one from Maui and one from California. For more information about children recovering from disasters and tragedy, visit

It's time for our annual fundraiser! This year we are holding a garage and bake sale at Past President's Nicole's house. Her neighborhood is holding a neighborhood garage sale so we figured we'd join the fun! At our garage sale, we will also be selling baked goods, drinks, and possibly some other snacks. Make sure to stop by and support our club fundraiser. 

Last year we fundraised money for our club necessities, IHS Hawaii and other non-profits with a 40/40/20% split of proceeds. This year we are doing a similar concept. 40% of our proceeds will go towardsAloha Harvest, the largest food rescue and redistribution organization in Hawaiʻi, getting quality excess food into stomachs instead of landfills. For information, please click HERE. 40% of the proceeds will be put into our club funds and allocated towards future service projects and club necessities, but not necessarily this fiscal year. The last 20% of the proceeds will be put into our club funds, but allocated for various service projects that occur this fiscal year (for example, Operation Christmas Child).

Aug 27, 2023

Hawaii Rotary Youth Foundation (HRYF) is participating in Give Aloha, Foodland’s Annual Community Matching Gifts Program.  This program honors Foodland’s founder, Maurice J. "Sully" Sullivan, and continues his legacy of giving back to the community.  Proceeds from this campaign will help fund the HRYF scholarship program.

Aug 23, 2023

Kaanapali, HAWAII (August 23, 2023) – In response to the devastating wildfires that recently impacted West Maui, the Hawaii Rotary District 5000 Foundation has allocated $50,000 towards relief efforts aimed at providing immediate assistance to affected residents in the form of gas cards from Maui Oil. The distribution of gas cards started on Tuesday at the Hyatt Regency in Kaanapali, in conjunction with Maui United Way. Members of the Maui Rotary Clubs will continue distributing gas cards to individuals impacted by the fires.

Aug 22, 2023

August 22, 2023 updates from Maui Coastal Clubs Assistant Governor Al Weiland

August 15, 2023 updates from Maui Coastal Clubs Assistant Governor Al Weiland

Maui Rotary Clubs is working with the State Dept. of Housing Finance and Development, Maui Economic Opportunity and the Realtors Association of Maui to identify people who need housing and landlords who have housing available. RAM is in contact with all the property management companies. HHFDC has a form online for landlords to identify the nature of their property and people in need of housing to identify what they need. 

Meet the members of the Rotary Club of Downtown Honolulu at Walmart Ke'eaumoku as the hold a donation drive for victims of the Maui wildfires. 
When: Saturday, August 12 | 8:00 am - 12:00 pm
Where: 700 Ke'eaumoku Street
Items will be sent to Maui via Stevedores & PASHA.

Ala Moana Rotary Initiative Will Give School Supplies to 60 Student

Every child deserves the opportunity to succeed in school, regardless of their family's financial situation. Unfortunately, the cost of school supplies has been steadily rising, making it increasingly difficult for some families to provide their children with the necessary tools for learning. The average family now spends a staggering $700 per child on school supplies. For many families, this means choosing between essentials like food, rent, or school supplies.

That's where the Ala Moana Rotary Club comes in. We're proud to introduce the SmartStart program, an initiative designed to donate 60 backpacks filled with school supplies to Lunalilo School. Our mission is to help students who may not be able to afford new supplies for the start of the school year.

📅 Hickam Pearl Harbor Welcomes August with Open Arms!

 Check out the latest calendar of events for the Rotary Club of Hickam Pearl Harbor!

🗓️ Let's make this month unforgettable with making a difference in our community! 💪

📍 Check out the August Calendar: 📍

#RotaryHPH #RotaryinHawaii #CommunityInvolvement #TogetherWeCan #JoinUs

On Saturday July 26, six of the nine Maui recipients of the Hawaii Rotary Youth Foundation Scholarship (HRYF) Awards program were recognized at a luncheon at Café O`Lei, Kihei restaurant.  This event was attended by a parent of each of the recipients and the representatives of their sponsoring Rotary clubs.  Katy Shroder, Maui HRYF Trustee and organizer of this event, addressed the group and gave a brief history of this unique scholarship program where all 52 clubs in Rotary District 5000 (Hawaii) have the opportunity to award a $5000 scholarship to a graduating high school senior.  Two of the Maui students were also recognized as the recipients of the top scholarship awards of $10,000.  Alex Nguyen from Maui High School (sponsored by the Rotary Club of Kahului) and Olapaholunape Duvachelle from Molokai High School (sponsored by the Rotary Club of Lahaina Sunset) shared their excitement of being selected for the Maurice J. Sullivan and the Joanna L. Sullivan awards. Joanne Laird, Maui Coastal Clubs Representative, and Wendy Hornack, Maui Central Clubs Representative, introduced each of the recipients who then had the opportunity to address the audience on where they were attending college and their future plans after graduating.

Aloha, Rotarians and community members!

The Rotary Club of Honolulu is thrilled to kick off the new Rotarian Year 2023-2024 with a fantastic array of upcoming events and engaging lunch meetings. From Restaurant Week gatherings to volunteer opportunities and inspirational guest speakers, we have something for everyone.

Each year, Rotarians and Rotaractors dedicate their time and efforts to their clubs and their communities. We don’t want that work to go unrecognized. Rotary offers a variety of awards to members, both Rotarians and Rotaractors, for their commitment to service. Each award is distinct in terms of eligibility criteria, the nomination process, and the award materials given to recipients. Learn more about recognition opportunities and plan ahead using the Rotary’s Service Awards guide.

RI President R. Gordon R. McInally urges Rotary members to prioritize mental health and create a culture of care within Rotary and worldwide. As August is Membership and New Club Development Month, it's an ideal time to assess and enhance the club's culture. The article suggests utilizing surveys, like the member interest and member satisfaction surveys, to gather feedback and empower members to shape their club experience. Moreover, it encourages taking the "Creating an Inclusive Club Culture" course and exploring additional resources on My Rotary to foster an inclusive and supportive environment.

President's Message

Dear Rotary Club of Ala Moana and Friends!

      I hope this message finds you well and excited for the upcoming Rotary events! Here are some important updates for our club:

  1. We are dark this Thursday.  There is no meeting July 27, 2023.
  2. In lieu of a club meeting, we have a couple of activities such as two service projects:  SmartStart Program and a Clothing Drive benefiting the students of our adopted elementary school, Lunalilo Elementary School (see details below).  We also have our first social event of the new Rotary year. If you RSVP'd, we look forward to seeing you Thursday, 5:00 P.M. to 7:00 P.M.
  3. Our next club meeting is next Thursday, August 3, at the Pacific Club - Thank you to those who have RSVP'd.  If you have not yet replied, you still have today to do so!  Check out the guest speaker and topic!  We will have a plated lunch so it's important to have an accurate headcount to ensure that you will have a seat and plate.  Click on the appropriate blue box below.
  4. We are still collecting RSVPs for our club meeting the following Thursday, August 10.  You have until August 2 to do so. Click on the appropriate blue box below.
  5. Members:  Please pay your semi-annual dues and voluntary contributions by the end of the month, July 31.  If you need another copy of the Semi-Annual Dues and Voluntary Contribution Statements, please let us know.   Pay by check (one check for both statements) or pay online (one transaction for dues; and, another transaction for contributions).
Thank you for your ongoing dedication to service and fellowship. Your contributions and participation make our Rotary Club of Ala Moana strong and impactful. Let's continue to make a positive difference in our community and beyond.

Yours in Rotary service,

David Arita
President, Rotary Club of Ala Moana

Calling all Rotary and Rotaract Clubs, Kiwanis, Lions, and Optimist Clubs.... let's celebrate Community Week! September 11-17, 2023

2023-24 presidential initiatives

Rotary International President R. Gordon R. McInally is passionate about mental health and helping remove the stigma that sometimes prevents people from getting quality care. During this year, Gordon will focus on three initiatives that Create Hope in the World: prioritizing mental health, building peace through virtual exchanges, and empowering girls.

Are you the parent/grandparent of a middle school student?  Know of a parent/grandparent with a middle school student? Another Virtual Junior Mini RYLA workshop is coming soon on October 11, 2023. Students will discover leadership skills, make new connections, and ignite their potential in this exciting virtual event. Registration is FREE, thanks to the support of Rotary clubs in Hawai'i Rotary District 5000. Visit the Junior RYLA webpage for more details and secure a student's spot today!
In a remarkable display of unity, the Rotary Club of Honolulu gathered to dedicate not one, but two Peace Poles at Palama Settlement. These symbolic monuments carry the powerful message "May Peace Prevail on Earth" in 16 different languages, celebrating the rich diversity of the community, including four Micronesian languages making their debut appearance on a Peace Pole.

Rotary Action Group for Peace and the Rotary Clubs of Hawai’i work together to plant Peace Poles on the beautiful Island of Hawaii.

Hawai'i Rotary Past District Governor (2021-2022) Sandy Matsui, a dedicated Rotarian for over 30 years, shares her inspiring Rotary journey, which began with overcoming barriers as a woman in Rotary. Now serving as the Zone 26 Ambassador for Empowering Girls, Sandy is passionate about fulfilling Rotary International's legacy to empower girls, working alongside fellow Rotarians to enhance their safety, health, education, and well-being worldwide. Sandy emphasizes that empowering girls and women is more than achieving equity; it is about upholding basic human rights. She encourages Rotarians to share success stories and collaborate to make a positive impact, creating new pathways for membership growth and lasting change. Together, they aim to serve with Aloha and create hope in the world.

Kathy Lum, President of the Rotary Club of Mililani Sunrise

Kathy Lum, President of the Rotary Club of Mililani Sunrise reflects on what it means to be a Rotarian. 

Nicole, a Rotaract member in Hawaii, shares her personal journey of finding hope amidst darkness. Despite her own struggles, she committed to organizing the Young Leaders Celebration, prioritizing the youth and their hard work. Unexpectedly, a job opportunity aligned with her field arose, reinforcing her belief in the reciprocal nature of creating hope for oneself and others. Nicole's story illustrates the transformative power of selflessness and the interconnectedness of actions, demonstrating how creating hope can bring about lasting change in individuals and communities. 

Continue reading the story.

Front row L-R:  Mayor Richard Bissen; Brian Moto representing the Maui Rotary Club; Kelsey Briggs, Lahaina Sunset Club; Ann Neizman, Lahaina Sunrise Club; Co-President Hilton Unemori, Wailuku Club.
Middle Row L-R:  Jay Satenstein, Kihei Wailea Club; Maile Tsurusato, Maui Eco Club; Mark Unemori, Co-President Wailuku Club; Mark Merriam, District-Governor Elect, Rotary Club of Metro Honolulu.
Back Row L-R: Joe Park, Lahaina Club; Kauwela Bisquera, Kahului Club; Mike Luque, Upcountry Club.
Aloha from Hawai'i Rotary District 5000 Governor Mark Merriam. A letter to Hawai'i Rotarians welcoming the new year to create hope in the world.
Mahalo Immediate Past District Governor for your year of service to Hawai'i Rotary District 5000. Read his end of year recap newsletter from June 30, 2023.

Now that school is over and students have graduated, the end of the club year is near!  We have a service event coming up this month with the Ko'olau Mountains Watershed Partnership and a beach clean up in July.  

We also have our last social for the club year coming up in July and would like for those interested in joining us for some Sports Box fun to please RSVP.  Price will be $25 per person.  In the RSVP survey there's a link to sign up for the potluck as well.  Please fill that out if you plan on bringing something to share.  For those who are unfamiliar with what Sports Box is, check it out here.  Hope the video convinces you to come. 😋

The picturesque city of Hilo, Hawai'i, hosted the highly anticipated Hawai'i Rotary District 5000 Conference on May 19 through May 21, affectionately known as DISCON 2023 Hilo. Rotarians from across the state, representing all four islands, came together to commemorate their individual and collective achievements during the Rotary year 2022-23.
PICTURE ALBUM (Facebook Page)| SPONSORS, ADVERTISERS, and DONORS (landing page) | PROGRAM BOOK (PDF Download)
The Hele-on Bus System is currently operating for FREE during DISCON 2023.  There is no fare to use the Hele-on Bus System during your time in Hilo.  Here's how to use Hele-On:
Hilo volunteers will be operating a FREE shuttle service, the Friendly Rotary Shuttle.  Here's how you can take advantage of the shuttle from Hilo International Airport to the Grand Naniloa Hotel as well as back to the airport from the hotel.
You've arrived in Hilo.  Now what?  Transportation from and to the Hilo International Airport and the Grand Naniloa Hotel is on your own.  For your convenience, a map of Hilo International Airport is shown below with locations for the various ground transportation accommodations of your choice (source:
  • Friendly Rotarian Shuttle (Click HERE on how to take advantage of this free service)
  • Hele-On Bus (FREE to use during DISCON!  Learn More HERE.)
  • Pre-Arranged Taxi
  • On-Demand Taxi
  • Shared Ride Service
  • Car Rental
You arrive in Hilo.  Now what?  Bookmark this story to help you navigate what to do during DISCON 2023 Hilo.
Happy Month of May!  Rotaract e-Club Ohana is pleased to share their current newsletter for May/June 2023.  And, they encourage everyone to follow them on social media:  Instagram @recohana.808 and Facebook @recohana.808.

A panorama photo of the "Leading Ladies of Maui" event held Saturday, May 6, 2023.

The Leading Ladies of Maui event held on Saturday, May 6, 2023, at the University of Hawai'i Maui Campus, was an incredible success. Almost 60 participants from all over the island of Maui came together to learn from eight leading ladies on how to become empowered themselves. The event was designed "just for the ladies" and was made possible by the generous donation of the Rotary clubs on the island.

What is your Rotary club doing to focus on Youth Service this month? The month of May is Youth Service (formerly called New Generations) Month when Rotary clubs around the world focus on youth service, Rotaract, Interact, RYLA, and Youth Exchange.

"The Rotary Club of Pearlridge is offering a two-year scholarship of $2,000.00 a year ($4,000.00 overall) for a Pearl City High School or Aiea High School senior student who will be attending an accredited vocational, 2-year, or 4-year institution of higher education on a full-time basis in Hawaii or the U.S. Mainland.

Join Hawai'i Rotary's Mental Health Initiatives during Mental Health Month. Visit our new page at to learn about local resources and become a part of Hawai'i Chapter's Rotary Action Group (RAG), Mental Health Initiative.

Rotary in Hawai'i are calling on all girls and women for two exciting events during the month of April and May.  The Girls' Empowerment Initiative is holding one event on the island of Oahu and the other event on Maui.
Are you ready to take your Rotary knowledge to the next level? Look no further than the upcoming Rotary in Hawai'i Online Spring Learning Series! This two-part series on April 1st and 8th, 2023, from 9:00 A.M. to noon, 12:00 P.M. via Zoom, features 18 different sessions led by experienced volunteer leaders.  Learn, Collaborate, and Take Action!

Girls Empowerment Initiative

“I raise up my voice — not so that I can shout, but so that those without a voice can be heard … we cannot all succeed when half of us are held back." - Malala Yousafza

Welcome to March! It was in 1987 that Congress declared this month National Women’s Month, celebrating the vital role that women and girls have played in American history. 

Women’s History Month is a celebration of women’s contributions to history, culture and society. You already know that Women are active participants in Rotary, serving their communities in increasing numbers and serving in leadership positions in Rotary. The 1989 Council on Legislation vote to admit women into Rotary clubs worldwide remains a watershed moment in the history of Rotary. The vote followed the decades-long efforts of men and women from all over the Rotary world to allow the admission of women into Rotary clubs, and several close votes at previous Council meetings.

Rotary International also celebrates women and girls through the Girls’ Empowerment Initiative which debuted in 2022 and has continued today.  Rotary Clubs are encouraged to engage in projects that empower girls, through education, health, clean water, disease prevention, community and economic development, the environment or peace and conflict prevention-Rotary’s seven areas of focus. 

Our District has a team of committed volunteers from Hawaii, Oahu, Maui, and Kauai who meet monthly via zoom to discuss potential girl’s empowerment projects and share ideas for speakers that clubs can use as a resource for girls’ empowerment issues (the speakers and projects are listed on the District's Girls Empowerment page -  CLICK HERE to go to the sitepage). Continue reading to learn about upcoming events.

Each year clubs around the State get out to execute a Community Service Project. This year, it is April 22, which happens to be Earth Day too!  We are participating in Kahu Hawaii's Volunteer Month and our projects can be listed for others to join you.  We will have a group listing under Rotary D5000 on the Kanu Hawaii website and the postings are being coordinated by Kristina Tomino for Youth Service Chair, Ryan Char.  Read more for the projects planned so far.
Ladies Tea on Sunday, March 5th at the Arc of Hilo
“Women belong in all places where decisions are being made. It shouldn’t be that women are the exception.” ― Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Calling all women and girls. Join Hawai’i Rotary and hear from local, inspirational speakers to learn how to have your voice, as a girl or woman heard. Please bring feminine hygiene products for an upcoming service project. Contact Hawai’i Island GEI Representative, Connie Ichinose for questions (
Guest speakers include Kathleen McGilvray (CEO YWCA of Hawaii Island), Brandee Menino (CEO Hope Services Hawaii), Bethany Hall (Ho`ola Na Pua), Jade Toma (Hilo Intermediate School Health/PE Teacher), and Sandy Schuffler, (Special Needs).
Join Hawai'i Rotary at the Arc of Hilo, Sunday, March 5th from 2-4pm for Hawai’i Island’s Rotary Girl's Empowerment Tea.
Maui Updates

Maui Rotary Clubs hosted “Kokua Lahaina Rising,” an informational meeting with Lahaina-area physicians and mental health providers.

On Thursday, Aug. 31st, the nine Maui Rotary clubs hosted a dinner and informational meeting at Tante Fishmarket Restaurant in Ma’alaea Harbor. Over 65 Rotarians and Maui-area health care professionals gathered to hear Dr. David Schonfeld, director of the National Center for School Crisis and Bereavement. Dr. Schonfeld was in Maui at the invitation of the Hawaii Department of Health.  Kathleen Merriam, from the Department of Health on Oahu, Adult Mental Health Division, was dispatched to Maui for three days to assist with the newly-established Lahaina Medical Clinic.  Kathleen assisted at the event and serves as the chairwoman of District 5000’s Mental Health Action Group.

Event coordinator Joanne Laird said Thursday’s dinner was underwritten by two very generous Rotary benefactors, one from Maui and one from California. For more information about children recovering from disasters and tragedy, visit

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