The Maui Economic Development Board (MEDB) recently raised $338,046 at the nonprofit Ke Alahele Education Fund benefit dinner and auction at the Grand Wailea. Tickets cost $150 each, and all 700 seats were sold out. The funds were raised for science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) programs, and to help new high-tech companies on Maui. It was a wildly successful night.
The evening included a robotics challenge, reception, silent auction, dinner and a live auction. U.S. Senator Daniel Inouye and Mayor Alan Arakawa both spoke at the fundraiser.
The MEDB created the Ke Alahele Education Fund non profit in 2006 specifically for fundraising like this, to stimulate STEM programs for the betterment of Maui’s community, education and economy. Giving students a good start through access to programs like these is a wise choice in the continual effort to improve life on Maui. The same is true for their efforts in helping local businesses get a foothold and expand, to strengthen and diversify the economy. Don’t misunderstand. We are incredibly lucky to say that we call Maui home, but no matter where you live, you can always make life better.
Some of the funds raised will go toward grants to assist technology businesses to address the increasingly common question, “Why does the US have so few STEM professionals compared to other developed countries?” County, State and Federal funding have all contributed to the Ke Alahele Education Fund, and so have residents that want to see technology become a stronger component of the Maui economy. Those of us who are lucky enough to live in South Shore Maui enjoy close proximity to the Maui Research & Technology Park in Kihei that the MEDB helps manage, and that has been described as a tech business incubator site.
With continued efforts on the part of the MEDB and the community, we’ll be looking forward to Maui’s future strength as one of the most beautiful vacation destinations in the world, a technological hotspot, and an amazing place to call home.