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Local conference addresses the tough economy's impact on nonprofits

Ken Lund

The Association of Fundraising Professionals Aloha Chapter recently held a day-long conference in Honolulu.

About 200 people in Hawaiʻi are members of the chapter, which is run by an all-volunteer board of 13 directors. They gathered to share some awards, but especially to share advice and successes as nonprofits struggle for donations in a tough economy.

One suggestion is that local nonprofits would benefit from shedding a scarcity mindset and should look to each other as potential collaborators rather than as competitors for funds, said Ryan Catalani, executive director of Family Promise of Hawaii and an AFP Aloha Chapter committee chair.

His nonprofit's programs serve children and families who are experiencing homelessness and provides a short term emergency shelter for rent relief and permanent housing solutions.

The organization's annual budget is $2 million, funded by government grants — as well as individual and corporate donors.

It was recently able to secure a $100,000 grant from Aloha United Way to support financial stability for so-called “ALICE households,” those who are Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed.

A breakout session on corporate giving included Dana Harvey, assistant manager of government and community relations at Alexander & Baldwin, who described how this publicly traded company supports employee giving to nonprofits.

A&B disbursed nearly a million dollars to more than 175 Hawaiʻi organizations in 2021. That was boosted in part by A&B itself supplementing employee giving with $150 in matching funds as the company celebrated its 150-year anniversary.

In addition to building up the fundraising profession in the state, the AFP Aloha chapter’s own goal for the coming year is to engage potential philanthropists for efforts that can make a statewide impact.

A. Kam Napier is the editor-in-chief of Pacific Business News.
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