Celebrities Unite to Support Maui Residents Affected by Devastating Wildfires
In a heartwarming display of solidarity, media mogul Oprah Winfrey and actor Dwayne Johnson have teamed up to create the People’s Fund of Maui. This initiative aims to provide direct financial assistance to the residents of Maui who have been profoundly impacted by the recent destructive wildfires. The move comes after both celebrities faced criticism for their initial response to the disaster, prompting them to take immediate action.
With her ownership of over 2,000 acres in Maui, Winfrey, whose estimated net worth is $2.5 billion, felt compelled to aid those affected by the calamity. Johnson, who has strong cultural ties to the Pacific Islands through his Samoan heritage, was equally driven to support the community in their time of need. Together, they launched the People’s Fund of Maui, emphasizing their commitment to putting money directly into the hands of those who require immediate assistance.
The initial $10 million donation from Johnson and Winfrey, combined with public contributions exceeding $55,000 via Instagram, has laid the foundation for the People’s Fund of Maui. The fund promises to offer monthly assistance of up to $1,200 to permanent Maui residents aged 18 and above, as long as they apply through the dedicated website.
The People’s Fund of Maui has been established in collaboration with the Entertainment Industry Foundation, a renowned philanthropic organization for arts and entertainment professionals. Through their DEFY: DISASTER program, this foundation has successfully responded to over 40 natural disasters in the past. The partnership ensures that the fund will be well-managed and able to deliver prompt aid to those affected by the wildfires.
The idea for the People’s Fund of Maui was inspired by singer Dolly Parton’s My People Fund, which provided $1,000 monthly payments for six months to families affected by natural disasters. Johnson and Winfrey sought to emulate this direct assistance model, aiming to support Maui residents for as long as necessary. All funds will be electronically disbursed, and applicants will receive email notifications regarding the status of their applications.
The assistance offered by the fund is specifically targeted towards residents of Maui whose homes and properties have been destroyed in one of the most devastating wildfires the United States has witnessed in a century. The fires have already ravaged over 2,000 structures, claimed the lives of more than 100 people, and left many others missing.
It is important to note that Winfrey and Johnson’s efforts come after criticism was directed at them and other billionaires who own property in Maui for their initially perceived lack of response to the wildfires. However, several other prominent figures have also stepped forward to aid the affected community. Meta billionaire Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, pledged a substantial $400,000 donation to the Hawaii Community Foundation. Meanwhile, Amazon billionaire Jeff Bezos and his fiancée announced a remarkable $100 million fund dedicated to supporting Maui residents. Bob Parsons’ golf brand previously contributed $1 million to a disaster relief organization. Additionally, Workday co-founder and CEO emeritus David Duffield has reportedly been working closely with the Maui Humane Society. Furthermore, billionaire CEO of Nvidia, Jensen Huang, and Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff have also made generous contributions to local relief funds.
Despite the generosity of some billionaires, real estate tycoon Neil Bluhm, Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison, and investor Peter Thiel, all of whom own property in Hawaii, have not publicly announced any donations toward wildfire relief efforts.
Oprah Winfrey and Dwayne Johnson’s establishment of the People’s Fund of Maui serves as a shining example of compassion and support during times of crisis. Their joint initiative aims to alleviate the hardships faced by Maui residents affected by the devastating wildfires. By directly providing financial assistance, they demonstrate their unwavering commitment to helping those in need. Alongside other prominent figures, Winfrey and Johnson have shown that coming together as a community is crucial in times of adversity. Through their efforts, they offer hope and comfort to the residents of Maui, proving that unity and compassion can make a significant difference in rebuilding lives and communities.