MMA fighter Ilima-Lei Macfarlane raises over $2.6 million to support Maui fire victims. Learn how she plans to distribute the funds and prioritize families with generational ties to the land.
|Professional mixed martial arts fighter Ilima-Lei Macfarlane raises over $2.6 million to support Maui fire victims through her nonprofit organization, Na Wahine Toa Foundation.|
|The funds will be distributed to families with generational ties to Lahaina and the coalition Na Ohana o Lele.|
|Macfarlane has already sent $250,000 directly to families in need and contributed $25,000 to Aina Momona, a Hawaiian nonprofit supporting Maui relief efforts.|
|She plans to increase transparency by publicly listing awardees and issuing press releases once she has a staff in place.|
|Despite facing criticism, Macfarlane continues to fundraise, coordinate donation drives, and expand her team to meet the growing needs of Na Wahine Toa.|
Professional mixed martial arts fighter Ilima-Lei Macfarlane has taken action to support the victims of the devastating Maui fires. Macfarlane, a Native Hawaiian from Oahu, launched a fundraiser through her nonprofit organization, Na Wahine Toa Foundation. The initial goal was to raise a couple thousand dollars, but the campaign quickly went viral, raising over $2.6 million by the end of August.
Macfarlane had originally planned to send the funds to a trusted friend on Maui for distribution. However, due to the overwhelming response, she has decided to distribute the funds through Na Wahine Toa. This decision led her to scale up the organization and hire staff to manage the distribution process while ensuring accountability to the community.
The funds will primarily be directed towards families who have lived in Lahaina for generations. Macfarlane also plans to support Na Ohana o Lele, a coalition of Lahaina leaders working to rebuild the community. She emphasizes the importance of prioritizing families with generational ties to the land.
While Na Wahine Toa is waiting for the funds from Instagram, Macfarlane has already sent $250,000 directly to families in need through GoFundMe and Venmo accounts. She has also contributed $25,000 to Aina Momona, another Hawaiian nonprofit supporting Maui relief efforts.
Macfarlane has faced criticism on social media regarding transparency in fund distribution. In response, she has increased her updates on Instagram and plans to publicly list awardees and issue press releases once she has a staff in place.
Despite the challenges, Macfarlane remains committed to fundraising, coordinating donation drives, and expanding her team to meet the growing needs of Na Wahine Toa. She is grateful for the global support and mobilization from individuals contributing small amounts to make a significant impact.