Oprah Winfrey and Dwayne Johnson announced a joint partnership to form the People’s Fund of Maui to help Hawaii’s wildfire victims. The fund launches with a $10 million contribution from Winfrey and Johnson.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, “Every adult resident over the age of 18 who lives in the affected area and was displaced by the wildfires in Lahaina and Kula is eligible to receive $1,200 per month from the fund to help them through this period of recovery.”
The August 2023 Hawaii Wildfires Devastated Maui
The wind-driven wildfires in Hawaii in early August killed at least 115 people and left hundreds more missing in the town of Lāhainā, Maui. The Federal Emergency Management Agency estimates that more than 2,200 buildings were destroyed and the fires caused $6 billion in damage.
Winfrey owns 870 acres of land on Maui and has helped victims since the beginning of the disaster. On August 13, she said that she would make “a major donation, after all of the smoke and ashes have settled here, and we figure out what the rebuilding is going to look like.” Winfrey later posted on her Instagram, “We have created the People’s Fund of Maui that will put money directly in the hands of the people who need it right now. That money is going to go to one of many residents who have been displaced in Maui. We guarantee it.”
In a statement quoted in The Hollywood Reporter, Winfrey says, “I have been meeting with people throughout the community that were impacted by the fires over the last few weeks, asking what they most needed and how I could be of service. The main thing I’ve been hearing is their concern about how to move forward under the immense financial burden. The community has come together in so many wonderful ways, and my intention is to support those impacted as they determine what rebuilding looks like for them.”
Johnson, who is of part Samoan descent, said in a statement:
“As people around the world watched the catastrophic loss and devastation caused by the Maui wildfires, they also witnessed the great spirit and resilience of our Polynesian culture and the tremendous strength of the people of Maui. Even in the most difficult of times, the people of Maui come together, and we rise – that’s what makes us stronger. We are beyond grateful to be working alongside esteemed community leaders of Maui to launch the People’s Fund of Maui. These leaders are offering their guidance to ensure our fund can put money directly in the hands of those individuals most affected. To all who have already offered your help, thank you for your support and for those wanting to help now, your prayers and resources are a welcome assistance for those displaced within the Maui community. I also want to offer my profound gratitude to all the first responders, local organizations and every individual who has worked tirelessly on the ground responding to this crisis.”
Maui residents affected by the fires or people who wish to donate money can do so at PeoplesFundofMaui.org.