Categorized | Featured, Volunteering

United Way raises more than $30K at Mayors Dinner

Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann, Kauai Mayor Bernard Carvalho and Big Island Mayor Billy Kenoi served as the auctioneers. (Hawaii 24/7 photo courtesy of Margaret Masunaga)

Karin Stanton | Hawaii 24/7 Contributing Editor

Hawaii Island United Way raised more than $30,000 in one evening of food, laughter and music.

About 150 guests attended Friday night’s Mayor’s Reception at the Mauna Lani Bay Hotel and Bungalows, bid on golf outings with the mayors and were treated to an exclusive set by musicians Willie K. and Eric Gilliom, reunited as the Barefoot Natives.

The HIUW funds 55 programs through 41 partner agencies and the dinner fundraiser brought in at least $31,000 through ticket sales and the auction items.

The weekend kicked off with the sounds of Desiree Cruz and a six-course meal prepared by the Mauna Lani culinary team.

Then the fun started. Mayors Billy Kenoi, Bernard Carvalho and Mufi Hannemann started the bidding on three auction items.

At the Mayor's Cup dinner at the Mauna Lani Bay Hotel (back row): Dale Ross, Deputy Prosecuting Attorney; Margaret Masunaga, Deputy Planning Director; Anne Bailey, Housing Executive Secetary; (front row) Dale Ishida Suezaki, Morgan Stanley Smith Barney; and John Komeiji, Hawaiian Telcom Senior VP & General Counsel. (Hawaii 24/7 photo courtesy of Margaret Masunaga)

First up was a round of golf with Mayor Kenoi at Nanea Golf Course, plus a round of drinks.

Kenoi joked that a building permit might be included in the package if bidding went high enough. (But not on Furlough Fridays, when non-essential county workers are not working).

That package sold for $2,500.

Next was a round of golf with Kenoi at Hokulia, plus a Kauai weekend package (flight, hotel, car), a Maui weekend package, dinner at Roy’s Restaurant on Oahu, a mayoral haka dance and an unspecified hula dance. That went for $3,000.

Chef Sam Choy upped his offer of an 8-person dinner party to a 12-person dinner party, drawing bids from around the room.

Kenoi reminded the audience Choy is a guest chef for the L.A. Lakers and is superstar basketball player Kobe Bryant’s favorite chef and commands thousands of dollars for his skills.

That package went for $3,000 to the wife of county Department of Public Works Warren Lee, co-chairman of the event.

John Komeiji, Hawaiian Telcom Senior VP and General Counsel, Jill Kubojiri, Waiakea Inter. School teacher, Harry Kubojiri, Hawaii County Police Chief. Front, L to R: Dale Ishida Suezaki, Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, Lydia Clements, Hawaii Community Foundation. (Hawaii 24/7 photo courtesy of Margaret Masunaga)

Mayor Kenoi apparently will be playing a lot of golf in the coming weeks and Choy will have some hungry mouths to feed.

The president of Mauna Lani Resort Inc., Akito Tabo, gave a welcoming speech, thanking the mayors for attending and for their assistance in raising funds for the United Way.

Kenoi also expressed his appreciation. “This is what makes the Big Island so special,” he said. “Everybody in our community looks out for those who cannot look out for themselves.”

He went on to acknowledge the mayors from Honolulu and Kauai for their support of Hawaii Island United Way.

“As Mayor Bernard Carvalho says … we might be separated by an ocean, but we are connected by our families and our people,” Kenoi said. “I’m proud to call them my friends.”

Friday evening’s dinner was hosted by Nan, Inc. and Puna Geothermal Venture. The emcee was Jeanine Atebara.

Darla DeVille, HIUW president, said the evening was successful.

“It was wonderful. Everything that is our mission – to unite people, organizations and resources,” she said. “These are our community builders.”

DeVille noted that 98 cents of every dollar stay on the Big Island to fund programs that help people on a day-to-day basis.

The other 2 cents are earmarked for the state organization and United Way International.

Following the auction, the Barefoot Natives played a rousing set that drew standing ovations when Willie K. busted out a couple of opera numbers.

Willie said it was the first time the duo had played on the Big Island in two years, and it was obvious they missed us!

In addition to the Mayors Dinner, the weekend included the 17th annual Mayors Cup Golf Tournament and the Evening in Paradise food and wine extravaganza.

The Evening in Paradise was attended by about 500 people who were treated to entertainment by Old School and a variety of tasty plates served up by a host of the island’s top chefs and restaurants.

— Find out more:
Mauna Lani Bay Hotel and Bungalows:
Hawaii Island United Way:

Mayors Dinner emcee Jeanine Atabare (Hawaii 24/7 photo by Karin Stanton)

From left: Mayor Billy Kenoi, Willie K., Mayor Mufi Hannemann, Eric Gilliom and Mayor Bernard Carvalho. (Hawaii 24/7 photo by Karin Stanton)

Colin Nakagawa, chef at Hilo's Seaside Restaurant, enjoys an Evening in Paradise. (Hawaii 24/7 photo courtesy of Margaret Masunaga)

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