Maui wildfires: Oprah and Dwayne Johnson donate $10M to victims, share how to apply for the fund

Francis Akhalbey September 01, 2023
Oprah Winfrey and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson launched a fundraising campaign for Maui residents affected by the wildfires -- Photo Credit: Harpo

Oprah Winfrey and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson announced they have set up a fundraiser to provide financial assistance for Maui residents who were displaced by the deadly wildfires. According to TODAY, the duo said the money raised from the People’s Fund of Maui will be directly disbursed to people who were affected by the wildfires.

Winfrey, 69, and the Bay Watch actor also announced a $10 million donation to the People’s Fund of Maui. The billionaire media mogul owns a property in Maui while Johnson partly lived in Hawaii during his childhood.

“Collaborating closely with an esteemed advisory board and support from the local community and respected elders, this new fund will serve as a bridge to provide cash directly to the families and individuals affected so that they can personally determine how best to use the funds for themselves,” a statement announcing the campaign said.

The fund aims to pay $1,200 monthly to any resident above 18 years who was affected and displaced by the wildfires that destroyed the island’s Lahaina and Kula communities. This is to help them piece their lives back together.

“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,” Winfrey said.

“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.”

The devastating wildfires in Maui started at the beginning of August and have since been described as the deadliest wildfire in modern American history, TODAY reported. More than 100 people have so far been confirmed dead from the wildfires.

“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,” Johnson, 51, said in the statement.

“We are beyond grateful to be working alongside esteemed community leaders of Maui to launch the People’s Fund of Maui,” he added. “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.”

Johnson and Winfrey also spoke about the campaign in a video. “You want to take care of the greatest need of the people and that’s giving them money,” Johnson said in the video.

“We want to have this fund go for as long as you, America, choose to help us with this fund,” Winfrey also said.

“And our goal is to be able to give people money regularly for at least the next six months so that they will be able to make decisions for themselves and be able to have some sense of value for what they can bring to themselves and to their families. We will continue the fund for as long as you help us continue the fund.”

Residents can apply for the funds via the People’s Fund of Maui’s website.

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: September 1, 2023


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