Maui’s North Shore Parties with a Purpose

November 8, 2010, 9:30 AM HST · Updated November 8, 9:55 AM

Moana Café in Paia was the place to be this past Saturday night. Crowds formed outside on the sidewalk, as the packed dance floor inside got funky to the sounds of Pio Marasco and Max Vega. Big smiles and lots of laughter added an extra layer of spark to the sounds of the soulful house grooves. Passers by quickly stopped to check out the action happening on this otherwise quaint small town street. At first glance, it appeared to be nothing more than the usual late night hipster scene enjoying their weekend debauchery.

Elevate at Cafe Moana

Founder of Elevate, Emily Grace, is all smiles at her latest fundraiser

Remember the age-old advice; don’t ever judge a book by its cover?

These partygoers were there to support Elevate, a monthly community fundraiser founded by one of my hero’s Emily Grace. Each month, at Moana Café, Emily plans an evening of dance floor madness and selects which nonprofit or community organization to donate her earnings. In the past year, this fundraiser has supported Women Helping Women, The Boo Boo Zoo, the clean water initiative +H20, the Surfrider Foundation, the Maui Food Bank, and so many more. She has even supported me in helping me attend the TED Women’s Conference in Washington DC.

Emily is “elevating” a new concept called bar consciousness. Have fun. Give back. What a simple and easy concept! I hope the success of Elevate inspires other events to do the same. If we can turn a fun night out into a money raising frenzy for our local nonprofits, imagine how Maui would benefit.


The next Elevate fundraiser will be on December 11th at 9pm featuring DJ Boomshot. It will raise funds for Ninth Life Hawaii, a wild cat rescue service based in Haiku. To stay in the loop about future Elevates, become a friend of Moana Café on Facebook.

Gretchen Rhodes and Pio Marasco Work the Crowd

The Maui Social Scene is brought to you by Katie McMillan. Comments, feedback, and suggestions are always welcome. You can reach her at 808-283-4120 or [email protected]

Katie McMillan is a Maui-based publicist and marketing consultant. Past and current clients include the University of Hawaii, Maui Center, the Sustainable Living Institute of Maui, Paia Mediation, Paia Yoga, +H20, raw food chef and Dragon Yoga creator Jeremy Safron, the Maui Film Festival, and more.

Photos by Batel Shimi,



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