Maui News

Mayor Victorino Honored at Maui Economic Opportunity Virtual Gala

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Attendees of the Maui Economic Opportunity gala, honoring Mayor Michael Victorino, pose for a photo at the conclusion of the event on Saturday, Aug. 28. Shown are (from left) are: Rod Antone, state Sen. Roz Baker, Maui County Council Chairwoman Alice Lee, Joycelyn and Michael Victorino, state Rep. Troy Hashimoto and MEO CEO Debbie Cabebe. PC: Maui Economic Opportunity.

Maui County Mayor Michael Victorino was honored by Maui Economic Opportunity during the organization’s fundraising gala, held Saturday night, Aug. 28.

The event was carried online after being postponed three times due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mayor Victorino was honored for his support of Maui County nonprofit agencies, including MEO, and the county’s safety net for people in need, especially during the pandemic.


Council Chairwoman Alice Lee, state Sen. Roz Baker and state Rep. Troy Hashimoto joined the livestream event at the MEO offices, along with Mayor Victorino and his wife, Joycelyn.

Maui County Council Chairwoman Alice Lee offers tongue and cheek suggestions to Mayor Michael Victorino on ways to manage overtourism at the Maui Economic Opportunity “. . . Do What Is Right” gala fundraiser livestreamed from MEO offices in Wailuku on Saturday, Aug. 28. PC: Maui Economic Opportunity

An online auction with more than 80 items, including hotel stays, restaurant certificates and airline miles, raised more than $5,000 for the nonprofit Community Action Partnership that works to assist low income and disenfranchised members of the community. MEO is also heavily involved in disbursing pandemic relief.

The event was originally scheduled for March 2020, but was reset due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Saturday’s event originally was planned as in-person, but Cabebe made the decision to move to a livestream platform in early August due to rising COVID-19 cases. 


“We apologize for the inconvenience to gala-goers for the switch to the online presentation, but we decided to put the health and safety of guests and staff first,” said Cabebe. “Delaying the event again was not an option given coming events.”

The concert by Nevah Too Late was videotaped ahead of time, and sponsors signed on and offered remarks. Highridge Costa President Moe Mohanna talked about an affordable rental housing collaborative between the developer, Hale Mahaolu and MEO and the pressing need for housing regular folks. Rod Antone, executive director of the Maui Hotel and Lodging Association, served as emcee.

Maui Hotel & Lodging Association Executive Director Rod Antone watches a performance by Nevah Too Late projected onto a wall in the Maui Economic Opportunity classroom in Wailuku. Antone served as emcee for the MEO fundraising gala on Saturday, Aug. 28. PC: Maui Economic Opportunity.

The gala and concert can be viewed online at


About 175 meals for gala-goers were distributed in a drive-thru event at the King Kamehameha Golf Club late Saturday afternoon.

The next gala, “We are ʻOhana,” is set for 5 to 9 p.m. March 19, 2022, at the King Kamehameha Golf Club.

MEO serves low income people, kupuna, youth, persons with disabilities, immigrants and other disenfranchised communities on the three main islands of Maui County. The more than 40 programs at the agency offer rental/mortgage and utility assistance; Spanish interpretive and translation services; workshops for business planning and development; help for recently released inmates to transition to the community; anti-drinking, -drugs and -bullying prevention for youths; organizational support for kupuna organizations. MEO’s largest programs are the paratransit and human service transportation and the Head Start preschool for low income families.

For more information or help, contact MEO at 808-249-2990, email [email protected] or go to the website


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