Maui Activities

Hawaiʻi Tourism Authority announces more than $7.5 million in grants statewide

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The Hawaiʻi Tourism Authority provided a $230,000 grant to Kemper Sports Marketing LLC to sponsor the Maui Invitational college basketball tournament. In 2022, Arizona won the basketball tournament at the Lahaina Civic Center. PC: Maui Jim Maui Invitational

Kemper Sports Marketing LLC has received a $230,000 grant from the Hawaiʻi Tourism Authority for the Maui Invitational college basketball tournament. Overall, the authority contributed more than $7.5 million to support 163 projects statewide.

“The community is the foundation of our visitor industry and the fabric of the experiences that mindful travelers want to have when they come to our shores,” said Mufi Hannemann, HTA Board chairman.

HTA Interim President and Chief Executive Officer Daniel Nāhoʻopiʻi added: “Reinvesting in Hawaiʻi’s people, places and multi-cultural traditions remains central to HTA’s regenerative tourism mission. We look forward to working closely with such a diverse range of qualified organizations and practitioners on each island to deliver these programs to our community and visitors.”


Kemper’s Maui Jim Maui Invitational is billed as the “premier early-season college basketball tournament.” It’s held annually on Maui during Thanksgiving week. Last year, however, it was held at the Stan Sheriff Center in Honolulu because of the Aug. 8 wildfire that destroyed more than 2,000 structures in Lahaina. Fortunately, the Lahaina Civic Center survived the blaze. 

The Maui Invitational grant is the single, biggest-ticket item among grants for Maui County organizations. The funding is included in the authority’s Signature Events program.

Maui, Molokaʻi and Lānaʻi also are included as islands served in $50,000 from the HTA for the 44th Annual Hawaiʻi International Film Festival. The Hoʻolehua Homesteaders Association received $20,000 for the Molokaʻi Prince Kūhiō 2024 event.


Signature event funding for multiple islands (Maui, Molokaʻi and Lānaʻi included) show $190,000 to the Hawaiʻi Ag & Culinary Alliance for the Hawaiʻi Food & Wine Festival; $200,000 to the King Kamehameha Celebration Commission for King Kamehameha Celebrations; $50,000 to the Epic Sports Foundation for the Molokaʻi 2 Oʻahu Paddleboard World Championships; $100,000 to the Oʻahu Hawaiian Canoe Racing Association for the Nā Wahine O Ke Kai Canoe Race – Celebrating Women’s Paddling; $155,000 to the Polynesian Football Hall of Fame for the Polynesian Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Weekend and Polynesian Bowl; $40,000 to the Association of Hawaiian Civic Clubs for the Prince Kūhiō Celebration & Parade; and $75,000 to the Kalihi-Pālama Culture and Arts Society for the Queen Liliʻuokalani Keiki Hula Festival.

Another substantial grant (in the Resort Area Hawaiian Culture Initiative) was $185,000 that went to Kāhuli Leo Leʻa for Maui Ola: Cultural Practitioner Initiative; $100,000 to the Maui Chamber of Commerce to support local musicians and boost Maui’s economy; and $50,000 to Hana Arts for its Mele At The Market program. Hana Arts also received $30,000 for its programs.

The HTA granted $60,000 for the Kapalua Wine & Food Festival.

For community enrichment projects involving Maui specifically, the HTA handed out $60,000 to the Kapalua Wine & Food Festival for its annual festival; $35,000 to the Hawaiian Outrigger Canoe Voyaging Society for its Gathering of Voyagers program; $30,000 each to the Maui Classical Music Festival for its 42nd annual festival and Valley Isle Road Runners for its Annual Maui Marathon and Half Marathon; $25,000 each to the Pacific Whale Foundation for its 8th Annual World Whale Film Festival, Hui Noʻeau for its Celebrating the Visual Arts of Hawaiʻi event, Lokahi Pacific for its Emma Farden Sharpe Hula Festival and Lokahi Pacific for its Wailuku First Friday events; $20,000 each to East Maui Taro Festival for its 28th annual event, Hui Noʻeau for its “Captivate the Artist in You” Art Workshops and Lokahi Pacific for its Prince Kūhiō Maui Hoʻolaulea; $17,875 to the Hawaiʻi Farmers Union Foundation for its ʻĀina Foods Cook-Off; $17,500 to the Maui Pops Orchestra Inc. for concerts in 2024; $15,000 each to Ala Kukui for its Hāna Kū Mele Series, the Japanese Cultural Society of Maui Inc. for its Maui Matsuri Japanese Festival – 22nd Anniversary Events, the Maui Arts & Cultural Center for its Maui ʻUkulele Festival and the MACC for its Nā Hōkū Hou Award Winners; and $14,625 to the Lahaina Restoration Foundation for its Mokuʻula Experience.

Lokahi Pacific received $70,000 to sponsor the annual Festivals of Aloha.

Under community enrichment projects for multiple islands, the HTA granted $70,000 to Lokahi Pacific for Festivals of Aloha on Maui, Molokaʻi and Lānaʻi; $40,000 to the Kī Hōʻalu Foundation for Statewide Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar Festivals; $40,000 to Kanu Hawaiʻi for Volunteer Month Hawaiʻi; $25,000 to Youth in Motion for Molokaʻi Holokai Hoolaulea; and $20,000 to the Arts Education for Children Group for the 2024 Maui Music Series.

For community-based programs that enhance, strengthen and perpetuate Hawaiian culture through genuine experiences for residents and visitors, the HTA granted to multiple islands (including Maui and Molokaʻi) $112,300 to the Lālākea Foundation for its Nā Kūkulu a ka Moananui a Kanaloa, the Pillars of the Great Ocean of Kanaloa; $75,000 to the Kānehūnāmoku Voyaging Academy for its ʻHoi Mau ʻI Ka Iwikuamoʻo – Return to the Source program; $50,000 to Kāhuli Leo Leʻa for its Kania Ola: Economic Resilience for Mele Practitioners; $40,000 each to the Kalihi-Pālama Culture and Arts Society for its Lohe I Ka Leo (Hear the Voice) Archival Project and to Mana Maoli for its Mana Mele program; $30,000 to Mana Studios for Wana Ao: Digital Storytelling and Cultural Preservation; and $10,000 to the Historic Waimea Theater and Cultural Arts Center for its He Mau Aliʻi: Chronicles of Hawaiʻi’s Sovereigns. Under the HTA’s Kahu ʻĀina program for ʻaina-kanaka (land-human) relationships and knowledge, the authority granted to multiple islands $100,000 to Kupu for the Kupu ʻĀina Corps and Na Manu Elele; and $50,000 each to Project Kanu for its Building Pilina to ʻĀina through Malama Work Days, Kealakai Center for Pacific Strings for its Forest to Frets: Hands on History Hawaiian Steel Guitar Program, the Hawaiʻi Agritourism Association (Maui and Hawaiʻi island) for its Hawaiʻi Agritourism Holomua Series: A Way Forward and Aloha Kuamoʻo ʻĀina for its Moʻolelo Matters Speaker Series.


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