During the last year, Maui County’s social sector has been a valuable safety net for our entire community. Maui United Way conducted a survey to better understand the work that has been done, what’s on the horizon, and the struggles that will come along with the work ahead.
The online survey was completed by 44 of 49 Maui United Way grantees between February 8-19, 2021, and took an average of eight minutes to complete. Lisa Grove and Max Becker of Grove Insight headquartered on L?na?i wrote, fielded, and analyzed the results and did the work pro bono. Lisa Grove is a member of the Maui United Way board.
The data was presented on April 8 and 9 to their partner agencies and supporters. A full recording of the presentation can be found on their website, mauiunitedway.org.
Top sources of concern for these non-profits were funding for their organization and economically fragile members of the community. They also mentioned staff and volunteer shortfalls, compassion fatigue, and the difficulty of serving the community while working from home. Respondents used dire language to describe the demands and stress as a result of COVID-19: “Huge increase in demand for services.” and “So many people in need and not being able to assist...feel that we are letting people slip through the cracks.”
These sources of concern are taking a toll on the staff. Maui United Way grant recipients worry a great deal (52%) or some (39%) about the mental health and wellbeing of the people working at their nonprofit. Concerns about mental health for the community and staff were right up there with concerns about funding. Respondents worry about the lingering effects and the toll it will take on County residents into the future. While they appreciate the spotlight on mental illness that has been created, they push for more treatment and wellness programs countywide.
"There's an immeasurable uphill battle ahead for Maui County. What we've gleaned from this work are the mental and emotional impacts that have affected all of us are having massive influences on the well-being of our community. It's what we do next that matters most" stated Maui United Way’s President and CPO.
There were silver linings as a result of the pandemic as well. Grantees reported higher levels of innovation, more reliance on technology and conversion to digital platforms to meet demand, higher standards for hygiene and cleanliness, and new ways to serve those in need.
One respondent stated, “Our agency is a leaner, meaner, and smarter machine since the start of the health crisis. We have learned to think outside past parameters and invest in new inventive programs based on our pre-COVID successes.”
Respondents also noted a strong sense of community, including greater collaboration from other agencies. Nearly all respondents (98%) believe the nonprofit community worked at least “somewhat well” together during COVID. It is their hope that this is the beginning of more collaboration moving forward.
PASSCODE FOR RECORDING: B!jQmy2F
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Maui United Way
95 Mahalani St., Suite 24
Wailuku, Hawai‘i 96793