Updated: December 1, 2023
Longtime community development specialist Toni Rojas has been appointed as Director of Maui Disaster Relief by the Hawaiʻi Catholic Community Foundation.
“We are fortunate to have a professional with a deep commitment to community service and more than 25 years of experience in working with nonprofits and volunteers to lead Catholic wildfire recovery efforts on Maui,” said Reverend Monsignor Terrence A.M. Watanabe, Pastor of St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church in Wailuku and Vicar Forane of Maui and Lānaʻi.
Rojas said, “I have family and friends who were personally affected by the Maui wildfires, so this recovery effort is deeply personal for me. I welcome this opportunity to leverage my skills and experience to help our community on the road to recovery.”
The position of director of Maui Disaster Relief was created to support the ongoing efforts of Catholic Charities of Hawaiʻi and the 11 parishes on Maui to aid in the recovery of the Lahaina and Kula communities, which were severely impacted by wildfires on Aug. 8, 2023.
In response to the devastating wildfires, Maui parishes have already rallied together, providing essential assistance to those affected, including food, water, shelter support, monetary donations and spiritual health and wellness. The Hawaiʻi Catholic Community Foundation, in collaboration with St. Anthony of Padua Church in Wailuku, has been at the forefront of offering spiritual guidance and financial recovery aid directly to individuals and families affected by the wildfires.
“United, we will support the steps to recovery, today and for future generations,” Rev. Watanabe said.
Rojas previously worked as Chief Marketing Officer at the Maui Ocean Center from September 2019 to December 2022. She was vice president for business and community development at the Queen Kaʻahumanu Center from January 2016 to September 2019; director of catering and event management for Starwood Hotels & Resorts from November 2014 to December 2015; president of Sterling Performance Group Inc. from February 2002 to December 2014; and director of sales for the Maui Visitors Bureau/Hawaiʻi Visitors & Convention Bureau, Maui, from January 2001 to February 2002.
The Hawaiʻi Catholic Community Foundation and St. Anthony of Padua Church in Wailuku are actively seeking collaboration with community partners to deliver essential resources and services for the recovery of those impacted by the wildfires. Their long-term goal is to formulate plans for the sustained recovery of the impacted West Maui and Upcountry communities.