Press Release

Direct Cash Through People’s Fund of Maui Helps Participants To Rebuild On Their Terms

09. 01. 2023

The philanthropic effort will provide critical direct cash payments during a time of uncertainty for local people seeking to rebuild.

New York, NY – Yesterday, Oprah Winfrey and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson announced the “People’s Fund of Maui,” a philanthropic partnership to provide $1,200 per month to the people of Maui who were impacted by the devastating wildfires. The monthly payments will be provided to every adult resident (18 and over) who lives in the affected area and was displaced by the wildfires in Lahaina and Kula. In response to this news, Natalie Foster, President and Co-Founder of Economic Security Project, issued the following statement:

The “People’s Fund of Maui” is committed to providing direct cash payments to people living on the island during the rebuilding process, providing a modicum of stability during a period of extreme uncertainty. I am appreciative that when Oprah Winfrey and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson announced the “People’s Fund of Maui” they acknowledged that they are building on the lessons learned from past guaranteed income initiatives, such as Dolly Parton’s “My People’s Fund,” and the growing consensus around the transformative power of direct cash payments in people’s lives, especially in respecting people’s agency to decide how they want to rebuild. The “My People’s Fund,” similar to “People’s Fund of Maui,” provided $1,000 per month over six months as people rebuilt after the fires in Gatlinburg, TN. “My People’s Fund,” along with the subsequent study, demonstrated how critical the funds were for people in making their own decisions about how to manage their recovery. Oprah and Dwayne are showing the country two important lessons: First, they are showing what it looks like when people lead by example and step up to support people in Maui without adding extra red tape. Second, they are reiterating the transformative power of cash as a means of navigating economic uncertainty.