Maui Pride is a fun and festive non-profit that works to encourage, celebrate and educate people about the positive diversity of the LGBTQ community. Each year, it gives back to the community with a group of scholarships presented during Pride Festival Weekend, Oct. 2-4. The main purpose of the scholarship awards is to support and educate the community by helping deserving recipients pursue their education.
“The mission of Maui Pride is not about teaching tolerance. Instead, we work tirelessly toward achieving appreciation of all forms of diversity in society through education and enlightenment,” said Chuck Spence, Vice President of Maui Pride and owner of the Maui Sunseeker LGBT Resort. “What better way to accomplish this mission than through the Maui Pride scholarship program? It is the pinnacle of the work this organization does all year round.”
The Maui Pride board of directors is now accepting applications for its 2015 scholarship awards. Scholarships are awarded to Hawaii residents of all ages who are attending a post-secondary school for the 2015-2016 school year; qualifying educational institutions include community colleges, four-year colleges and specialty trade schools. In addition to being a resident of Hawaii, scholarship applicants must either identify as LGBTQ or have an LGBTQ community member as a parent. The scholarships must be used within 12 months of receiving the award.
Funds for the scholarships are raised through various Maui Pride events including Pride Festival Weekend, the annual Lava Soiree and monthly Rainbow Dine-Out events. Funds are also raised via direct donations to Maui Pride, a registered 501c3 non-profit organization.
Maui Pride–a relatively young organization–has awarded more than $21,000 in scholarships since the program’s inception. Maui Pride scholarships are awarded based upon past, present and future work that benefits the education and acceptance of the LGBTQ community. There is also a Raja Shortell Memorial scholarship that honors the memory and work of Raja in the fields of working with troubled youths or culinary arts.
Last year, the non-profit awarded scholarships to five recipients, including Maui student/musician WenLu Duffy. “The [scholarship] funds have helped me further my education at University of Hawaii Maui College, where I am taking prerequisite classes which will allow me to transfer to a four year college to pursue a Bachelor’s Degree in Marine Science or Music Performance,” Duffy said. “Aside from the Scholarship Fund, Maui Pride has helped me clarify my identity and successfully integrate into the LGBT community.”
Interested candidates can start their application process by downloading the appropriate forms at Mauipride.org/scholarship. Deadline for scholarship applications is Sept. 14. If you’d like to support the Maui Pride Scholarship Fund, you can send your tax-deductible donations via check to Maui Pride at PO Box 1259, Puunene, HI 96784. To donate via credit or debit card, visit Mauipride.org/scholarship.
Scholarship award winners will be announced during Maui Pride Festival Weekend, on Oct. 3, 2015 at the Maui Pride Awards Gala.
Maui Pride Weekend kicks off Friday night, Oct. 2 with a film festival at Maui Sunseeker Resort in Kihei. Additional Pride Weekend festivities include the Love is Love Dance Party, Oct. 2 at Kono’s on the Green; Maui Pride Community Festival, Oct. 3 at University of Hawaii Maui College; a Gala Awards dinner, concert and dance, Oct. 3 at Kahili Golf Club in Wailuku; and Maui Pride Sunday breakfast at Nalu’s in Kihei.
For complete details and ticket information, visit Mauipride.org.
Photo courtesy Llevellyn Lightsea