A grassroots community group is stepping up to help the University of Hawaii’s athletics department with its budget shortfall.
A kick-off for the “We Get ‘Em” campaign took place at Murphy’s Bar & Grill in downtown Honolulu Friday.
The effort is spearheaded by long-time UH athletics supporters Don Murphy, Kurt Osaki and Raymond Noh.
“We just hear too many times that financial woes of the athletic department, of course Ben Jay, I think he was just being very open and honest when he said that if we don’t have $3 million, there is a chance the program might be cut,” Noh said. “So I think just rather than wait for the banks or the big corporations of Hawaii to step forward, it just really is an opportunity for us as people to say okay, look, I can give $20, $30, $100, and we’ll raise that $3 million.”
Last week, athletics director Ben Jay revealed to university president David Lassner and the Board of Regents that eliminating the university’s football program could be a possibility if the athletics department does not get help. He asked school officials to lobby for $3 million from the state to add to their $32 million budget.
Jay later admitted his comments were made to convey a sense of urgency.
Noh said regardless of your feelings toward the university, coaches or athletics department as a whole, it’s all about supporting student athletes. “It’s about the kids who have signed up to come to Hawaii from wherever. Could be local, could be from the mainland, Australia. They’ve committed to come and study at the university and play sports and represent the University of Hawaii. So for them to hear everyday or every week that wow, my own university may not have the funds to support my individual program, that’s terrible,” he said.
“This is really people’s fundraiser grassroots effort on their behalf that they want to do to help our student athletes and I applaud them,” Jay said. “It is a fundraiser that will really hit home.”
Donations will be received by the aio Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization whose mission is to provide programs which build health, education and welfare to Hawaii’s youth.
All proceeds will be for the benefit of the UH Athletic Department.
Check donations can be mailed to:
We Get ‘Em!
1000 Bishop Street, Suite 610
Honolulu, HI 96813
Online donations will also be accepted at WeGetEmHawaii.com in the near future.