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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Senior center gets $20,000 from run

By Mary Vorsino
Advertiser Urban Honolulu Writer


The Lanakila senior center is seeking additional financial help to close its deficit. To contribute, call 847-1322.

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Lanakila Multi-Purpose Senior Center has a long way to go to make up a $150,000 deficit, but it's got a running start, thanks to a $20,000 donation from the Great Aloha Run.

The money will be presented tomorrow in front of 300 center members at the facility, 1640 Lanakila Ave. "It's only right that we answer the call," said Carole Kai, co-founder of the Feb. 15 Great Aloha Run and president of Carole Kai Charities, which helps produce the event.

"I'm hoping this will encourage others" to give, she added.

Meanwhile, individual donors have pitched in about $2,500 so far to Lanakila since last week, when Catholic Charities Hawai'i reached out to the community for help in meeting its shortfall. Catholic Charities gets $123,000 a year from the state to manage the center, but that only covers a portion of the $400,000 annually needed to run it.

Before putting out its call, Catholic Charities had been able to raise about $120,000.

Jerry Rauckhorst, Catholic Charities president and CEO, said he's grateful for the donations so far and is confident the center will gather enough from the community to make it through June. He also said the nonprofit is looking at ways to bring in different sources of funding so it doesn't again find itself in dire financial straits next fiscal year.

Rauckhorst said the nonprofit is seeking state approval to rent out the center during evenings or on weekends for private events as a way of generating revenue. Other possible options, he said, include seeking federal and private grants, setting up an endowment fund and marketing the center's exercise and other activities to health insurance companies.

Rauckhorst added that he welcomes suggestions on other funding ideas.

And he also said, in an e-mail, that "we sincerely hope that as the economic times improve, the state will renew funding for this state-owned facility at a level that is adequate to maintain the program so that it may serve the needs of many more elders."

Lanakila, the largest senior center on O'ahu, serves about 2,000 people 60 and older.

It celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2009.