Lani Kaaa has been hired by Make-A-Wish® Hawaii to fill the nonprofit’s key Director of Development position following nearly a year-long search conducted nationwide by outside search firms and its Board of Directors. Kaaa most recently worked as House Minority Caucus Manager at the Hawaii State House of Representatives.
“I joined this great organization because Make-A-Wish Hawaii represents the hands and feet of hope, support and compassion for families facing unimaginable circumstances. As a mom and community service advocate, it is my great privilege to help deliver a life-changing and uplifting experience to our wish kids and their families, and bring the opportunity to others who can share their aloha as well,” Kaaa said of her career move.
This is the first time that the local nonprofit has a dedicated staff member serving as Development Director following a grant approved from its national office in 2014 that has helped the chapter add staff parallel to increasing needs.
“We are so blessed to welcome Lani to our team; she brings experience in the field of executive leadership, management as well as statewide fundraising,” said Make-A-Wish Hawaii President and CEO Siana Austin Hunt. “We are confident that her past experience in both the nonprofit and political sectors will be instrumental in taking our organization’s recent growth to a new frontier.”
As Director of Development, Kaaa will be a key addition to the nonprofit’s senior leadership team. She will oversee fund development with the goal of embedding the Oahu-based nonprofit deeper into Neighbor Island communities.
This goal is one of the chapter’s major initiatives as part of a strategic plan introduced last year. Also helping to attain this goal is a newly-formed Young Professionals Group as well as the recruitment of more than 50 volunteers across the state since January. The chapter’s long-term goal is to establish Regional Councils comprised of leaders respective to each Neighbor Island community.
Make-A-Wish Hawaii also recently filled two other openings: Andrea Munevar to the new role of Events & Operations Coordinator, as well as Christine Nip, Development and Events Manager. Nip replaces Janel Chandler, who was promoted to Director of Community Engagement.