Oprah launches fund with $10 million for displaced Maui residents

Oprah Winfrey and Dwayne Johnson have committed $10 million to make direct payments to people on Maui who are unable to return to their homes because of the wildfires, through a new fund they announced Aug. 31.

The People's Fund of Maui will give $1,200 a month to adults who are not able to return to their primary residences because of the recent wildfires, including people who owned and rented their homes, according to the fund's website. The fund will also seek donations to extend the length of time it can provide the support.

"How do we help?" the "Young Rock" star said he and Winfrey asked each other during the wildfires, saying in a video released along with the announcement that they grappled with how to best direct their efforts. "You want to take care of the greatest need of the people, and that's giving them money."

They are looking forward to the help of "every person who called me and said, 'What can I do?'" Winfrey said in the video. "This is what you can do."

The pair were inspired by a similar fund set up by Dolly Parton after wildfires swept through Gatlinburg, Tennessee in December 2016, killing 14 people and destroying 2,400 structures.

Jeff Conyers, president of The Dollywood Foundation, said he consulted with Winfrey's team multiple times in the past weeks to share the lessons that they'd learned from administrating the fund, which eventually granted $11 million to families who had lost their homes.

Winfrey, who lives on Maui part-time, visited an emergency shelter on Maui in the days after the wildfire hit and worried about effectively getting resources to residents. At least 115 people were killed in the fires, though an unknown number are still missing. The fire that ripped through the historic town...

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