Professional Athletes From the NFL, MLB and UFC Join Efforts to Support Hawaii Island Communities Impacted by the Kilauea Volcano

Kamu Grugier-Hill, linebacker from the reigning Super Bowl
championship football team the Philadelphia Eagles, has joined together
with professional athletes from Hawai‘i who are with the National
Football League (NFL), Major League Baseball (MLB) and Ultimate Fighting
Championship (UFC) to raise monies to support local island communities
that have been affected by the recent disasters, especially those
impacted by the devastation caused by the Kilauea Volcano on Hawai’i

Six professional athletes, including Grugier-Hill, are launching
the Be A Hero for Hawai‘i Challenge with the Hawai‘i
Community Foundation (HCF). Founding athletes include: Tennessee Titans
Quarterback Marcus Mariota, UFC Featherweight Champion Max
Holloway, UFC Fighter Yancy Medeiros, St. Louis Cardinals
Second Baseman Kolten Wong, and Texas Rangers Infielder Isiah

The Be A Hero for Hawai‘i Challenge is a friendly
competition to encourage their teammates, rivals, and fans to give to
their island home and see which team sport is able to raise the most in
donations. Funds raised through the Challenge will be directed to the Hawai‘i
Island Volcano Recovery Fund at HCF to assist with long-term
recovery efforts with a focus on supporting housing needs for residents
who have been impacted by the Kilauea volcanic eruption, as well as
relief and recovery efforts in other Hawai‘i communities should another
disaster occur.

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“It has been devastating to see all of the destruction caused by the
volcano on the Big Island – my sister-in-law and her family are one of
hundreds who have lost their homes. And these families won’t be able to
return to their community,” said Grugier-Hill. “It is going to
take a long time to rebuild and they will need a lot of resources. I had
to do something to help and was looking for a way to bring people
together around it. So I called other pro athlete friends who were from
Hawai‘i to join in. These guys didn’t hesitate and were immediately on
board. That’s just how Hawai‘i rolls. And being the competitors we are,
we thought it would be great to see which one of our sports could raise
the most money.”

“Both on and off the field, or octagon, Kamu and the other athletes
epitomize what true heroes are. Through their hard work, commitment and
dedication they have all found success in their chosen careers but when
called upon, they give back to their community and help others – they
are setting a great example to the young local kids in our community who
look up to them,” said Micah Kane, CEO and president of the Hawai‘i
Community Foundation. “We are extremely grateful for all of the
donations to the Hawai‘i Island Volcano Recovery Fund and their openness
to support other Hawai’i communities when a disaster hits. Our
responsibility is to make sure that we work with county government,
nonprofit organizations, and businesses to understand where the needs
are the greatest and to deploy those donations in the most effective way
so that our communities can rebuild and heal.”

When asked why the athletes decided to participate, they shared the

“It means a lot to me to be able to join in with other professional
athletes from Hawai‘i to help out the families suffering on Hawai‘i
Island. The people from Hawai‘i have supported all of us throughout our
careers and now it’s our turn to give back to them. The volcano is
causing a lot of damage and we know it’s not over. They’re going to need
a lot of help in assisting the families in need and helping them to
rebuild. We are asking all of the state to pitch in any way they can. My
hope is that everyone will join us for the Be A Hero for Hawai‘i
Challenge. The Hawai‘i Challenge is a friendly competition between
athletes from the NFL, Major League baseball and the UFC. I know fans of
the NFL will step up and help us win the challenge. Mahalo for your

“Being from the Big Island of Hawai‘i, using this platform and trying to
raise money for these people to restart their lives again and the
process to get them into new homes was a no brainer. Giving back is
always number one. We always want to take care of our family, take care
of our ‘ohana. Hawai‘i is definitely part of our ‘ohana.”

“It’s a humbling thing to be alongside these other athletes from Hawai‘i
to give back to the community affected by the devastating volcano. I
just wanted to be part of helping the community, giving back and doing
anything we can to look out for them.”

“Imagine waking up one day and all of a sudden someone is telling you to
get out of your house and that you can only take a few things with you.
Then you find out that your house is gone and your entire world is
turned upside down. That’s what happened to those families on Hawai‘i
Island. And that’s why we have to come together now. To all my MMA fans,
it’s time to show the world who’s the best fans in the world.”

“I think that’s the greatest thing about the Hawaiian people – is when
we go outside and represent and compete, we represent our islands, we
represent our people. Then when it’s a time of need, we come together
and we try to help each other out. Come on MMA Fans, it’s a friendly
competition and in the end we all helping each other. We’re helping

“We will be actively recruiting more of our Hawai‘i brothers and our
teammates from the NFL, MLB and UFC to join the Challenge. We all love a
good competition – and this one is for a good cause,” added Grugier-Hill.

Donations to the Be A Hero for Hawai‘i Challenge can be
made online at
or by mail at Hawai‘i Community Foundation, 827 Fort Street Mall,
Honolulu, HI, 96813. Note which sports team is being supported when
sending donations via mail.

To track the progress of each “team” during the Be A Hero for
Hawai‘i Challenge, visit
or search #HeroesforHawaii on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter for player
information and updates.

With over 100 years of community service, the Hawai‘i
Community Foundation (HCF) is the leading philanthropic institution
in the state. HCF is a steward of more than 850 funds, including more
than 250 scholarship funds, created by donors who desire to transform
lives and improve communities. In 2017, HCF distributed more than $59
million in grants and contracts statewide, including more than $6
million in scholarships. HCF also serves as a resource on community
issues and trends in the nonprofit sector.

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