A shift in focus provides frontline workers with PPE

Kevin Fung, Eric Fitzmaurice and Dr. Reid Sakamoto
Pictured L to R: Kevin Fung, Eric Fitzmaurice, Dr. Reid Sakamoto

From finance to fundraising, one Shidler alumnus rallies a response team
By Dani Douglass 

Shidler alumnus Kevin Fung, BBA ’12, is a finance and property manager at Fung Enterprise and co-owner of Blue Planet Surf Gear. Lately though, Fung’s focus has shifted to the urgent community need to provide personal protective equipment (PPE) to frontline workers at Hawai‘i’s hospitals and health organizations.

Fung started Malama Hawaii Hospitals along with Eric Fitzmaurice and Dr. Reid Sakamoto as the response to the shortage of PPE equipment in the islands grew. The trio set up a GoFundMe campaign and Instagram account to increase awareness of the shortage of face masks and other vital equipment health care workers need when working on the frontline of the COVID-19 pandemic. The online accounts were also used to garner support from various networks.

“We were able to raise $20,000 through the support of the Hawai‘i community and on our GoFundMe page,” Fung said. “Once the coronavirus and the PPE supply shortages are behind us, we will have fulfilled our mission.”

The Malama Hawaii Hospitals hui has already donated more than 24,000 face masks to health care workers. There have been some challenges along the way for the group, including obtaining customs clearance because of additional international import and export restrictions currently in place.

“Our third shipment of surgical masks that we are expecting this week, required shipping to 20 different recipients so as not to trigger any ‘red flags’ with customs,” he said.

Fung says that his time at the Shidler College of Business helped him to build a solid foundation for his life. “More than anything, Shidler provided a great framework for pursuing life in the business and finance world for me,” he said. “I have taken cumulative knowledge from Shidler – and other forms of education – to determine the best way to navigate the paths I choose.”

When asked about what advice he has for students preparing to graduate into a world of uncertainty, Fung shares a famous quote that has had a personal impact on his own life. “I would tell them to ‘Be the change you wish to see in the world’ as Mahatma Gandhi shared with the world.’”