Cacao pods harvested at Maui Kuia Estate Chocolate. Photos: courtesy of Maui Kuia Estate Chocolate
Maui Kuia Estate Chocolate “exists solely to give back to the nonprofit community,” said CEO Gunars Valkirs, who, in the absence of profit due to COVID-19 shutdowns, found a new way to give back. Many nonprofit organizations have lost funding due to a lack of gatherings where they could ask for donations. Noticing this, Maui Kuia Estate Chocolate created the Chocolate Laulima cooperative program to ensure that “100% of their net profit goes to the Hawaii nonprofit community.” Chocolate Laulima currently has 27 nonprofit participants — Habitat for Humanity Maui, IMUA Family Services and Hawaii Agricultural Foundation, are just a few of the organizations on the list — and hopes to have 50 by the 2020 holiday season.
Through Chocolate Laulima, consumers can buy chocolate and 40% of the retail price is donated to nonprofit organizations. “The only difference is we’ve recruited the nonprofits to help us sell these products,” explained Valkirs. Maui Kuia Estate Chocolate manages all the sales and shipping, both online and in their retail store. “Each month, we give a check to each nonprofit with the direct earnings from their promotion for this opportunity.”
Recently, Maui Kuia Estate Chocolate added free chocolate tastings to help nonprofit participants promote the program. “The nonprofit simply needs to organize groups. We will provide them with free chocolate samples,” said Valkirs. These tastings can be done virtually or in-person at the factory at no cost, except for shipping if it is required. “I do a one-hour discussion of chocolate and chocolate making. It is a very informative and entertaining presentation.” The Hawaiian Humane Society recently participated in a free virtual chocolate tasting through Chocolate Laulima. “That’s the tool we are offering to nonprofits so they can encourage their followers to support this program. Who doesn’t like chocolate, and who wouldn’t want a free chocolate tasting?”
Maui Kuia Estate Chocolate encourages nonprofits to join Chocolate Laulima. “I would love to spread awareness on other islands!” Valkirs emphasized. Maui Kuia Estate Chocolate does not ask for contact lists from the nonprofits, but simply leaves promotion autonomously to the organizations.
The team at Maui Kuia Estate Chocolate.
Chocolate Laulima works to support local businesses and nonprofit organizations together. “This is a unique model where nonprofits participate in the sale of products. We do not ask the nonprofit to do any sales execution themselves. All they need to do is promote the opportunity, and they receive 40% of chocolate sales from their supporters.”
Chocolate Laulima is a great program, both for consumers and nonprofit organizations, to support the local community and bring people together. Nonprofits interested in learning more can fill out their contact form on their website. Browse participating organizations and buy chocolate — as a sweet treat or gift — to do good for local nonprofits.