Movers and Shakas, the public-private program that sought to attract professionals from the Mainland to work remotely from Hawaii, said its first cohort has wrapped up the program, which included cultural training, group volunteer projects and excursions around Oahu.

The 50 members of the first cohort, who were not identified, were chosen in February from an application process that attracted 90,000 applicants seeking to work remotely from Hawaii during the Covid-19 pandemic. All but 20 have returned to their homes on the Mainland, a spokeswoman for the program said.

The program, which was initiated by the Hawaii Executive Collaborative, recently showcased some of its volunteer projects at Ka Waiwai Collective and online.

“It is exciting and inspiring to see the contributions made in just a couple months by Movers and Shakas participants and our partners organizations,” Nicole Lim, director of Movers and Shakas, said in a statement. “The relationships built while working side-by-side will form the foundation of an increasingly diverse local economy underpinned by a sense of shared stewardship for Hawaii’s natural and cultural richness.”

In the past month the members in the first cohort volunteered for at least 15 hours each at a handful of local nonprofits and startups. Some have continued to work on individual volunteer projects after the program ended.

“Movers and Shakas volunteers came with the right attitude – they came with humility, respect and a willingness to learn,” Vicky Holt Takamine, executive director of the Pai Foundation, said in a statement. “We shared our culture and they shared their talents by helping us with our website and CRM database. They are also looking at ways we can create our own accelerator for artists and cultural practitioners.”

The projects included:

  • Creating a statewide online Native Hawaiian business directory for the Native Hawaiian Hospitality Association and Native Hawaiian Chambers of Commerce;
  • Creating an artist accelerator program while helping with website development and a CRM system for the Pai Foundation;
  • Helping The Pantry by Feeding Hawaii Together with CRM, marketing, and partnership development to help expand;
  • Working with the Chamber of Commerce Hawaii and the Hawaii State Department of Education on the Hanai-A-Classroom program;
  • Working with Work Now Hawaii on creating employment opportunities for diverse communities and underserved populations;
  • Working with Girls Scouts of Hawaii on creating a virtual badging program and assisting with a capital campaign for the recently constructed STEM Center for Excellence at the 135-acre Camp Paumalu property on the North Shore.
  • Working on volunteer projects with Hawaii Literacy, Kakoo Oiwi, Kanu Hawaii, Kupu, Mana Up companies, Pacific Asian Center for Entrepreneurship, Pacxa, RendezView, Virtual UH Venture Competition, and the YMCA of Honolulu.