Two audits, no problem for Malama Pono staff

You’ll forgive Leiko Someda, executive director of Malama Pono-Kauai AIDS Project, if she hasn’t had much time to think about a grand opening in the new location.

After making her way through back-to-back records and financial audits, she is off to Washington, D.C. and Maui for training, she explained.

The federal-grant audit and nonprofit-compliance audit are standard, routine, and nothing she is worried about, she said.

“I have competent staff that has been doing it for years,” she said of the audits, where auditors are examining client charts and financial records, to make sure everything is in order.

Volunteers, professional movers and Malama Pono staff members recently completed the move of the office from the Lihue Plantation Building behind First Hawaiian Bank and the Lihu’e post office, to a street-front location on Rice Street near City Liquor.

The new location has already encouraged additional walk-in traffic, she said. For those worried about people seeing them go into the Malama Pono-Kauai AIDS Project front entrance, there is a more-discreet, side-door entrance in an alley next to the office, Someda explained.

With the audits and traveling going on, Someda said a grand opening will likely be planned around the time of the annual meeting, either in March or April.

Budget constraints forced Someda to seek out a smaller space, one that leaves her, unfortunately, “no room for growth.”

But in the desire to service members of the community and put clients first, the decision to move was made, and made easier when attorney Jim Licke offered her favorable lease terms in the portion of the building he owns, she explained.

In the larger, more-expensive office at the Lihue Plantation Building, she always had to worry about rent money each month, something that took her attention away from her clients.

“‘Cozy’ is the new word,” she said with a laugh.

Also bringing a smile to her face was a recent donation of $100 from leaders of the East Kauai Y’s Men Club, a support group of activities of the YMCA on Kaua’i.

The unrestricted funds may be used for any purpose, even rent, she concluded.

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