KILAUEA — Megan Fox, new executive director of Malama Kauai, loves making other people’s dreams come true.
“What I love is meeting under-resourced community groups that have an amazing idea and an incredible vision, and then making their dreams actually happen,” Fox said.
Fox, who is originally from Boston, has been part of the executive team for the last four years, alongside Keone Kealoha, Malama Kauai founder and former executive director.
In January, the board of directors voted Fox into the position after Kealoha stepped down to accept a position as the executive director at Kanu Hawaii.
Kealoha will remain with Malama Kauai as the president of the board, and sustainability and community engagement will still be his focus.
“To have him at the state level is great for all of us,” Fox said. “He’s such a natural inspiration and a visionary.”
Though there is an executive director position within Malama Kauai, Fox said the organization is all about teamwork and hierarchies aren’t part of the system.
“There’s none of the ‘someone is someone’s supervisor,’” Fox said. “We are a team.”
Thousands of volunteers and donors help make the projects that Malama Kauai spearhead work, and Fox said it’s her job to connect all the willing helpers with projects around the island.
“Me, personally, I love capacity building,” she said. “I wasn’t born and raised here. I don’t just want to make up programs and roll things out. I want to connect people with resources.”
When Fox got here in 2013, she volunteered with every nonprofit she could in order to get a feel for what was happening on the island.
“When I got here I wanted to give back to the place and feel like I earned my right to be here and I valued being here,” Fox said. “I didn’t just want to go to the beaches and go cruising.”
She started a few sustainability meet-up groups and was looking for a fiscal sponsor for some of her ideas when she met Kealoha and became part of the team at Malama Kauai.
Fox said Malama Kauai is currently going through strategic planning and is fine-tuning plans, but she wants to focus on voluntourism in the near future.
“So, that’s trying to get tourists to volunteer while they’re on vacation and it’s popular in destinations across the world,” Fox said. “Especially with millennials; they’re very centered on giving back.”
While she looks ahead to new projects and her new role as executive director, Fox said she’s comfortable with the position and doesn’t anticipate a big change from her current duties.
“There’s not a huge difference because I’ve always taken direction from him (Kealoha) and the board,” Fox said, “but it’s exciting.”