On April 15, 2015, the Hawaii Community Foundation held a Donor Event on Oahu. HCF invited benefactors to hear heart-warming testimonies from three organizations meaningfully impacted by donations this past year.
HCF’s role is to distribute grant monies to charitable funds and engage in educational programs to train and inform those in the nonprofit sector. Additionally, HCF provides administrative and financial planning assistance to private foundations and public organizations like the Hawaii Life Charitable Fund
Paul Kosasa, President and CEO of ABC Stores and Vice-Chair of HCF’s Board of Governors, gave the opening remarks and was thanked for his service to the organization. Debbie Berger, HCF Board of Governors President-Elect, was then introduced. Debbie is the co-founder of The Learning Coalition, which strives to improve student performance in Hawaii’s schools by training educators to actively engage learners.
Paul Kosasa (left), Debbie Berger (right)
Family Promise of Hawaii’s Executive Director, Mary Saunders, followed Debbie and detailed how with donor support, Family Promise assists homeless families in Hawaii by transitioning them into sustainable housing in an average of three to four months while also providing resources for job searches, budgeting, and related issues. HCF’s HousingASAP program supports Family Promise of Hawaii (and seven other similar organizations) by providing organizational support, staff training, networking, and data and evaluation guidelines for ensuring the organization is reaching its full potential.
Mary Saunders (left), John Leong (right)
Next, John Leong, Executive Director for Kupu Hawaii, spoke about how Kupu received a grant from HCF through the Ka Papa o Kakuihewa Fund, which specifically supports established organizations that work with conservation of land and water resources. The mission of Kupu is “to empower youth to serve their communities through character-building, service-learning, and environmental stewardship opportunities that encourage integrity (pono) with God (Ke Akua), self, and others.”
Kupu provides a variety of indispensable programs, from paid post-collegiate internships to cultural awareness programs to training and support for under-resourced young adults in the community. With over 230,000 service hours logged and over half a million dollars in college and continuing education funds given to Hawaii’s youth annually, this organization is truly influencing the next generation in Hawaii.
Rounding out the speakers for the evening, Mo Mauer, co-founder of Assistance Dogs of Hawaii, described the impact of receiving a FLEX Grant from HCF, which enables the organization to continue to provide disabled children and adults with professionally-trained service dogs. Since 2000, Mo and her team have graduated over 50 service dog teams and have placed many therapy dog teams throughout Hawaii, including specially-trained courthouse therapy dogs, which accompany trauma survivors during courtroom appearances.
Mo Mauer (left), Zeus (middle), Marshal (right)
Making a Difference For the Community
Hearing these first-hand accounts and having the opportunity to interact with these pillars of the community was a touching experience. At Hawaii Life, we recognize that breathing life into local organizations – through funding and the excellent guidance and leadership provided by the Hawaii Community Foundation – can have a lasting and meaningful impact on our community.