East Hawaii News

Big Island Non-Profit Director Receives ‘Ho’okele Award’

August 25, 2015, 2:40 PM HST
* Updated August 25, 2:41 PM
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Richard Taaffe, Executive Director at West Hawai’i Community Center in Kona, was honored by the Hawai’i Community Foundation at the 14th annual Ho’okele Awards as one of four executive directors of Hawai’i non-profits who have displayed excellent leadership.

Each awardee was presented with $10,000 to be used for their professional development and personal renewal.

“Ho’okele Award winners represent the very best in an incredibly demanding field, which experiences high rates of burnout and turnover. We’re honored to recognize these hardworking and inspiring individuals for their years of service in our community,” said Kelvin Taketa, president and CEO of the Hawai’i Community Foundation. “Investing in our nonprofit leaders is one way to support the work they do, so they can continue to bring about lasting change and build stronger communities in Hawai’i.”

Taaffe has more than 20 years of experience in community health and served as the West Hawai’i Community Health Center’s first executive director. The center has grown under Taaffe’s direction, from a single site with three exam rooms and six staff members in 2005 to five sites and 120 staff members 10 years later.

The West Hawai’i Community Health Center brings health care services to 20 percent of the West Hawai’i population.

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In addition to his role at the West Hawai’i Community Health Center, Taaffe serves on the board of directors of the Hawai’i Health System Corporation, Hawai’i Primary Care Association, and AlohaCare Health Plan.

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Created and funded by the Wallace Alexander Gerbode Foundation, the Ho’okele Awards pay tribute to and strengthen leadership in the state’s nonprofit sector.

Recipients of the Ho’okele Award are given the opportunity to renew themselves in their personal and professional lives.

The group of four also includes Kepa Maly of Lani Culture and Heritage Center, Marian Tsuji of Lanakila Pacific, and Harry Wong III of Kumu Kahua Theatre.

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Since 2002, 58 non-profit leaders throughout the state have received a combined total of $560,000.

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