East Hawaii News

Mauna Kea Observatories Launch Charitable Fund

May 24, 2016, 9:40 AM HST
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Summit of Mauna Kea. Univesity of Hawai'i photo.

Summit of Mauna Kea. Univesity of Hawai’i photo.

The Mauna Kea Fund at the Hawai’i Community Foundation was recently launched by a consortium of Mauna Kea Observatories.

Through the fund, scientific, cultural, and environmental programs that represent vital interest areas for the shared future of Mauna Kea will be supported.

As the fund takes off in its initial year, it will participate in HCF’s STEM Learning Partnership, which is a grant program that involves nine funders who will work to increase STEM education on the Big Island.

“Science, culture, and environment converge on Maunakea. For Maunakea astronomy to continue to thrive, it is essential that vibrant culture is supported and that environmental initiatives are reinforced,” said Mary Beth Laychak, Canada-France-Hawai’i Telescope’s outreach program manager. “We believe it is our responsibility to help them all prosper together, for the benefit of our whole community.”

The fund anticipates expanding and diversifying its beneficiaries to support science and education along with cultural vitality and environmental stewardship.


In addition to providing charitable contributions, the fund will offer an opportunity for involvement from key stakeholders across the community at-large to encourage engagement and commitment in creating a sustainable legacy for Mauna Kea.


The STEM Learning Partnership’s 23 grant recipients for the next year include:

  • Akamai Workforce Initiative – Internship Program
  • Big Island Invasive Species Committee – Teacher Professional Development for Place-based, Inquiry-driven Instruction
  • Boys and Girls Club of the Big Island – Summer STEM for Life
  • Friends of Connections School – Integrating STEM Education through Project-Based Learning
  • Friends of Hakalau Forest National Wildlife Refuge – Teaching Change
  • Girl Scouts of Hawai‘i – STEM Program
  • Hawai‘i Preparatory Academy and Waimea Elementary – STEM Summer Learning Partnership
  • Hawai‘i Space Grant Consortium – PRIME (Professional Resources Inspiring Motivated Educators)
  • Honoka‘a Schools Complex – STEM Partnership
  • Honoka‘a Schools Complex – STEM Phantom Pilots
  • ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center – MANU ‘Imiloa: The Geometry of Wayfinding
  • Kanu o ka ‘Aina Learning ‘Ohana – Malamapokii Outdoor STEM Learning Laboratory
  • Ke Kula ‘o Nawahiokalani opu‘u – Ko Kula Kai 2016
  • Kea‘au Elementary School – Robotics Inspire
  • Kealakehe High School – Creating STEM Career Pathway in West Hawai‘i
  • Keaukaha One Youth Development – RISE 21st Century After School Program
  • Laupahoehoe Community Public Charter School – ‘Imi Na‘auWOW: Bridge Between local and global
  • Pa‘a Pono Miloli‘i – ‘Imiloa O Miloli‘i (Miloli‘i Seekers of Knowledge)
  • Teach for America – Hawai‘i Island STEM Teacher Programming, Development and Support
  • The Kohala Center – Environmental Education Program
  • UH-Hilo College of Continuing Education and Community Service and Krause Center for Innovation at Foothills Community College – Mini-MERIT and MADE Programs For Educators
  • Waimea Elementary School – Student Computer Program
  • Waiakea High School – WHS Robotics

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