HYSC Mini-Grant Program Opportunity Available

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Kōkua Hawai‘i Foundation and Kupu, Hawai‘i’s leading conservation and youth education organization, announced the second annual Hawai‘i Youth Sustainability Challenge (HYSC) mini-grant program opportunity.

Students and educators in grades six through 12 at public, private and charter schools statewide can apply for funding to support innovative and grassroots environmental initiatives that will create new and sustainable solutions for their schools and communities.

“We are honored to support students and teachers throughout the state in developing their own sustainable solutions for Hawai‘i,” said Kupu CEO John Leong. “Seeing so many youth engage in ways to improve the environment and their communities is truly inspiring, and we look forward to supporting even more creative Hawai‘i Youth Sustainability Challenge projects next year.”


This past year, Kupu and Kōkua Hawai‘i Foundation awarded funds to support 27 projects statewide, which included composting and rainwater catchment systems, children’s books and educational displays. This year, $20,000 in funding is available for individual project grants between $150 to $1,000, based on project scope and needs.

“Our youth are the change makers; they see solutions in challenges that many of us adults have a hard time envisioning,” added Natalie McKinney, Kōkua Hawai‘i Foundation executive director. “The HYSC offers them the opportunity to pilot sustainability solutions for their school community.”

HYSC mini-grant applications will available online at the Kōkua Hawai‘i Foundation website portal. The deadline to apply is Friday, Dec. 15, 2017.


Students and teachers may propose project ideas based on their environmental passions and motivation, interests in conservation education and desire to create sustainable, localized change. Proposals must be presented through one of the following three structures:

  • Individually-Powered Projects – One student and one teacher advisor
  • Group-Powered Projects – Multiple students and one teacher advisor
  • School Collaboration-Powered Projects – Two or more schools collaborating on projects and one teacher advisor

HYSC mini-grants will be selected in early January and funding will be distributed at the end of January through early February. Projects are required to be implemented by the end of the school year with final reports submitted by Friday, May 18, 2018. There will also be an opportunity for select students to present their final project over the summer.

The HYSC program is funded by Harold K. L. Castle Foundation and Kamehameha Schools, with the support of the Hawai‘i State Department of Education. It is a legacy initiative of the 2016 International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) World Conservation Congress held in Hawai‘i. The concept for the HYSC initiative was first announced by First Lady Mrs. Dawn Amano-Ige at the conference. The goal of the initiative is to inspire youth to be intentionally engaged in the environment through action, advocacy and education.


For more information about the Hawai‘i Youth Sustainability Challenge mini-grant program, go online.

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