Kamehameha Schools Invests Nearly $7M in Hawai‘i Island Programs

Listen to this Article
5 minutes
Loading Audio... Article will play after ad...
Playing in :00


Kamehameha Schools has invested nearly $7 million in Hawai‘i Island programs and projects, with a focus on early learning, K-12 education, college/career, the ‘āina and community engagement.

For example, Hui Hoʻolei Māluo, which translates to “cast a net of replenishment and thriving resources,” is among more than three dozen programs on Hawai‘i island which are collaborating with Kamehameha Schools to enable kīpuka kānaka to flourish.

Hui Ho‘olei Maluō is an organization involved in the restoration of a brackish water loko i‘a or fishpond, known as Honokea Loko in Waiuli, along the Keaukaha coast of East Hawai‘i.

Kamehameha Schools has awarded nearly $7 million in community investment grants to support collaboration partners in more than three dozen programs and projects in East and West Hawai‘i for the current fiscal year which began July 1.


For Hui Ho‘olei Maluō, the investment will help provide opportunities for science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics (STEAM) skill-building, place-based learning, and community engagement through the rehabilitation and management of a native Hawaiian ecosystem.

Overall, Kamehameha Schools has awarded $24 million in grants statewide for this fiscal year.

The grants target four primary priorities statewide—$4.6 million for early learning, $12 million for kindergarten-to-grade-12 education, $4.25 million for college and career focus and $3 million for ‘āina and community engagement—with the goal of improving native Hawaiian learner outcomes in kindergarten readiness, third grade reading scores, eighth grade math scores, on-time high school graduation rates and completion of post-secondary education.

“These grants support areas such as Hawaiian cultural-based immersion and charter schools, early education programs, ‘āina-based learning opportunities, vocational training and undergraduate and graduate internships,” said Lauren Nahme, vice president of strategy and innovation. “As part of our Strategic Plan for 2020 and Vision 2040, we join with these community collaborators in working toward building a thriving lāhui.”


Statewide, several organizations received grants for multiple projects:

  • ‘Aha Pūnana Leo: Funding support that includes per-pupil funding for Ke Kula ‘O Nāwahīokalani’ōpu‘u Iki Laboratory Public Charter School in East Hawai‘i and Ke Kula Ni‘ihau O Kekaha.
  • University of Hawai‘i: To support a number of programs including teacher education, college readiness and internships.
  • Ho‘okāko‘o Corporation: For support of Kamaile Academy, Ke Kula Kualapu‘u and Waimea Middle School.
  • Kanu o ka ‘Āina Learning ‘Ohana: To support the West Hawai‘i school’s K-12 and early childhood education initiatives.
  • Friends of the Leeward Coast: Includes support for Ka Waihona o ka Na‘auao Public Charter School’s per-pupil funding and integration of STEM and ‘ike Hawai‘i practices.

For time first time, Kamehameha Schools is providing multi-year funding to core collaboration efforts with charter schools, organizations stewarding KS ‘āina, and other critical partners.

In addition to the $24 million, Kamehameha Schools is honoring another $3 million in continued commitments to projects such as:

  • Polynesian Voyaging Society’s final year of the Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage.
  • The University of Hawai‘i’s Makalapua Na‘auao – a four-year scholarship program for Native Hawaiian students attending U.H.
  • Chaminade University’s Ho‘oulu STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) to boost the number of Native Hawaiian students pursuing and earning degrees in STEM fields.

“With this financial investment, we envision a brighter future for Native Hawaiians—a future that includes improved academic readiness, post-secondary success, increased career opportunities, a deeper connection to place, a focus on family engagement and a greater knowledge of Hawaiian values, practices and principles,” Nahme said.


Investments in programs and projects in East and West Hawai‘i totaled more than $6.7million with some of the larger awards going to organizations such as:

  • Kama‘aha Education Initiative for several funding needs, including Ka ‘Umeke Kā‘eo per-pupil funding and Kai Kohola Hawaiian language immersion preschool program.
  • State Department of Education Early Childhood Education in West Hawai‘i, addressing needs in Native Hawaiian and rural communities—particularly in Hōnaunau and Kohala.
  • Three Mountain Alliance Foundation, for its ‘Imi Pono no ka ‘Āina Environmental Education Program of Three Mountain Alliance.
  • Hawaii Forest Industry Association, for Ho‘ola Ka Makana‘a o Ka‘ūpūlehu—Healing the Place Budding
  • Up Out of the Lava—for education, restoration and stewardship.
  • University of Hawai‘i at Hilo’s Kahuawaiola Indigenous Teacher Education program.
  • Nā Kālai Wa‘a’s Holokai Sustaining Voyaging Traditions, providing year-round opportunities for Hawaiʻi
  • Island learners to experience the teachings of voyaging and navigation.
  • Big Island Substance Abuse Council, for its Po‘okela Vocational Training Program.
  • Hui Mālama i ke Ala ‘Ūlili, for its Hōʻale a Maninini proactive aloha ʻāina restoration initiative.
  • Boys & Girls Club of the Big Island for Program Ho‘ai Pono, which provides quality out-of-school youth development and character building programming for children and young adults.

“On Hawai‘i island, we take a cue from nature and the way the natural environment creates kīpuka for the regrowth of forests and coral and we look to collaborate with those organizations who will provide the right elements through Hawaiian cultural-based education for the growth of kānaka,” said Kilohana Hirano, East Hawai‘i regional director. “We look at how the different kīpuka kānaka in our community address kuleana—from the littlest babies through graduation, college and careers to create lāhui lifters.”

For a list of other community resources on Hawai‘i island, go online.

About Kamehameha Schools

Founded in 1887 by Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop, Kamehameha Schools (KS) is a private, educational, charitable Native Hawaiian trust committed to improving the capability and wellbeing of our people through education. Income generated from its endowment portfolio of commercial real estate and other diverse investments funds more than 96 percent of KS’ educational mission.

In 2015, Kamehameha Schools embarked on a bold, exciting voyage that envisions, in one generation, a thriving Lāhui in which all learners achieve postsecondary educational success, enabling good life and career choices. Grounded in Christian and Hawaiian values, learners will be leaders who contribute to their communities locally and globally.

At the heart of this journey are those who share this vision to ensure that all Native Hawaiians have the opportunity to succeed. Strong community collaborations, donor participation and key state, national and international partnerships are vital to creating the means to propel learners onto knowledge and career paths of their choice. Visit for more information.

Community investment partner Ma Ka Hāna Ka ‘Ike targets the health and well-being of the Hāna, Maui, community through vocational training, community farming and sustainable kalo education called Mālama Hāloa. Pictured: Community Outreach Coordinator Lipoa Kahaleuahi. Courtesy photo.

Big Island Substance Abuse Council CEO Hannah Preston-Pita (KSK 1990) displays the positive messages of the Po’okela Vocational Program’s retail “Koho Pono” track. Courtesy photo.

Big Island Substance Abuse Council CEO Hannah Preston-Pita and Chief Medical Officer Raquel Chang stand with the nonprofit’s food trailer, Big Island Fusion, one of the tools used in culinary track of the Po‘okela Vocational Training Program. Courtesy photo.

Big Island Substance Abuse Council Client Jose Cruz tends to the raised garden beds as part of the Po’okela Vocational Training Program. Courtesy photo.

With its roots in Waiuli in East Hawai’i, nonprofit Hui Ho’olei Maluō takes up its kuleana to mālama loko iʻa at Honokea Loko. Courtesy photo.

With its roots in Waiuli in East Hawai’i, nonprofit Hui Ho’olei Maluō takes up its kuleana to mālama loko iʻa at Honokea Loko. Courtesy photo.

Clients of the Big Island Substance Abuse Council take part in the cultural gardening and culinary tracks of the Po‘okela Vocational Training Program. Courtesy photo.

Sponsored Content

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Stay in-the-know with daily or weekly
headlines delivered straight to your inbox.


This comments section is a public community forum for the purpose of free expression. Although Big Island Now encourages respectful communication only, some content may be considered offensive. Please view at your own discretion. View Comments