Castle Foundation Receives 2018 GEAR UP Award

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Harold K.L. Castle Foundation Strategic Advisor Alex Harris accepting the GEAR UP award. Courtesy photo.

The Harold K.L. Castle Foundation was awarded the 2018 GEAR UP Community Partner of the Year during the seventh annual GEAR UP Leadership Awards ceremony held in Washington, D.C.

Nominated by Hawai‘i P-20 Partnerships for Education, the National Council for Community and Education Partnerships (NCCEP) selected the Castle Foundation for its support and commitment of multiple programs that prepare low-income students in Hawai‘i for college and career success.

“The Castle Foundation has been an invaluable partner in raising student achievement and moving Hawai‘i closer to our 55 by ’25 education goal,” said Stephen Schatz, executive director of Hawai‘i P-20. “Hawai‘i P-20 is incredibly thankful for the collaboration with our GEAR UP Hawai‘i program to improve access for thousands of students statewide. They are very deserving of this year’s NCCEP award.”


Hawai‘i P-20 Partnerships for Education is a statewide partnership led by the Executive Office on Early Learning, the Hawai‘i State Department of Education and the University of Hawai‘i System.

More than 14,000 students statewide in grades seven up to first year college are provided information, support, resources and services through GEAR UP Hawai‘i, a statewide college access grant under Hawai‘i P-20 Partnerships for Education. The grant is designed to reduce gaps among underrepresented student populations in higher education.

“At no time in our state’s history has it been more important for our youth to attain a postsecondary degree or credential,” said Alex Harris, strategic advisor at Harold K.L. Castle Foundation. “Doing so opens doors and increases opportunities. We are honored to partner with Hawai‘i P-20 to extend the benefits of the federal GEAR UP grant to Hawai‘i’s students. This award reflects the success of hard work by countless teachers, administrators and students.”


The foundation’s investment in Hawai‘i P-20’s Early College High School (ECHS) program helped mobilize the Early College movement, which enables students to earn both college and high school credit simultaneously. In addition, the Castle Foundation supported GEAR UP Hawai‘i’s efforts to make college more affordable by supporting the “Cash for College Challenge” to activate low-income schools to encourage more students to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

Most recently, the Castle Foundation is supporting the College and Career Guidance program to create a provide advising and counseling assistance for low-income students from middle school through college.

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