Foundation Donates $1 Million to Parker School

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The Clarence T.C. Ching Foundation has awarded Parker School a $1 million grant, the largest gift in the school’s 43-year history and the foundation’s largest donation on Hawai‘i Island. The funds will be used to build a gymnasium for the school’s 320 students in kindergarten through grade 12.

Parker School received a $1 million grant from The Clarence T.C. Ching Foundation for a gymnasium as part of the school’s capital campaign for a Center for Sports, Science, and the Arts. From left to right: David B. Kirk, President of Parker School Board of Directors; David D. Higgins, Board Director and Co-Chair of Capital Campaign Committee; Carl Sturges, PhD, Parker School Headmaster; Tertia Freas, Executive Director of The Clarence T.C. Ching Foundation; Robert T. Fujioka, Trustee of The Clarence T.C. Ching Foundation; and Catherine H.Q. Ching, Trustee of The Clarence T.C. Ching Foundation. Courtesy photo.

“We are very grateful for the generosity of The Clarence T.C. Ching Foundation,” said Carl Sturges, Parker School headmaster. “In recognition of this gift, and of the extraordinary philanthropic legacy of Mr. Ching, we will be naming the building “The Clarence T.C. Ching Gymnasium.”

In 2008, Parker School’s Board of Directors adopted an ambitious Master Plan calling for staged facilities expansion. In 2015, the Board approved the design and construction of a cluster of buildings and courtyards within its 23-acre campus to be known as the Center for Sports, Science and the Arts. In addition to a 10,800 square foot gymnasium with locker rooms and athletic personnel offices, the $12 million project will include a 3,600 square foot technology center (three divisible rooms featuring a robotics lab, makerspace and design lab), a 1,600 square foot dance studio, a 1,200 square foot fitness center, a commercial kitchen, and multiple outdoor learning spaces.

“This exciting and historic step is essential to continue to meet the needs of our talented and well-rounded students, said Sturges. “We are honored to have the support of The Clarence T.C. Ching Foundation to help make this dream a reality.”


“After visiting Parker School earlier this year, the trustees noted that this school did a lot for students needing financial aid with limited resources,” said trustee Bob Fujioka. “We are excited to be part of this new facility and the future of this school.”

Parker School, located in Waimea on Hawai‘i Island, currently does not have an indoor gym or a space large enough to gather the entire student body, leaving students, sports teams, and school traditions at the mercy of Waimea’s often windy and rainy weather. For the first time in Parker School’s history, the campus will have an all-school gathering place for graduations, May Day celebrations, pep rallies, sporting events, robotics competitions, and the ever-popular summer programs.

A developer and philanthropist, the late Clarence T.C. Ching established The Clarence T.C. Ching Foundation in 1967 to support public and private educational institutions in Hawai’i, as well as health and social services organizations. Born and raised in Hawai‘i, Ching was a visionary who came from a modest upbringing and was known for his determination and work ethic. Ching’s story resonates with Parker School’s history and spirit.


“We are thankful to The Clarence T.C. Ching Foundation for providing this lead gift in our Capital Campaign to build a new Center for Sports, Science, and the Arts,” said Parker School Board President David Kirk. “Having the foundation’s vote of confidence in our vision to strengthen our programs will not only be instrumental in attracting other foundations and private donors, but provide momentum in helping us reach our $12 million campaign goal.”

To learn more about Parker School’s $12 million capital campaign project, go online.

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