Big Island nonprofits serving Native Hawaiians awarded grants

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The Office of Hawaiian Affairs trustees approved more than $2.7 million in grant awards to 16 community nonprofits across the state that will serve Native Hawaiians.

Projects that received funding were designed to strengthen Hawaiian cultural identity, support instruction in ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi, encourage ʻāina stewardship, prepare students for career readiness and help reintegrate those emerging from the justice system.

These are the first awards that OHA has announced since revamping its grants program with a goal of lowering funding application barriers to allow for increased community participation including reducing the number of eligibility requirements, simplifying the application process and focusing mandatory reporting on the most essential data elements.

“It is not only our honor but our kuleana to work with these outstanding community nonprofits who are making a difference in the lives of our people,” said OHA Board Chair Carmen “Hulu” Lindsey. “It is only by working together in a spirit of lōkahi and aloha that we can create maximum impact as we strive to better the lives of Native Hawaiians and raise a beloved lāhui.”


Nine nonprofits received more than $1.36 million in Kumuwaiwai Naʻauao-Educational Resource grants including Kanu o ka ʻĀina Learning ʻOhana for its Hawaiʻi Island project titled “Hoʻopili Mai,” a culturally grounded initiative for preschoolers and their families intended to reach Native Hawaiians in Waimea to increase kindergarten readiness.

The nonprofit was awarded $137,328.

Five nonprofits received more than $939,000 in Ola Ka ʻĀina-Health of Land and Water grants. Three of the recipients were from Hawai‘i Island.


Hale Mua Cultural Group was awarded $145,000 for its project titled “Ai Me Ka Iʻa Waipiʻo,” intended to increase knowledge in traditional food systems stewardship by engaging Native Hawaiians in the intertwined practices of loʻi kalo and loko wai in Waipiʻo Valley.

Pōhāhā I Ka Lani was awarded $200,000 for its project “Kāhuli,” intended to enhance the stewardship of watersheds in and above Waipiʻo Valley, involving Native Hawaiians in removing invasive trees, planting native plants, and stabilizing 400 linear feet of slopes and riverbanks.

Akaka Foundation for Tropical Forests was awarded $194,717 for its project titled “Kaiāulu Puʻuwaʻawaʻa,” intended to support the Kaiāulu Pu‘uwa‘awa‘a Community-Based Subsistence Forest Area in stewarding and restoring 84 acres by connecting lineal descendants back to their ʻāina kūpuna, planting native species and increasing the number of Native Hawaiians participating in mālama ʻāina activities.


Laʻiʻōpua 2020 and the Men of Pa‘a received the Hoʻomohala Waiwai ʻOhana Economic Stability grant.

Laʻiʻōpua 2020 was awarded $200,000 for its project “A‘o,” which will provide a trades skills training and certification program to Native Hawaiian adults that will increase certified workers and job placements.

The Men of Pa‘a was awarded $201,226 for its “Mālama Puna Workforce Development Project,” which aims to empower Native Hawaiian individuals from the Puna District, particularly those emerging from the justice system and their families, by providing comprehensive job training and financial literacy programs.

OHA’s Grants Program supports Hawaiʻi-based nonprofit organizations that have projects, programs and initiatives that serve the lāhui in alignment with OHA’s Mauli i Mauli Ola Strategic Plan. For more on OHA’s Grants Program visit

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