by Anne E. O’Malley
Three advisory committee members of the Kaua`i Aloha Endowment Fund are calling attention to a beautiful gift that is all about and all for Kaua`i.
The purpose of the Kaua`i Aloha Endowment Fund is to raise funds to support projects and programs on Kaua`i that protect, preserve and enhance this island’s natural beauty, promote this island’s culture and arts and serve the needs of this island’s individuals and community. The founders called it the Kaua`i Aloha Endowment Fund, and it’s just for Kaua`i.
Barbara Curl, Laurie Ho and Margy Parker make up the fund’s advisory committee today. Over the dozen years of its existence, advisory committee members have come, served and stepped down after their terms. The committee gives kudos to them, most especially and gratefully to the Hindu Monastery that represented a solid inspiration, anchor and presence along with financial and infrastructure support.
Representing the long-standing support of the Hindu Monastery, the Rev Bodhinatha has completed his term. And Sue Kanoho of the Kaua`i Visitors Bureau and Michael Murakoshi of First Hawaiian Bank both also recently stepped down after many years of service.
Laurie Ho, new to the committee, points to one of the Kaua`i Aloha Endowment’s guiding values as one she cherishes. “It’s leaving a legacy for generations to come,” she says.
That’s certainly evident with the Kaua`i Aloha Endowment Fund’s most recent grant of $10,000, awarded to Leadership Kaua`i for its Laulima Project. The project piloted at Kapa`a High School this past school year and ultimately will spread throughout all the high schools in all grades.
People involved with the project are witnessing significant results, including increased class attendance, academic improvement and decreased behavioral issues.
Advisory committee member Margy Parker says of the Laulima Project, “The essential part of it is cultural values.”
As she began to better understand the project, she began to laud the integrity of a grant from the Kaua`i Aloha Endowment to be used for this purpose.
“I thought if our high schoolers on Kaua`i can end up graduating with an idea of where they want to go, what they want to do and take that excitement of what they want to do and share and give back to the community, then they’ve got it — they’ve got the aloha spirit.”
How the Kaua`i Aloha Endowment Fund Started
Any nonprofit group that has ever had to seek funding knows about the many generous donors that have created funds for a variety of purposes, for example, from constructing buildings to holding summer camp for asthmatic children; from giving scholarships to opening clinics.
But did you know that in 2000, a group of visionaries, movers and shakers in the Kaua`i community pledged to raise funds to support projects and programs just for Kaua`i?
An endowment is meant to keep its principal while it earns interest and then periodically distributes the interest in the form of grants to nonprofit organizations. Within its first two months, the Kaua`i Aloha Endowment Fund had aggregated about $50,000 in principal and by 2002, the fund held $150,000.
Today, the fund represents about $173,000 total as an asset for the Kaua`i Community, with $158,000 of that being the principal.
Among the initial supporters and fundraisers were Barbara Bennett, who, with This Week Magazine sponsored a $1000-per-plate dinner at Tara, aka Papa`a Bay Ranch. Pierce Brosnan held a showing of his film Evelyn at Kilauea Movie Theatre.
Michele and Justin Hughes, joining with then Mayor Maryanne Kusaka, hosted an afternoon social gathering at their property, Pavilions.
The fund received a donation of a logo and that logo became the focus of a product line of T-shirts, stationery, posters and more.
In the years since its existence, the Kaua`i Aloha Endowment Fund has received over 350 donations and has distributed $45,500 to Kaua`i community projects.
Says Darcie Yukimura, philanthropic officer in the Kaua`i office of the Hawai`i Community Fund, the organization that administers the Kaua`i Aloha Endowment Fund, “From those efforts, there have been faithful donors who contribute every year. Businesses and people continue to give.”
The ideal would be to let visitors know about the fund also, says Laurie Ho.
“We’d like to have a way that people who get inspired coming to Kaua`i and after returning home, feeling rejuvenated and restored, would like to give back. The Kaua`i Aloha Endowment is a great way to contribute.”
Barbara Curl, onboard from the start 12 years ago and a champion of this visionary fund, says, “I’d like people to understand that this is a trustworthy, solid living legacy for the people of Kaua`i, that it’s sustainable, and offered with aloha.”
To learn more about the Kaua`i Aloha Endowment Fund, contact the Kaua`i office of the Hawai`i Community Foundation by calling Darcie Yukimura at 808-245-4585 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.