Photo contributed by Hawai`i Community Foundation

Photo contributed by Hawai`i Community Foundation

For the twelfth year the Ho‘okele Award paid tribute to leadership in the State’s non-profit sector with a $10,000 award for exceptional work of selfless leaders. The award provides an opportunity for renewal to each of the recipients.

Rather than risk potential “burnout,” which often affects those in the non-profit sector, the gift enables each to pursue a dream.

The only Kaua`i recipient, Carol Yotsuda, executive director and founder of the Garden Island Arts Council, shared some of her plans on how to recharge her creative battery.

“I want to see places and do things that I have wondered about but never had time to do or the means to do it,” she wrote in an email.

The Kaua`i born, retired teacher shared a list of “nevers” that she plans to pursue.

“I’ve never seen the snow at Mauna Kea; never spent a whole week in Molokai, never saw the back side of the island of Lanai, never been on the Saddle Road on Big Island, never flew the helicopter to Ni`ihau, never walked on lava that was hissing underneath, so many nevers just in the islands….and there is the world beyond to dream about and perhaps to visit,” she wrote. “Every time I leave the island, I come back refreshed and more excited about where I live.”

President and CEO of the Hawai‘i Community Foundation, Kelvin Taketa echoed Yotsuda’s sentiments in a press release.

“The Ho‘okele Awards allows these selfless executives to take time for their personal rejuvenation so they can continue on with their work to improve our communities.”

Carol K. Yotsuda co-founded Garden Island Arts Council 36 years ago and over that time has brought in more than $1 million in funding to the island to fund artists and programs, the press release said.

With an MFA from the University of Hawai‘i, Yotsuda has spent decades creating community collaborations on behalf of art and artists, producing her own award-winning artwork and perceptive writings on art, inspiring thousands to find their own voices as artists. As the executive director for the Garden Island Arts Council for the past eight years, Yotsuda has helped the organization serve as a place for arts and information.

Hawai‘i Community Foundation honored three other recipients: Nancy Aleck, chief executive officer, Hawai‘i Peoples Fund; M. Nalani Fujimori Kaina, executive director, Legal Aid Society of Hawai‘i and Kenneth L. Zeri, president and chief professional officer, Hospice Hawai‘i.