Three hula dancers hold hands in Ken Shutt's sculpture in front of Kauaʻi Community College Performing Arts Center.

Three hula dancers hold hands in Ken Shutt’s sculpture in front of Kauaʻi Community College Performing Arts Center.

A project at Kauaʻi Community College that has helped hundreds of students got a financial boost from an organization that has deep roots on Kauaʻi.

The E.H.W. Broadbent Foundation recently presented KCC with a gift to fund scholarships for students enrolled in college through the Waiʻaleʻale Project, states a press release from the University of Hawaiʻi.

The Waiʻaleʻale Project began with a vision of supporting individuals who did not consider college as a viable life option. Since the project’s inception, 317 students have enrolled, according to UH.

“Waiʻaleʻale appreciates the generosity of the E.H.W. Broadbent Foundation,” said Kimo Perry, coordinator of the Waiʻaleʻale Project. “Each contribution that we receive helps students attend college who might not otherwise have the opportunity.”

The E.H.W. Broadbent Foundation was established by direct descendants of Edward Henry Walton Broadbent, who planted coconut groves in Waipouli about a century ago.

Representing their family, Sam Pratt and Melinda Walker presented KCC with the gift.

“It’s especially gratifying to know that our program is being supported by local organizations who recognize the importance to our community of higher education,” Perry said.

The E.H.W. Broadbent scholarships will be available Fall 2014 Semester to students enrolling in the Waiʻaleʻale Project’s fifth cohort of students. Funding will support the full cost of tuition, books, and fees for students to study full-time in a program of their choice.

According to Perry, the performance level of Waiʻaleʻale students is on par with other students and their initial persistence rate is higher.

E. H. W. Broadbent, son of William (of Lincolnshire, England) and Mary Walton (of Scotland) was born in New Zealand and trained as a blacksmith. At the age of 19, he left for America and in 1891 stopped in Honolulu, where he obtained a job at Honolulu Iron Works. A year later, he moved to Lihuʻe and got a job at the Kauaʻi Industrial School (Malumalu), where he taught black smithy to local youth.

In 1895, at the age of 23, Broadbent was hired by G.N. Wilcox as “Head Luna” for Grove Farm Company. In 1896, he married Marie Jaouen of France. Broadbent served as Grove Farm Company Manager from 1902 until his retirement in 1937. Broadbent and his wife had three children, Frank, Dora, and Alice.

In addition to serving as Grove Farm Company Manager, Edward purchased land in Waipouli, where he planted coconut groves. Broadbent’s holdings grew to 189 acres of land used for cattle-grazing, operating a slaughter house and cultivating fruit-tree orchards and cassava root (pia). The farms yielded coconut oil, laundry-quality starch, beef and pork, eggs and poultry. In World War II, the coconut groves were used as a site of a primary tent city for the U.S. Army.

In 1963, Edward’s three children incorporated the farm to establish Niu Pia Farms, Ltd., which is now known as Niu Pia Land Company, Ltd.

Niu Pia Land Company, Ltd. continues to provide opportunities for the Broadbent family descendents. Today, the family owns income-producing real estate on all four major Hawaiian Islands. Honoring E. H. W. Broadbent’s legacy, then Niu Pia Board member C. Dudley Pratt Jr. created the E. H. W. Broadbent Foundation in 2005, with a focus upon “giving to the communities of Hawaiʻi that have provided Niu Pia Land Company the business success it has enjoyed over the last 40 years.”