Hawaiian Electric grants to help sustain W. Oahu nonprofits

A total of $65,000 awarded for keiki, kupuna and families in need

Release Date: 7/7/2023

Download PDF

HONOLULU, July 7, 2023 – Hawaiian Electric has awarded a total of $65,000 to sustain existing programs of five nonprofit organizations that provide services to low-income, underserved and disadvantaged individuals and families in West Oahu. The award amounts vary based on need and additional contributions from the utility’s sister and parent companies.

Boys & Girls Club of Hawaii received a grant earmarked for the West Oahu clubhouse participants in the What’s Next Initiative, an intensive youth mentoring program designed to ensure participants graduate high school and become productive, caring and responsible citizens. The program, which starts in the 8th grade, is held over a 5-year period and addresses student self-discovery, healthy lifestyles, academic readiness, motivation, post-secondary options and exploration, life skills and workforce development.

Dynamic Community Solutions, an all volunteer organization, was awarded a grant for its Puuhonua o Waianae Farm Village Project which aims to provide safe, sustainable and affordable housing and farming opportunities for about 250 houseless people – many working homeless – currently living at the Waianae Boat Harbor. Under the Governor’s Emergency Proclamation on Homelessness, a 20-acre parcel in Waianae Valley purchased by DCS in 2020 is being expeditiously constructed and the first cluster of housing anticipated to accept occupants by the end of the year. Future phases will be built and people moved in as they are completed. A team of Hawaiian Electric employees also are working with volunteer planners and engineers to bring in an electrical service line to the village.

Honolulu Community Action Program will apply the grant to its Ha Initiative: Creative STEM Afterschool Program which engages at-risk youth in exploring the worlds of science, technology, engineering and math in a safe space. For more than a decade, the Ha Initiative has provided year-round tutoring, mentorship and standards-based STEM activities that boost academic performance and interest in STEM careers for students in need of high-quality, accessible and educational afterschool support. HCAP’s STEM Exploration Centers are located near public elementary schools in underserved communities such as Waianae, Aiea, Kalihi, Makiki and Hauula.

Teach for America will use the grant to expand its Ignite Fellowship program which engages current local undergraduate students as paid tutors and connects them directly with students from low-income backgrounds in the Nanakuli-Waianae complex. The goal is to accelerate learning for economically disadvantaged and special needs students, address learning loss and social-emotional well being resulting from the pandemic and achieve educational equity so that Hawaii keiki can succeed in school, work and life.

University of Hawaii – West Oahu was awarded grant funding for the Heading West Bound Summer Experience, an 8-week immersive workshop designed to acclimatize students to post-pandemic college life and create a sense of belonging and community that will enrich their higher education journey. The overarching goal is to increase participation and completion of post-secondary education.

Heading West Bound resumed this year with recent graduates from Nanakuli High & Intermediate, Waianae High, James Campbell High and Mililani High schools, among other area schools. For Anbrew Forro of Waianae High, the program created a family-oriented bond between students and staff, a positive trait echoed by Teylar-Lei Hopfe of Nanakuli High & Intermediate who was grateful for the staff. “They’re doing really good in engaging students and making them feel comfortable. I like all the little events they have, and how in depth they go.”