HEI Charitable Foundation Commits $50,000 Towards Construction of Special Olympics Hawaii Sports and Wellness Center

Vertical construction on the Center is scheduled to start in early 2018

(Press release issued by Special Olympics Hawaii and Hawaiian Electric Industries)

Release Date: 10/10/2017

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HONOLULU - Hawaiian Electric Industries (HEI) Charitable Foundation has committed $50,000 towards the construction of the Special Olympics Hawaii Sports and Wellness Center. Named one of the most charitable companies in the state, HEI Charitable Foundation is focused on community programs aimed at promoting environmental sustainability, educational excellence, economic growth, and community development.

The HEI Charitable Foundation gift will go towards construction of the Sports and Wellness Center, which is being designed specifically to unite athletes of all ability levels including thousands of athletes with intellectual disabilities and their families across the state. Infrastructure, including grass playing fields and a running long jump and track is scheduled to be completed this month. Vertical construction is planned to begin in early 2018.

"Our commitment to enhancing communities includes support for Special Olympics Hawaii and their plans to build a sports and wellness center serving West Oahu athletes and their families," said AJ Halagao, executive vice president, HEI Charitable Foundation. "By encouraging healthy lifestyles and advancing life skills, the facility and programs will have a positive impact in the community that extends beyond an arena for athletic events. We are inspired by Special Olympics goal of creating a welcoming and inclusive environment where children and adults with intellectual disabilities can strive for their personal best."

Located in Kapolei adjacent to the Kroc Center, the Special Olympics Hawaii Sports and Wellness Center will provide athletes access to a range of services including sports training and competitions, physical examinations, oral health screening, vision testing, sports skills assessments, and other sports medicine disciplines. Special Olympics Hawaii's program headquarters will also be located in the center and host leadership training for sports and event management, volunteer management, trainings, organizational management, and more.

At least 75 percent of athletes who would be served by Special Olympics Hawaii's Sports and Wellness Center would qualify as low to moderate income under federal guidelines. Data from the state Department of Education indicates that there are close to 4,000 Special Education students in the surrounding school complexes of Campbell/Kapolei, Nanakuli/Waianae and Pearl City/Waipahu. Locating this Center in the Leeward community will greatly enhance Special Olympics Hawaii's ability to best serve the people most in need of its services.

"We are proud of our continued partnership with HEI and their work to give back to our athletes and make an impact in our local community," said Nancy Bottelo, president and CEO of Special Olympics Hawaii. "Their gift to our Sports and Wellness Center will have a lasting impact on the lives of many of our families and the West Oahu community for decades to come."

Since 2010, the HEI Charitable Foundation has contributed more than $10 million to local charities and other nonprofit organizations. Moreover, our employees have donated or fundraised over $4 million, and volunteered more than 80,000 hours.

For more information on Special Olympics Hawaii, please contact 808-943-8808 or visit www.specialolympicshawaii.org. Also, follow Special Olympics Hawaii on Twitter, at http://twitter.com/sohawaii, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/SpecialOlympicsHawaii and on Instagram at www.instagram.com/sohawaii.

About Special Olympics Hawaii
Special Olympics unleashes the human spirit through the transformative power and joy of sports every day in Hawaii. Through work in sports, health education and community building, Special Olympics is addressing inactivity, injustice, intolerance and social isolation by encouraging and empowering people with intellectual disabilities which leads to a more welcoming and inclusive society.

Founded in 1968 by Eunice Kennedy Shriver, Special Olympics Hawaii has grown from a handful of athletes to more than 5,000 participants across the state. With the support of more than 9,600 coaches and volunteers, Special Olympics is able to deliver 10 Olympic-type sports and more than 45 competitions throughout the year. There is never a fee for any athlete or family to participate in Special Olympics programs. For more information on Special Olympics Hawaii, please visit www.sohawaii.org.