Maui News

Hawaiʻi Community Foundation Granted $7 Million to 194 Nonprofits, 27 in Maui County

August 9, 2021, 11:40 AM HST
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Hāna Health, a Federally Qualified Health Center, will use a Hawaiʻi Community Foundation grant to help with food security by utilizing 30 acres of farmland to create jobs and grow healthy, fresh food. Photos Courtesy: HCF

Hawai‘i Community Foundation today announced $7 million in awards from its CHANGE Grants program to 194 nonprofits statewide, including 27 in Maui County, that are working to address some of the state’s most difficult challenges.

For its inaugural year, the CHANGE Grants program is aimed at gaining a deeper understanding of the six interconnected sectors of the CHANGE Framework — including the core issues, gaps, solutions and needs— and pinpointing where momentum is taking place and more investment is needed. CHANGE is an acronym for the six sectors:

  • Community & Economy
  • Health & Wellness
  • Arts & Culture
  • Natural Environment
  • Government & Civics
  • Education

Funding for the first-year of grants came from $2 million by 665 donors statewide and $5 million from philanthropist MacKenzie Scott’s gift in 2020.  

The Hawaiʻi Community Foundation (HCF) is focused on rewiring the systems that are driving long-term systemic inequities across the state. Under each sector, HCF has assembled a curated set of data to track progress on where disparities exist; the organization is also making deep investments into the community with the support of hundreds of donors and working with partners across the state from government to nonprofits to find solutions together.

To put the organization’s equity focus into action, HCF implemented Trust-Based Philanthropy into the CHANGE Grants program, a movement to address the inherent power imbalances between foundations and nonprofits using elements of transparency, equity and collaboration. To be sensitive to the time and workloads of organizations, for example, the application was streamlined to only a handful of questions. HCF staff spent more than 340 hours with applicants in virtual interviews to learn and assess where HCF resources can make the most impact.

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“To address Hawai‘i’s inequities we have to uncover the root of the problem by speaking with the people closest to the work,” says Michelle Kauhane, senior vice president of Community Grants and Initiatives at HCF. “Over the past few months, we’ve had insightful, deep conversations with our local nonprofits — and the approach has enabled us to learn and to listen to how they are addressing our state’s challenges and to hear their solutions.”

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One of the 27 Maui County nonprofits to receive a grant was Hāna Health, a Federally Qualified Health Center. It will use the award to help fund several innovative projects aimed at fostering equity in Hāna, such as economic development and food security by utilizing 30 acres of farmland to create jobs and grow healthy, fresh food.

“This grant opportunity will allow us to move forward on our own agenda for change, which is working to assure the Hāna community is the most healthy, vibrant community possible,” says Cheryl Vasconcellos, executive director of Hāna Health. “We’re really trying to use a holistic approach to develop an equitable health care system and community, so access is improved and people are able to earn enough money to support themselves and their families.”

The average CHANGE Grants award is $36,000 per nonprofit and can be used for general operating and program expenses, providing grantees flexibility to use the money to best meet their organizational needs. About 51 percent of the applicant organizations have annual operating budgets of less than $500,000. In the future, the CHANGE Grants program aims to make deep investments in the opportunities that have been uncovered by the conversations and the progress of the work on the ground.

For a complete list of CHANGE Grants program grantees, go to www.hawaiicommunityfoundation.org/change.

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