Recently, OHA beneficiaries have expressed heightened interest in the Office of Hawaiian Affairs’ budget. Their calls for accountability have been heard and we want to take this opportunity to provide some illumination of our grant programs, which put money directly into Hawaiian communities.
The vision and dedication of our programmatic grantees benefit communities across the pae ʻāina, enabling more Hawaiians to practice their culture, steward their resources and achieve financial stability. At the end of June, OHA announced 23 programmatic grant awards for fiscal year 2018-19. In the coming pages, you can learn more about their projects, which broaden access to education and higher wages, offer assistance in renting or buying a home, encourage healthier lifestyles and protect environmental resources.
Later this year, we’ll be able to provide an even clearer picture of our grants program, dating back to 2010. Part of this agency’s impact is contingent on the success of its grant programs and we’re looking forward to sharing measurable results. Our research department is currently compiling a scorecard that will show how much OHA has awarded in community grants and how funding these partner organizations furthers OHA’s strategic goals.
As one example, OHA has funded the Ma Ka Hana Ka ʻIke – Hana Ola Project for nearly six years because of the tremendous difference it’s making for the Hāna community in East Maui. Hāna is an isolated, rural Hawaiian community that has to look within to address health challenges particular to Native Hawaiians. Although the project is administered by the Queen’s Medical Center, it’s truly community-driven: Queen’s doesn’t have a permanent presence in Hāna, and for that matter, neither does OHA. But that hasn’t held the residents of Hāna back. In fact, the funding has galvanized the community and uplifted its collective spirit. Surpassing its health goals, the Hana Ola project is reviving community relationships, paving the way for the younger generation.
Programmatic grants aren’t the only way OHA funding reaches our beneficiaries. Our ʻAhahui Grants support events that benefit Hawaiians, and Hawaiʻi at large. Also aligned to our strategic priorities, the ʻAhahui events encourage our beneficiaries to take part in cultural activities, manage their health and pursue higher education and better jobs. OHA is providing funding support for several events in August, including the 2017 Hawaiian Canoe Racing Association State Championship Regatta in Maui, the First Annual Mālama Nā Keiki Festival on Hawaiʻi Island and the Future Fest career fair on Molokaʻi. You can learn more about the ʻAhahui grants in this issue.
As proud as we are of our grantees’ successes, we’re not patting ourselves on the back. It’s not about OHA, it’s really about our people. When they’re empowered, they strengthen their communities.
ʻO au iho nō me ke aloha a me ka ʻoiaʻiʻo,
Kamanaʻopono M. Crabbe, Ph.D. Ka Pouhana/Chief Executive Officer