Brendon Kaleiʻāina Lee


Photo: Brendon Lee

Oʻahu candidate

  • Age | 53
  • Occupation | OHA Trustee
  • Where did you grow up | Pearl City, Oʻahu
  • Schooling | Kamehameha Schools
  • Current residence | Pearl City, Oʻahu
  • Website |
  1. Lifelong member of Pearl Harbor Hawaiian Civic Club, founding member of Elizabeth Kahanu Hawaiian Civic Club, past 2nd vice-president of the Association of Hawaiian Civic Clubs – two years. Immediate past president of Kamehameha Schools Alumni Association – four years, raised and awarded more scholarship dollars in the organization’s history. Chairperson ʻAha 2016, guided 125 Native Hawaiians in the development of a Native Hawaiian constitution. OHA Trustee At-Large – served as vice chair of the Board of Trustees, chair of permitted interaction group to reorganize board governance, chair of permitted interaction group to update board by-laws, initiated endowment model for Native Hawaiian Trust Portfolio, orchestrated the acquisition of Iwilei land parcels, worked with investment managers to develop a rebalanced model for the Native Hawaiian Trust Portfolio, chair of ad-hoc committee to develop policy for revenue bond issuance.
  2. As president of the Kamehameha Schools Alumni Association, I initiated a fundraising project that raised over $20,000 in two years for college scholarships. I also implemented a policy to give equity to post-graduate scholarships. This allowed the association to provide more scholarships and help Native Hawaiians seeking higher degrees for whom there are less scholarships available to. The remaining funds were deposited into the association’s corpus with the Pauahi Foundation.
  3. As the chair of the permitted interaction group to restructure OHA’s governance, I was tasked with leading three other trustees and OHA’s administration in investigating best practices for board governance across Hawaiʻi, the nation, and globally. I was able to facilitate meetings with every aliʻi trust, several American Indian tribes and governing models from Aotearoa. When the report was complete and ready to be adopted by the entire Board of Trustees I was able to secure Kamehameha Schools’ trustees and CEO, and Lunalilo Trust trustees and CEO to provide public testimony in support of the new governance model. The new governance model was unanimously adopted by all nine OHA trustees.
  4. The greatest opportunity for collaboration for economic stability is through the granting process with the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement. They have a proven track record of capacity to work within the Native Hawaiian community much more nimbly than OHA can, given OHA’s procurement restrictions.
  5. Given Native Hawaiians’ lack of any political standing with the U.S. government, the only entity OHA can partner with to address housing for Native Hawaiians is the Department of Hawaiian Homes. With the recent land acquisitions in Iwilei OHA plans on redeveloping them once they receive TOD designation for affordable housing. The only way OHA can ensure those units go to Native Hawaiians is through DHHL. OHA can negotiate either an affordable rental program, a lease program, or an ownership program with a buy-back clause to either DHHL or OHA. This would mean should an owner wish to sell their unit they can only sell it back to DHHL or OHA. Should the State of Hawaiʻi come up with a more realistic downpayment program, rather than the current standard of 10%, with the local financial institutions then OHA could create a new revolving loan program to help Native Hawaiians with that downpayment.

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