Maui News

Castle Foundation Named Community Partner of the Year

July 23, 2018, 12:00 PM HST
* Updated July 22, 10:57 AM
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The Harold K.L. Castle Foundation was honored as GEAR UP’s Community Partner of the Year at the seventh annual GEAR UP Leadership Awards in Washington, D.C.

The National Council for Community and Education Partnerships (NCCEP) awarded the Castle Foundation for its outstanding support and commitment to numerous initiatives that prepare Hawai‘i’s low-income students for college and career success.

“The Castle Foundation has been an invaluable partner in raising student achievement and moving Hawai‘i closer to our 55 by ’25 education goal,” says Stephen Schatz, executive director of Hawai‘i P-20. “Hawai‘i P-20 is incredibly thankful for the collaboration with our GEAR UP Hawai‘i program to improve access for thousands of students statewide. They are very deserving of this year’s NCCEP award.”

Hawai‘i P-20 Partnerships for Education is a statewide partnership led by the Executive Office on Early Learning, the Hawai‘i State Department of Education and the University of Hawai‘i System.

More than 14,000 students statewide in grades 7 through first year in college are provided information, support, resources and services through GEAR UP Hawai‘i, a statewide college access grant under Hawai‘i P-20 Partnerships for Education. The grant is designed to reduce gaps among student populations who are traditionally underrepresented in higher education.


“At no time in our state’s history has it been more important for our youth to attain a postsecondary degree or credential,” says Alex Harris, strategic advisor, Harold K.L. Castle Foundation. “Doing so opens doors and increases opportunities. We are honored to partner with Hawai‘i P-20 to extend the benefits of the federal GEAR UP grant to Hawai‘i’s students. This award reflects the success of hard work by countless teachers, administrators and students.”


The Castle Foundation supports high school graduation and college access initiatives by investing in a diverse range of programs that successfully reach thousands of students across the state’s K-12 and postsecondary education pipeline. Over the years, its support of public education initiatives has been highly impactful.

The foundation’s investment in Hawai‘i P-20’s Early College High School (ECHS) program helped mobilize the Early College movement, which enables students to earn both college and high school credit simultaneously. In addition, the Castle Foundation supported GEAR UP Hawai‘i’s efforts to make college more affordable by supporting the “Cash for College Challenge” to activate low-income schools to encourage more students to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Most recently, recognizing that access to strong counseling and advising in high school can be pivotal for low-income students’ success, the Castle Foundation is supporting an innovative College and Career Guidance program to create a pipeline of assistance for students from middle school through college.

These tremendous efforts have contributed to a growing number of working age adults in Hawai‘i who hold a 2 or 4 year college degree. The Castle Foundation has played a key role in expanding college access for students and families and serves as an outstanding partner and advocate for Hawai‘i’s students.




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