Maui News

OHA Awards $1.77 Million in Response Grants to Help in Pandemic Recovery

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The Office of Hawaiian Affairs awarded a total of $1.77 million in grant awards to 15 nonprofit organizations – on five islands – through its COVID-19 Impact and Response Grants. Awardees included programs helping to mitigate learning struggles endured by young learners during the pandemic, provide psychiatric services to Native Hawaiians and food to vulnerable Native Hawaiian communities.

The grant program is being offered for the first time to help the community address the multiple impacts of the global pandemic. 

“COVID-19 and the resulting global pandemic has had negative effects on the Native Hawaiian community in the areas of education, health, housing and economics – areas that we at OHA specifically focus on. It is our hope that by working with our community partners we can have an impact on mitigating some of those effects,” said OHA Board Chair Carmen “Hulu” Lindsey.  

The COVID-19 Impact and Response Grant awardees are: 


Pā‘upena Community Development, Inc., is awarded $58,395 for its “Project MAHI‘AI” which will identify and consolidate Hawaiian cultivators via a Native Farmers Community virtual platform. 


KUPU is awarded $140,088 for its “Conservation Leadership Development Program” to provide employment opportunities for early and developing professionals (17 years or older) who want to commit to a career in conservation. 

Maui Economic Opportunity, Inc., is awarded $150,000 for its “‘Ai Hua Project” which will provide food vouchers to 150 Native Hawaiian families, whose income was affected by the pandemic. 


KUPU is awarded $55,042 for its “Conservation Leadership Development Program” to provide employment opportunities for early and developing professionals (17 years or older) who want to commit to a career in conservation. 

Hawai‘i Island  

Five Mountains Hawaii dba Kipuka o ke Ola is awarded $118,454 for its “Kauka No‘ono‘o” project which will provide psychiatric services to 100 Native Hawaiians. 

Big Island Substance Abuse Council is awarded $150,000 for its “COVID Response Program” to implement a COVID operational plan that ensures compliance with best practices and mitigates gaps in services to meet needs.  


Hamakua Youth Foundation is awarded $50,000 for its “Keiki Program” project to provide educational support, enrichment programming, and direct food assistance to underserved keiki and ʻohana. 

Pōhāhā I Ka Lani is awarded $149,854 for its “Ka Lau o Ke Kāhuli” project to provide assistance to families by offering ‘āina stewardship, cultural education and assisting with their needs to overcome impacts due to COVID. 

Ho‘okako‘o Corporation (fiscal Sponsor for Waimea Middle Public Conversion Charter School) is awarded $60,000 for its “Mālama I Nā ʻŌpio” project to provide students at Waimea Middle Public Conversion Charter School supports they need to be successful upon their return to school. 

KUPU is awarded $140,088 for its “Conservation Leadership Development Program” to provide employment opportunities for early and developing professionals (17 years or older) who want to commit to a career in conservation.   


Partners in Development Foundation is awarded $150,000 for its “Nā Pono Family Education Program” to provide services to mitigate the learning loss/struggles children birth-grade six and families have experienced due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 


Papakolea Community Development Corporation is awarded $78,541 for its “Papakolea COVID Support Project” to equip the Papakōlea Community Park and Center with COVID-trained staff, as well as COVID necessary supplies and services, over a 12-month project period. 

Healthy Mothers Healthy Babies Coalition of Hawaii is awarded $149,999 for its “COVID-19 Community Response” project to respond to healthcare equity issues identified during the pandemic by providing mobile access to care, primary care assessment and social services connection.   

Ke Kula Nui o Waimānalo is awarded $148,860 for its “Ulu Pono Mahiʻāina 2.5” project which will provide food systems to the lāhui to aid in food security.   


ʻĀina Hoʻokupu O Kilauea is awarded $50,201 for its “Farmers Market Produce Boxes for Kauaʻi Native Hawaiians” project which will provide locally grown fruit and vegetable boxes to vulnerable Native Hawaiians across Kauaʻi. 

KUPU is awarded $84,336 for its “Conservation Leadership Development Program” to provide employment opportunities for early and developing professionals (17 years or older) who want to commit to a career in conservation. 

Hanalei River Heritage Foundation (fiscal sponsor for Hoʻomana, Inc.) is awarded $35,000 for its “Project Holomua: Essential Culture-Based Support Services for Native Hawaiian Homeless Families” which will provide support services to families to strengthen resource management knowledge and skills.  

The OHA Board of Trustees also approved $537,739 in Kūlia Grants to be awarded to six local nonprofits. The Kūlia Grant program is OHA’s most broad-based grant program, and awards include projects that will offer cultural learning opportunities, a homestead program in Anahola that will nurture ‘Ōiwi leaders, and a project that will help preserve and revive the traditional healing art of lāʻau lapaʻau. 

The Kūlia  Grant  awardees are:  

Maui Family Support Services, Inc., is awarded  $100,000 for its “Ho‘owaiwai Kaiāulu Project – Maui” which provides a continuum of programs to strengthen the physical and mental wellbeing of ʻohana and keiki, increase social and emotional competence, and improve ʻohana strengths and resilience.    

Ko‘ihonua is awarded $87,740 for its “Haikuʻumauma” Oʻahu-based project which will provide cultural learning opportunities to adults to ensure the knowledge is safeguarded for future generations. 

Kulaniakea is awarded $100,000 for its “Hi‘ilei” Oʻahu-based project which will provide Hawaiian language medium infant/toddler care in order to root children in their language, culture and identity from a very young age.  

Pacific American Foundation (fiscal sponsor for Moanalua Culture Project) is awarded $100,000 for its “Hālau o Huluena” project. Hālau O Huluena’s mission is to preserve and revive a genuine lineal tradition of lāʻau lapaʻau via classes and workshops taught by Kahuna Lāʻau Lapaʻau Roddy Akau. 

Kukulu Kumuhana o Anahola is awarded $100,000 for its Kauaʻi-based “Hana Ka Lima” which will provide programs and opportunities to the homestead community of Anahola to establish thriving ʻōpio with developed skills and mākua and community leaders who are invested in nurturing ʻŌiwi leaders

Bishop Museum is awarded $49,999 for its “Extending Our Reach” project which will bring the museumʻs educational programs to a high percentage of Native Hawaiian students on the islands of Hawaiʻi, Maui, Molokaʻi and Kauaʻi.  

Another new grant stream approved by trustees is the $175,000 Native Hawaiian Teacher Education & Professional Development Grant.   

The first award will go to the Institute for Native Pacific Education and Culture for its Ka Lama – Teacher Education Academy,” which will provide a teacher education and credential pathway to individuals interested in teaching in Kula Kaiapuni or Hawaiian-focused charter schools to increase the number of qualified, culturally competent educators. 

“Whether it’s helping the Native Hawaiian community recover from the effects of the global pandemic, offering support to a broad spectrum of community needs, or supporting educational efforts that target Hawaiian students, we will do everything in our power to strengthen our ‘ohana and families, help revitalize our moʻomeheu or culture and mālama our ‘āina – our lands and water,” said OHA Board Chair Carmen “Hulu” Lindsey.  

These grants are a part of OHAʻs effort to increase its total community investment to benefit Native Hawaiians and the larger community. So far in 2021, OHA has awarded more than $3 million in ʻAhahui event, Iwi Kupuna & Repatriation, Homestead, and ʻOhana and Community Program grants statewide to advance its strategic directions in the areas of education, health, housing and economic stability.  

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