Maui News

Kupu and Kōkua Hawai‘i Foundation Announce Hawai‘i Youth Sustainability Challenge

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Kupu and Kōkua Hawaiʻi Foundation announced it has opened applications for the Hawai‘i Youth Sustainability Challenge, a program offering up to $1,000 for completion of projects, for the 2021-2022 school year.

In its sixth year, the Hawai‘i Youth Sustainability Challenge is an initiative to empower youth from across the state of Hawai‘i to create solutions to conservation and sustainability challenges in their schools and communities. Selected students will receive funding, mentorship and training to support their innovative and grassroots environmental initiatives. The opportunity is open to students in Grades 9 through 12 statewide. The deadline to apply is Oct. 8, 2021. 

Permaculture School Garden project from 2020. Courtesy of Kupu.

In addition to the conservation and sustainability challenges students personally identify, HYSC also encourages them to solve “community partnership challenges,” which are problems organizations from across the state confront that they feel would benefit from creative solutions developed by students. This year, 12 federal, state and community organizations have submitted 20 different challenges for students to tackle.   

“To help prepare students to submit strong, well thought out proposals to HYSC, for the first time we are offering HYSC Readiness Workshops,” said Kupu Senior Program Manager Elia Herman. “Offered in September, these virtual workshops will give students the chance to talk directly with organizations about their community partner challenges, help to better define their vision and ideas, and write more effective proposals. We are so excited to debut this part of our program and see how students respond.”


Projects are awarded up to $1,000 for supplies and materials based on scope and need. Awardees also receive a HYSC mentor and training to support successful project implementation. Projects commence in December 2021 and must be completed by May 2022. Students, together with a teacher advisor, are invited to apply. All projects must be student-driven.

“We are so excited for this year’s pool of youth applicants,” said Kōkua Hawaiʻi Foundation Senior Program Director Natalie McKinney. “We really hope that some of our new programming and partnerships will bring in innovative and meaningful proposals and will support our amazing students in their efforts to create a more resilient Hawaiʻi.” 

To learn more and apply, visit:   

HYSC flyer. Courtesy of Kupu.


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