The Hawaiʻi Community Foundation, one of the state’s leading philanthropic institutions, announced that Keoni Kuoha of Maui has joined the organization as director of the House Maui Initiative.
As director, he will continue the work of the House Maui Initiative to bring together nonprofit organizations, funders, homebuilders, government and communities to create affordable housing solutions on Maui.
“Keoni’s rich background in community engagement and resource management, grounded in Native Hawaiian culture, makes him a valuable addition to HCF and our vision to create an equitable, vibrant Hawai‘i,” said Micah Kāne, CEO and President for the Hawaiʻi Community Foundation in a press release announcement. “His desire to inspire learning and develop systems that will enable our island communities to thrive are necessary to realize House Maui’s mission, which is to create a sustainable housing market for local families on Maui.”
Prior to his role at HCF, Kuoha served as the interim executive director of the Maui AIDS Foundation and executive director and co-founder of Papahana Kuaola, an ʻāina-based education organization that serves learners on Oʻahu and Molokaʻi.
He also held roles as Native Hawaiian program coordinator for Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument, educator at Kamehameha Schools Maui and Hawaiian language and Hawaiian studies lecturer at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, Honolulu Community College and Chaminade University.
Kuoha has dedicated nearly three decades to volunteer community service, currently serving on the Maui County Charter Commission and on the boards of directors of Hui No Ke Ola Pono and the World Indigenous Nations University, Hawaiʻi-Pasifika. Kuoha is an active member of the Prince Kūhiō Hawaiian Civic Club, where he focuses on community engagement and policy, and he has served as a crew member aboard Hōkūleʻa, with the Polynesian Voyaging Society, since his senior year in high school. Most recently, he crewed several legs of the Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage.
Kuoha grew up on Hawaiian homestead lands in Waimānalo. He graduated from Kamehameha Schools, Kapālama Campus. He received a B.A. in government and international relations from the University of Notre Dame and a M.A. in Hawaiian studies from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. He is currently completing an Ed.D. in education leadership from the University of Southern California. Kuoha has studied hula, oli and other cultural practices under noted kumu hula Pueo Pata, John Kaʻimikaua, and John Lake.
“In recent years, I have turned my focus to driving housing solutions because secure, attainable housing is foundational to the wellbeing of Hawaiʻi’s people and places,” said Kuoha. “Local residents want to remain in Hawaiʻi, flourish, and maintain bonds with family, friends, their communities, and ʻāina—and we need affordable housing to make that happen.”