Maui News

OHA awards $600K to support Native Hawaiian education and community events

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Students participate in a hula class led by Kumu Liana at Waimea School. PC: Office of Hawaiian Affairs

Grant awards totaling more than $600,000 are the first to be announced this year by the Office of Hawaiian Affairs. The Community Grants – Education and ʻAhahui Grants categories

This is the first of four grant award cycles that OHA will conduct over the course of the year for the ‘Ahahui Grants program, with the first increment focused on community grants and education.

The OHA Community Grants – Education purpose is to support culture and community-based programming that utilize ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi (Hawaiian language) and nohona Hawaiʻi (Hawaiian way of life) to meet the educational needs of families and communities.  


A $220,000 community grant to support the Hoʻokākoʻo Corporation’s “Ke Awa Ho‘omalu (Safe Harbor)” program is one of three education-focused grant awards announced by the Office of Hawaiian Affairs. 

The two-year OHA grant will increase access for school-aged Native Hawaiian children and their families to Hawaiian culture-based educational, behavioral, and mental health services. Ke Awa Hoʻomalu will be implemented at Kualapuʻu Preschool and Elementary on Molokaʻi, and Waimea Middle School on Hawaiʻi Island. 

WMS Hokuʻula. (April 2022). PC: Office of Hawaiian Affairs.

Additional education awards went to the Educational Services Hawaiʻi Foundation, a $180,000 grant to support their ‘Imi ‘Ike Learning Centers on Oʻahu, Hawaiʻi Island, Maui, Molokaʻi and Kauaʻi; and to Laʻiōpua 2020, a $141,000 award for its “Waʻa Project” on Hawaiʻi Island intended to close the educational achievement gap currently experienced by haumāna by improving their knowledge of Native Hawaiian language and culture and traditional learning systems.  


The ‘Ahahui Grant program provides funding support to nonprofit organizations hosting a one-time community event that aligns with OHA’s strategic plan framework and provides significant benefits to the Native Hawaiian community.  

ʻAhahui awards totaling $72,170 went to 10 organizations in cycle one. They include:

  • $10,000 award to Aloha Week Hawaiʻi (Aloha Festivals Parade);
  • $10,000 to Laʻiōpua (Kona Mele – A Tribute to Kona);
  • $9,900 to ODKF Support (Duke’s Ocean Fest),
  • $9,000 to Big Island Substance Abuse Council (Summer Jam);
  • $8,200 to Ke Ao Haliʻi (Pule ʻĀina o Mokae a me Makaʻalae);
  • $7,500 to Na Mamo O Muʻolea (Hanana No Nā Limu);
  • $5,050 to Adult Friends for Youth (PEARL Convention),
  • $5,400 to Kaikeha, INC., (Garden Island Boogie Board Classic and Hubb Keiki Fest);
  • $4,600 to Hana Arts (Uniting the East Maui Community); and
  • $2,520 to Ka Laʻi a ʻEhu (Lā Kūpuna and Lā ʻEhunui). 

A total of 13 grant categories will be funded by OHA this year.  


OHA awarded some $16 million in grants to community organizations last fiscal year, a record for the agency. OHA’s Grants Program represents the largest chunk of the organization’s yearly budget, and supports Hawaiʻi-based nonprofit organizations that have projects, programs and initiatives that serve the lāhui in alignment with the agency’s Mana i Mauli Ola strategic plan.  

“OHA cannot achieve its vision of raising a beloved lāhui alone, and it is our goal to support community organizations and entities that are already successfully serving the lāhui in the areas of education, health, housing and economics. By collaborating in a spirit of lōkahi we can together accomplish so much more,” said OHA Board Chair Carmen “Hulu” Lindsey in a press release announcement. 


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