Hawaii Life Charitable Fund

Hawai‘i Life Charitable Fund Awards Grants to Four Local Charities

Four Hawai‘i charities recently received the good news that their nonprofits were chosen to receive a $5,000 grant from the Hawai‘i Life Charitable Fund (HLCF). Grant recipients include Reef Guardians Hawai‘i, Waterkeepers Hawaiian Islands, Hawai‘i Marine Animal Response, and the Lahaina Yacht Club Foundation.

Each year, Hawai‘i Life agents and brokers collectively choose a giving focus for their fundraising efforts. The HLCF makes grants available through the Hawai‘i Love grant program to eligible 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations across the state. Nonprofit applicants must demonstrate that their charitable programming aligns with the HLCF mission and giving focus for that year.

Photo courtesy of Reef Guardians Hawai‘i. Featured image also from Reef Guardians Hawai‘i.

The HLCF mission is defined as “working to preserve Hawai‘i’s beauty and culture by supporting its people” and the fund’s giving focus in 2020 is Ocean Awareness. Grant funding will be used to support each nonprofit’s services and programming in our communities. 

“Grant applications were received earlier this year. The board collectively chose the grant recipients based on HLCF criteria and eligibility requirements,” said Linda Hussey, Chair of the HLCF’s board of directors. “Our grant funding program is running concurrently with the HLCF fundraising initiative on behalf of the Hawai‘i Resilience Fund.”

2020 Hawai‘i Love Grant Recipients

Charitable nonprofits that will receive Hawai‘i Love grant funding this year include:

Kaua‘i – Reef Guardians Hawai‘i

Photo courtesy of Reef Guardians Hawai‘i.

Reef Guardians Hawai‘i (RGH) was formed to address the rapid decline of the coral reef ecosystems on Kaua‘i and in Hawai‘i and to work to restore and preserve their health for the benefit of the natural environment and the people who reside and visit here. As an emerging organization, Reef Guardians Hawai‘i is building capacity to effectively meet these pressing needs. Methods to achieve this mission include field and laboratory research, monitoring, and educating the public about the reefs, ocean, and factors that influence the reef’s well-being.

With grant funding from Microsoft Corp., Reef Guardians is creating an innovative system of assessing reef health using drones and AI technology. RGH research is teaming up with Florida State and Florida International Universities, Dr. Sylvia Earle and Mission Blue, and Hawaii research and monitoring organizations to provide real-time awareness of the health of our planet’s nearshore reefs.

Reef Guardians Hawaii’s ocean education program for children and teens provides direct experience in the ocean environment and the growth of community resources through exposure, training and practice. Reef Guardians is creating a new online education program, based on their Reef Camps: educational, engaging, inspiring and Fun:). Reef Guardians operates one of the largest non-profit children’s ocean-based education programs in Hawaii.

Hawai‘i  Island – Waterkeepers Hawaiian Islands

Photo courtesy of Waterkeepers Hawaiian Islands.

Since 2017, O‘ahu Waterkeeper (dba Waterkeepers Hawaiian Islands) has partnered with the Pacific Aquaculture and Coastal Resources Center (PACRC) at the University of Hawai‘i, Hilo to utilize various forms of aquaculture for environmental and educational purposes. “Through this partnership, oysters are currently being utilized for water quality improvement at six sites in Hawai‘i, including Pearl Harbor, Kane‘ohe Marine Corps Base, Ala Wai Harbor, and Sand Island (on O‘ahu), and Hilo Bay as well as Ma‘alaea Harbor on Maui in partnership with Maui Nui Marine Resource Council,” said Rhiannon R. Tereari‘i Chandler-‘Īao, executive director of Waterkeepers.

Photo courtesy of Reef Guardians Hawai‘i.

Oysters are filter feeders that are used around the world to improve water quality and clarity. The Waterkeepers’ native oyster restoration project has deep cultural and historical significance and will contribute to the environmental resource value, cultural resource value, and sustainable use of Hawaiian estuary and nearshore marine resources. Native shellfish species were once abundant as expressed through Native Hawaiian chants, songs, and legends. The partnership will monitor growth and survival and work closely with PACRC to share data regarding their cages deployed in Hilo Bay.  Under this grant, Waterkeepers will monitor water quality in Hilo and Kona. Kona is the next potential oyster restoration location. “Water quality data helps us understand oyster survival and growth rates, and give us a better picture of what is going on with the health of our water,” said Chandler-’Īao.

O‘ahu – Hawai‘i Marine Animal Response

Photo Courtesy of Hawai‘i Marine Animal Response (HMAR)

Hawai‘i Marine Animal Response (HMAR) is the largest Hawai‘i-based marine species conservation and response organization. “Our mission is to undertake substantial actions that result in the preservation, recovery and stewardship of Hawai‘i’s protected marine species and the vitally important ocean ecosystem we share,” said HMAR President John Gelman. “We work every day of the year to help preserve Hawai‘i’s protected marine species as the first responder agency for Hawaiian monk seals, sea turtles, native seabirds, as well as field response support for dolphins and whales.” 

With the grant funding, Gelman said, “…we can spread vital marine conservation messaging in classrooms throughout O‘ahu to help create the next generation of ocean stewards, and our field response and rescue operation can keep up with an ever-increasing level of activity.”

Maui – Lahaina Yacht Club Foundation

The Lahaina Yacht Club Foundation (LYCF) was established as a charitable 501(c)(3) non-profit organization supports to provide educational opportunities and broaden horizons through education, nautical training and boating activities to the community. LYCF promotes community sailing at the LYC Keiki Sailing Center in Mala Boat Ramp. Junior sailors learn skill, strength, teamwork and execution.

Children in the program also learn an awareness of the wind, currents and changing sea state and swell. Lahaina Yacht Club (LYC) junior sailing program teaches how to rig and unrig, handle lines and tie knots, work as a team to launch and retrieve boats from the beach landing, and basic boating skills. By spending time on the water, juniors learn the independence of safely operating a vehicle propelled by natural forces.

Photo courtesy of Reef Guardians Hawai‘i.

Hawai‘i Resilience Fund Initiative

In 2018, the HLCF donated more than $200,000 to local nonprofits to address the acute needs of Hawai‘i residents, in addition to administering the Hawai‘i Love grant program that year. In 2020, the HLCF Board of Directors has committed to matching the first $40,000 in donations received. Fundraising efforts in this initiative will be donated to the Hawai‘i Resilience Fund established at the Hawai‘i Community Foundation.

Please join our efforts to support the most critical needs in our Hawai‘i community. 


Donations can also be made by check mailed to:
ATTN: Hawai‘i Life Charitable Fund*
C/O Hawai‘i Community Foundation
827 Fort Street Mall
Honolulu, HI 96813-4317

*Please write ‘Hawai‘i Life Charitable Fund’ in the memo line of your check.

The HLCF will begin accepting grant applications for the next grant cycle early next year. We look forward to your interest in our 2021 Hawai‘i Love grant cycle. More details to follow.

Photo courtesy of Reef Guardians Hawai‘i.


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