West Hawaii Fund celebrates 25 years

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The Hawaii Community Foundation, which has served the people of Hawaii for 99 years as one of the oldest community foundations in the nation, recently celebrated a quarter-century of giving on Hawaii Island at the West Hawaii Fund’s 25th anniversary event at Hokulia. The fund’s founders, current advisory committee, beneficiaries, donors and foundation staff attended to recognize a legacy of place-based partnerships, community service and charitable giving from North Kohala to Ocean View.

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The Hawaii Community Foundation, which has served the people of Hawaii for 99 years as one of the oldest community foundations in the nation, recently celebrated a quarter-century of giving on Hawaii Island at the West Hawaii Fund’s 25th anniversary event at Hokulia. The fund’s founders, current advisory committee, beneficiaries, donors and foundation staff attended to recognize a legacy of place-based partnerships, community service and charitable giving from North Kohala to Ocean View.

The West Hawaii Fund was established in 1990 by Gloria Blum, Bill Hastings, Virginia Isbell, Rebecca Transue, Allen Wilcox and Bill Wong, who pledged their shared commitment to addressing the unique needs of the West Hawaii community. Since then, the fund has distributed more than $1.3 million in grants to 170 organizations dedicated to the arts, culture, youth, health care and general community needs.

“One of the main reasons the West Hawaii Fund has seen such incredible growth over the years is because it was created for the people of West Hawaii, by the people of West Hawaii,” said Lydia Clements of Hawaii Community Foundation. “The fund plays a vital role in meeting critical community needs, including issues related to food security, health care access and youth programs.”

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The West Hawaii Fund was the first geographic fund of its kind established by HCF. Currently, HCF facilitates permanent giving funds on every neighbor island. The regional funds enable donors to target their charitable giving to a specific geographic area to benefit the particular needs of a community, and grantmaking decisions are handled locally.

“Contributing to this fund means contributing to organizations that are in the same place we live and work,” said Dale Ishida Suezaki, former West Hawaii Fund committee member. “Many of us have seen big changes in this community over the past few decades and the West Hawaii Fund and Hawaii Community Foundation provide a high level of integrity and permanence, while also leading innovative approaches to community issues.”

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