Hawaiian Electric charitable donations top $1M in 2019

  • Sharon Suzuki, president of Maui County and Hawaii Island utilities, presents Dave Okamura with the 2019 Kokua Community Champion Service Award. (Courtesy photo/Special to West Hawaii Today)

In 2019, Hawaiian Electric gave more than $1.02 million in corporate grants, contributions and sponsorships to nonprofit organizations across Oahu, Hawaii Island, and Maui County. Of the total, more than $175,000 supported the advancement of STEM education, curriculum, and initiatives.

Company employees and their family and friends also volunteered 12,189 hours to support science, technology, engineering and math events; highway, stream and beach cleanups; charitable walks and fundraisers; homeless initiatives; military appreciation; environmental stewardship; and social services programs.

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Hawaiian Electric also selected six employees to receive the 2019 Kokua Community Champion Service Award, a recognition given to honor individuals who have demonstrated exemplary volunteer service in the community over the past year. The employees were judged on level of involvement and community impact. In turn, each honoree selected a nonprofit of their choice to receive a $1,000 grant from the HEI Charitable Foundation.

On Hawaii Island, Dave Okamura, director of engineering, was recognized for his ongoing support of the American Cancer Society’s annual Relay for Life in Hilo as the coordinator of the company team.

Okamura has consistently led the company’s participation, helping to raise funds for cancer research and services to cancer patients in the local community. The Hilo native also serves as an assistant scoutmaster for the Hilo Hongwanji Boy Scout Troop, helping to prepare the scouts for life and instilling the values of the Scout Oath and Law.

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Okamura awarded the $1,000 grant to the Friends of Scouting, which helps fund the Boy Scouts in Hawaii.

“I find it rewarding to see scouts grow from immature, kolohe tweens to responsible leaders,” said Okamura. “It drives me to keep improving our troop’s program and guiding the scouts to be better leaders and teammates, qualities that we value at Hawaiian Electric.”

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