The number of people living in poverty in Hawaii rose from 9% in 2018 to 15% in 2022. Residents have always rallied goodwill organically in the tight-knit communities of Oahu. The spirit of aloha inspires compassion for others without expectation of anything in return. This attitude has fostered an intrinsically supportive population of locals for generations. Several charities have harnessed Hawaiian culture to do good on Oahu by uplifting those living in hard conditions. In particular, five charities operating in Hawaii are working to reduce poverty and improve living conditions.
5 Charities Operating in Hawaii
- The Omidyar Network – The founder of Craigslist also founded this charity in 2004. Pierre Omidyar prioritizes racial, economic and technological equality in the fund’s strategic investments. It has committed over $1.5 billion since its inception. The group maximizes impact with a hybrid approach to enacting real-world change. It’s a limited liability company with a private philanthropic organization. That allows them to write grants and fund research with an entrepreneurial spirit, placing stock in impact-oriented startups to fast-track the solutions it supports. Its money also goes to other charities working in the same realm to amplify similar causes. A considerable amount of its effort is allotted to ballot initiatives and direct advocacy in a holistic campaign to make a difference. One of its largest initiatives dedicates annual funds to the Hawaii Community Foundation. The foundation stewards several charitable investments toward scholarships and grants targeted towards communities, such as alternative housing solutions, comprehensive healthcare for all residents and empowering seniors in Hawaii.
- The Ulupono Initiative – This is another Hawaiian effort to make the islands more self-sufficient. With sustainability at the forefront of its values, Ulupono has encouraged sustainability in all sects of Hawaiian infrastructure since 2009. Its most important fights include ensuring clean transportation, local food and clean fresh water for the health, longevity and economic prosperity of all Hawaiians. The organization achieves this through grassroots education and pushing technological advancement. It has designated more than $79 million to local organizations and solutions to achieve this holistically.
- Help the Homeless Keiki – In 2019, more than 35,000 children in Hawaii were living below the poverty line. Help the Homeless Keiki prioritizes ending child poverty in its charity mission statement. Its programs encompass a wide range of strategies to overcome the issue, including supply donations, outreach events, education, scholarships and subsidized housing. Success stories since 2003 include sending once-homeless high schoolers to college, helping people seed business ventures of their own and getting into sports for full-ride tuition. In the first three years of operation, the project housed and employed an encampment with more than 75 children living in it. Help the Homeless Keiki has operated for more than 20 years as a subsidiary of Project Hawaii Inc and is staffed completely with volunteers.
- Family Promise Hawaii – One in six children faces hunger in Hawaii. Family Promise Hawaii has focused on housing vulnerable families across the Hawaiian islands since 2006. The charity provides alternative housing and shelter to those who need it, connecting each contact with long-term living options to ensure stable futures. It implements workforce development by bolstering prosperity by providing vocational training and demystifying financial literacy. Family Promise Hawaii has provided services to more than 4,730 family members since 2006. More than 80% of the families in their shelter program can secure housing. The group draws on more than 1,000 volunteers to return $3 in donated goods and services for every dollar donated.
- Helping Hands Hawaii – This charity erases the conflict that inequality causes by supporting self-sufficiency, emergency assistance and housing services. It has pledged to give low-income families a chance to overcome obstacles that block them from reaching their full potential. Helping Hands Hawaii accomplishes this by collecting physical donations and coordinating Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) outreach. The organization recently reached 25 years of its “Ready to Learn” program, which gives low-income and homeless children the resources they need to start school. The charity was officially incorporated in 1974 from the establishment of the 1941 Honolulu Council of Social Agencies’ Volunteer Placement Bureau. Since then, it has honed in on cost-efficient and effective ways to provide a lifeline of sorts in a full continuum of care. Revenues are welcomed from a variety of sources, from both public grants and private donors.
Placing collective well-being at the forefront of their values, these 5 charities operating in Hawaii are paving paths toward bright futures for those below the poverty line.
– Avery Pearson