The Board of Trustees for the Office of Hawaiian Affairs has awarded $8 million in grants to 32 community-based organizations that have tied their missions to helping improve conditions for Native Hawaiians.
More than 6,200 Native Hawaiians are expected to directly benefit from the grant money that addresses such OHA priorities as combating obesity, improving middle as well as high-school test scores, and increasing housing stability.
The grant money received by the 32 non-profit organizations will also fund programs that fit into a variety of other OHA priorities, ranging from preserving culture and raising family income, to protecting land and supporting pre-natal care.
“The important work these organizations do has inspired our confidence and support,” said OHA Chairperson Colette Machado. “We look forward to seeing many positive results from their efforts to help improve a sense of overall well-being among Native Hawaiians.”
The grants have been made available to fund OHA priorities over a two-year period between July 1, 2013 and June 30, 2015. The 32 non-profit groups were selected from 146 applications for OHA grant money.
Among the first-time applicants was a non-profit organization called Effective Planning Innovative Communications Inc., known also as EPIC Ohana. It was awarded a $27,900 grant to provide rental-housing assistance statewide to about 42 Native Hawaiian foster youth, between ages 14 and 25, who are trying to make a successful transition to adulthood.
“The grant will help Native Hawaiian youth secure housing by matching their savings dollar for dollar to pay for first month’s rent and security deposit,” said Laurie Tochiki, CEO and president of EPIC Ohana. “This OHA grant is critical to help support these youth for a better start in life, just as we support the children in our own families.”
The Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA) is a unique, independent state agency established through the Hawai‘i State Constitution and statutes to advocate for the betterment of conditions of all Native Hawaiians, with a Board of Trustees elected by the voters of Hawai‘i. OHA is guided by a vision and mission to ensure the perpetuation of the culture, to protect the entitlements of Native Hawaiians, and to build a strong and healthy Hawaiian people and nation. For more information, visit www.oha.org.