Investing In Community Wellbeing

Investing In Community Wellbeing
Think Fund

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Innovation and exploration have been characteristics of Hawaii throughout history. The first Polynesians who populated these islands were at the forefront of science and technology for their times, designing and sailing canoes and navigating by the stars in search of new land and new opportunities. Our recent and future endeavors promoting a fertile environment for science and technology represent continuations of this long tradition.

As a member of the growing high-tech economy in Hawaii, the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) international collaboration has made a commitment to support science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education on Hawaii Island. As one of the greatest equalizers, education can also strengthen our workforce and economy so that families and communities thrive. The TMT created The Hawaii Island New Knowledge (THINK) Fund at Hawaii Community Foundation in October 2014 to provide grants, scholarships, and community leadership to further this purpose.

The purpose of the THINK Fund at Hawaii Community Foundation is to improve educational opportunities for Hawaii Island students that serve to prepare them to become the workforce for the science and technology economy of the 21st century Hawaii.

Advisory Committee

The THINK Fund at HCF has an advisory committee made up of thoughtful Hawaii Island community leaders who provide their expertise to support the HCF staff and board in fulfilling the goals of the fund. Currently, HCF works with more than 35 funds that draw on advisory committees to support the grantmaking and scholarship process, 4 on Hawaii Island. The THINK Fund at HCF Advisory Committee assists in developing strategy, reviewing grant and scholarship applications and making award decisions. Each member also serves as an ambassador for the education and prosperity for the people of Hawaii Island.

Advisory Committee members of THINK Fund at HCF include: Laurie Ainslie, Roberta Chu, Kaeo Duarte, Hiapo Pierra, Doug Simons and Barry Taniguchi.

There are 4 ways to get involved in the THINK Fund at HCF:

TeachersStart here to post your classroom STEM project to be considered for funding on Criteria to qualify for classroom project funding include: 

  • Public and public charter school teachers in grades 3-12.
  • Must be STEM-related projects. Learn more about previously funded projects here.
  • Can include materials, supplies, field trips, and classroom visitors.
  • Funding is limited to $3,500 total per teacher, per school year.
  • Funding for travel costs for students to attend off-island robotics competitions and academic STEM conferences within the state of Hawai‘i will be funded up to $500 per student with a maximum of $7,500 per teacher, per school year. Limited funding is available for student travel and will be distributed on a first come, first served basis. Please contact Chelsey Chow at for instructions prior to submitting your student travel project through 

Students – Students – Apply for a scholarship to further your goals to complete a STEM college degree or training certificate. If you want to teach STEM on Hawaii Island, we have scholarships available for you too. Apply beginning November 15th  at! It is never too late or too early to begin considering a STEM career in Hawaii and you can learn more here and here.

Nonprofits and Schools – Beginning January 2018, you can submit a grant proposal for your in-school and after-school activities for students, teacher professional development, or work-based learning programs. You can read more about Career Connected Learning, review the RFP and other associated documents below, and apply here. We congratulate the 2015-2017 cohorts of grantees, who received support from the Hawaii STEM Learning Partnership and paved the way for the new Career Connected Learning program.

Donors - Give and support any or all of these great Hawaii Island STEM education opportunities by contributing to the THINK Fund at HCF. For more information about THINK Fund, please contact Lydia Clements,, or call (808) 935-1206.

Join us in achieving these bold goals:

  • Increase the number of Hawaii Island students who are inspired to pursue postsecondary STEM fields of study.
  • Increase the number of Hawaii Island students who complete STEM degree and training programs.
  • Increase the number of effective STEM teachers on Hawaii Island.
  • Increase the number of effective STEM programs on Hawaii Island that also promote cultural competency or place-based learning.

For more information about THINK Fund, please contact Lydia Clements,, or call (808) 935-1206. For more information about TMT’s THINK Fund initiative, visit:

See how the THINK Fund is Strengthening STEM on Hawaii Island

Daryl Albano is a THINK Fund at HCF scholarship recipient and an intern with Akamai Workforce Initiative. Akamai receives support through STEM Learning Partnership and TMT.
Kealakehe HS student
Kealakehe HS student Maya Gee discusses her experience as part of the robotics team, a program supported through the STEM Learning Partnership.
Serena O’Neill
Serena O’Neill, Kea‘au High School teacher and robotics team coach, discusses the impact of THINK Fund at HCF support on STEM education in Hawai‘i Island. Mrs. O’Neill is a two-time recipient of a classroom grant and Kea‘au High School Robotics is supported through the STEM Learning Partnership.