How One Local Company is Adopting CHANGE

Matt Beall giving a presentation while wearing a lei
Photo courtesy of Hawai‘i Life

Hawaiʻi Life’s philanthropic efforts are built into the fabric of its company culture, and working within the CHANGE Framework has helped focus their efforts even further.

For Matt Beall, chief executive officer and principal broker of Hawaiʻi Life, philanthropy isn’t a feel-good decision to be made once in a while—it’s part of who he is as a person. “You don’t see trash on the beach and decide to pick it up just because you made a sale or had a good day at work. You pick up trash because it’s the right thing to do. It’s the same with giving—we should do it by nature,” says Beall.

Hawaiʻi Life, a real estate and brokerage company with offices across the state, has been working with Hawaiʻi Community Foundation (HCF) to incorporate philanthropy into its corporate culture for the past eight years. Through the Hawaiʻi Life Charitable Fund (HLCF), the company’s agents and brokers can donate a portion of their commissions from escrow to charity. Beall says the fund even gets surprise donations from clients in a generous mood when closing on a house.

Last year, Beall aligned his company’s grantmaking efforts with HCF’s CHANGE Framework—a comprehensive and carefully curated set of statewide data that identifies gaps in the community where help is most needed.

“I was impressed by the data-driven approach and the way in which HCF tackles multi-dimensional problems,” Beall says. “As our working relationship with HCF has grown, we’ve really seen what they’re capable of and where they add so much value to their donors whose funds they administer,” he says.

Adopting CHANGE allowed Beall and his team to better focus their giving efforts in 2021. Hawaiʻi Life’s brokers and agents have always been passionate about the natural environment and land conservation, making it a recurring theme each year. In 2021, using the CHANGE Framework, they made $10,000 grants to Hui o Kuapā, Trees for Honolulu’s Future, Yes Education, Mālama Nā ʻApapa, Kilauea Point Natural History Association, Hui Aloha Kīholo, Recycle Hawaiʻi, Haleakalā Conservancy, Maui Nui Makai Network and Sustainable Molokaʻi.

Beall says he appreciates having a clear means of execution and a timeframe to reach his charitable goals. “HCF thinks long term, looking at what needs to happen over a scope of time. They’re not just ... showing up to put a fire out, but thinking about when you plant the seeds to get the forest back."

Darcie Yukimura, vice president of philanthropy at HCF, says the way that Hawaiʻi Life’s charitable team has made philanthropy a part of their business model offers a great example for other local business interested in giving back to their community. “We believe that we will see a more equitable future when we come together around our shared values, common data and take collective action,” she says. “Hawaiʻi Life exemplifies the power of a kākou effort.”