Strengthening Hawaii's Communities

Strengthening Hawaii's Communities
Arts & Culture

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Arts and culture are integral to the economic, physical and social well-being of Hawaii’s communities.

Preserving Hawaiian Language & Culture

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For donors Dwayne and Marti Steele, preserving the Hawaiian language through translation of newspapers and books would provide future generations with invaluable information.

Soon after he moved to Hawaii in the 1950s, Dwayne Steele went to work for Grace Brothers, a small, kamaaina paving company. By the time he retired in 1989 as its CEO, Grace Pacific was one of the 10 largest construction firms in the Pacific and its employees were stockholders.

Upon retiring, Dwayne went back to school to learn Hawaiian. There, he discovered that the Hawaiian language was no longer being passed down through generations; an astonishingly small number of written materials were available in Hawaiian and the University of Hawaii didn’t even have Hawaiian-language textbooks for use in its language classes.

A society that was once one of the most literate cultures in the world was at risk of losing this cherished asset … and Dwayne “Nakila” Steele was not going to let that happen. He and his wife Marti turned to the Hawaii Community Foundation where preserving the Hawaiian language and culture became the focus of their philanthropy.

Dwayne Steele helped to publish several Hawaiian language books and, with Puakea Noglemeier and a team of volunteers, set out to digitize and transcribe as many pages as possible from Hawaiian-language newspapers published between 1834 and 1948. Others in Hawai‘i recognized the importance of this project and contributed funds to the effort. The pages are a treasure trove of information on Hawaii’s history, social norms, environment and everyday life.


Kukulu Ola: Living Hawaiian Culture program

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The Hawaii Community Foundation and the Hawaii Tourism Authority partnered to administer the Kukulu Ola: Living Hawaiian Culture program.


Hokulea, Polynesian Voyaging Society

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© 2014 Polynesian Voyaging Society and ʻŌiwi TV.  Photographer: Nāʻālehu Anthony

Supported by Pillars of Peace Hawaii, a program of Hawaii Community Foundation, the Polynesian Voyaging Society is continuing the legacy of ancient navigators.

Amid traditional Hawaiian chants and ceremonies at an ancient and sacred site on O‘ahu, His Holiness the Dalai Lama conducted a blessing of the earth and a consecration of Hokulea and her Malama Honua Worldwide Voyage. The Dalai Lama’s visit to Hawaii in 2012 was the inaugural event of the Pillars of Peace Hawaii program.