Strengthening Hawaii's Communities

Strengthening Hawaii's Communities
Disaster Response

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Funds for specific disasters and violent events provide support where it is most needed.

September 11, 2001

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Marking a turning point for the country, HCF turned to the community to identify where help was most needed and then gather support for those struggling.

September 11, 2001 was a turning point for the entire country, and it had a transformative effect on how the Hawaii Community Foundation operated in the community. After 9/11, the economy in Hawaii was gravely affected, tourism dropped, and there were massive layoffs. Staff realized that HCF was in a position to help the community at large by asking what kinds of support were needed and responding to those needs.

The Hawaii Community Foundation began granting tuition support to preschools and high schools for families hit hard by the sudden recession, and also gave grants to help provide medication for people who could not afford it. The September 11th fund at HCF granted over $2million.

HCF also established the Community Needs Fund, which still exists to provide support where it is most needed—whether in response to a natural or man-made disaster, or to an economic downturn, in which families are struggling to find steady employment and provide for their most basic needs.


Response to Hurricane Iniki

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Donors stepped up to help the devastated island of Kauai and demonstrated continued caring in the aftermath of the disaster.

Hurricane Iniki devastated the island of Kauai when it hit on September 11, 1992. More than 14,000 homes were affected, with 1,421 destroyed and 5,152 with major damage. While wind was the cause of most of the damages, storm surge and waves obliterated many structures along Kauai’s southern shore.

The immediate response from its residents was remarkable: neighbors helped neighbors, and strangers gave to strangers whatever was needed—food, shelter, or a shoulder to lean on.

In 2001, 97% of Kauai households gave to charity. The results can be linked to the continued caring, involvement and connection in this community in the aftermath of a disaster—often referred to on Kauai as “the Iniki Effect.”

An example of continued caring can be seen in the construction of Kamalani Playground. Seven thousand volunteers, one of every eight people on the island, had a hand in the creation of the playground in Wailua’s Lydgate Park. One of the many sources of funding was the Annie Sinclair Knudsen Fund of the Hawaii Community Foundation.