Strengthening Hawaii's Communities

Strengthening Hawaii's Communities

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Protecting and preserving our natural resources lays the foundation for Hawaii’s sustainable future.

Hawaii Fresh Water Initiative

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Recognizing that fresh water is key to economic and environmental sustainability in Hawaii, the Hawaii Community Foundation convened a council of experts that created a Blueprint for Action.

Hawai‘i is facing a potential fresh water crisis as its supply is threatened:

  • Overall rainfall has decreased 18% in Hawaii over the last 30 years
  • Half of Hawaii’s watershed forests have been destroyed
  • Hawaii’s population has doubled since statehood
  • Infrastructure is at a breaking point
  • Aquifers have fallen 20 feet since pumping began

As Hawaii’s supply of fresh water is diminishing, concern is rising:

  • Increased development means more runoff and less recharge
  • Higher temperatures mean more evaporation from soil and surface water
  • Intense drought forces ranchers to reduce their herds
  • Rising oceans increase saltwater encroachment

These realities, and consistent projections of a drier, hotter future, have serious consequences for the long-term availability of fresh water—and therefore the economic security of our state.

Recognizing that fresh water is key to the economic and environmental sustainability of Hawaii in the 21st century, a Fresh Water Council was convened by HCF with experts from across the state—farmers, landowners, scientists, conservationists and government officials. In its Blueprint for Action, the Council adopted one overarching goal: Create 100 million gallons a day of additional reliable fresh water supply by 2030.

To achieve this, the Council identified three aggressive targets that must be met by 2030:

40+ million gallons per day by 2030
Improve the efficiency of underground fresh water use

30+ million gallons per day by 2030
Improve storm water capture and protect more watershed areas

30+ million gallons per day by 2030
Double the amount of wastewater being reused in the Islands

Unlike many Blue Ribbon panels, members of the Council have agreed to continue working together to help implement these recommendations, which have broad, multi-party support.


Natural Resources Program

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The Hawaii Community Foundation and the Hawaii Tourism Authority partnered to administer the Natural Resources program because a healthy island environment is critical to the quality of life for our local community and a fundamental asset to our tourism economy.


Environmental Partnerships

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A network of environmental partnerships and land trusts has leveraged state and federal dollars for local conservation and community stewardship.

Hawaii Community Foundation has a long track record of commitment to the environment, and recognizes that preserving our natural resources is essential for maintaining the quality of life in Hawaii. From 1999-2004, the Hewlett and Packard Foundations created a partnership with HCF to build capacity across the environmental field in Hawaii. The resulting networks—including watershed partnerships and land trusts—now form the bedrock of Hawaii’s conservation community and have since leveraged millions of state and federal dollars for local conservation.

The establishment of the Natural Resource Program led to a renaissance of community stewardship and a sustained focus on near-shore issues that is carried on today by HCF and others.

Fresh Water Initiative
HCF’s Fresh Water Initiative supports innovative techniques and policies—identified by a diverse stakeholder group—that help increase the state’s long-term fresh water supply. In its Blueprint for Action, the Council adopted one overarching goal—create 100 millions gallons a day of additional reliable fresh water supply by 2030—and came up with a plan for accomplishing that target.

Hawaii Environmental Funders Group
The Environmental Funders Group (EFG) is a network of philanthropic individuals and institutions engaged in active, substantial grantmaking in the Hawaiian Islands. Convened and supported by HCF, the goal of EFG is to increase effectiveness, collaboration and support for environmental and sustainability efforts in Hawaii.

Community Restoration Partnership
An original partnership between the Hawaii Community Foundation, the Harold K.L. Castle Foundation, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Restoration Center provided grant support for coastal habitat restoration projects led by local communities. The partnership restored fishponds and wetlands in more than 30 locations throughout the island chain.


Hawaii Environmental Funders Group

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Convened by HCF, this network fosters collaboration and leverages investments for environmental and sustainability efforts in Hawaii.

The Hawaii Community Foundation is a part of the Hawaii Environmental Funders Group (EFG), a network of Hawaii-based and Hawaii-interested funders that meets regularly to share knowledge, provide connections to dynamic local organizations, and leverage investments in the Islands. Convened and organized by HCF, the EFG’s purpose is to foster collaboration between members and to steadily increase the amount of philanthropic support for environmental and sustainability efforts in Hawaii. Members have diverse ties to the Islands but share a common passion for finding solutions. Since its establishment in 2009, EFG’s members collective giving has more than doubled from $4.9 million to $10.8 million.