Strengthening Hawaii's Communities

Strengthening Hawaii's Communities

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Technology plays an important role in increasing access, creating efficiencies, and improving the quality of life for people in island communities.

Hawaii STEM Learning Partnership

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Advisory Committee members of THINK Fund at HCF (pictured here from L-R) are Roberta Chu, Laurie Ainslie, Barry Taniguchi, Mary Correa, Doug Simons, Kaeo Duarte, Hiapo Perreira.

This partnership pools funding resources and knowledge to boost STEM learning for Hawaii Island students.

This partnership, dedicated to scholarships and grants to further STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education, was established in 2015 beginning with cornerstone funding from The Hawaii Island New Knowledge (THINK) Fund by the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) international collaboration. It provides scholarships to students majoring in STEM-related fields and grants to further the teaching and study of STEM on Hawaii Island.

STEM education is a particularly important focus for students in Hawaii, especially given the tradition of innovation and exploration that has long been associated with the Islands. The first Polynesians who populated Hawaii were at the forefront of science and technology with their design of sailing canoes and navigation by the stars.

Programs that have received funding thus far range from professional development in STEM for teachers through multi-school partnerships, to aina-based programs for youth that integrate science and mathematics, to summer internships in STEM fields.

After receiving a large number of quality proposals for the THINK Fund, HCF felt it was time to invite other funders to contribute and the STEM Learning Partnership was founded. Six additional funding partners are now contributing to the $500,000 grant total.


State Technology Transformation

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HCF formed a partnership with the State of Hawaii to improve the delivery of programs and services to Hawaii’s residents through improved business practices and technology.

Compared to other states, the State of Hawaii’s technology systems are lagging by decades. While progress has been made, systems lack interoperability, reliability, security, privacy, and maintainability—preventing the state from solving current challenges and leveraging future opportunities.

In 2011, with the support of the Omidyar Ohana Fund, HCF formed a partnership with the State of Hawaii to transform how government does business with and for Hawaii’s citizens. It started with a $3 million seed grant to fund a position for the state’s first Chief Information Officer along with staff for the Office of Information Management and Technology (OIMT). With OIMT leading the way, a 1400-page “Business and Information Technology/Information Resource Management Transformation Plan” was created to guide the implementation of a twelve-year effort.

HCF's early involvement in this initiative was motivated by the recognition that supporting OIMT was ultimately about achieving social and economic equity by providing equal access to services and benefits by every citizen on every island. It also would involve supporting state workers with up-to-date tools, enabling them to improve efficiencies and provide a higher level of service. As important, it would help to provide data for more informed decision making and a more transparent government.

The transformation goes beyond modernizing the state’s information technology and resource management systems, and looks at business processes and the way programs are delivered to be more streamlined, efficient and effective. Key areas include modernizing infrastructure, implementing new human resources and financial systems, and ensuring the best structure is in place for technology personnel to serve all the departments. As it was envisioned, every Hawaii resident would feel the benefits of transformation for generations to come.


Schools of the Future

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This initiative seeks to transform teaching and learning to equip Hawaii graduates with 21st century skills.

The impetus for Schools of the Future (SOTF) was based on the realization that future graduates need to have different skills to succeed in the 21st century. Among them, the ability to think critically, communicate well, be creative, and work collaboratively.

SOTF, an initiative of the Hawaii Community Foundation and the Hawaii Association of Independent Schools, distributed $5 million in grants between 2009 and 2014 to transform teaching and learning in a cohort of schools in Hawaii. The schools and teachers have emerged as role models for transforming instructional practices, capturing local and national attention for changes that have been made.

As part of the program, participating teachers and schools developed a number of tools that they have collected and shared. The learning continues for teachers and school administrators throughout Hawaii in an open Google Community. And the 7th Annual Schools of the Future Conference—open to public, private, parochial and charter school educators, as well as parents and students, business and community members—was an opportunity to share best practices with the 1,500 attendees.

One of the most valuable outcomes of this initiative is a better understanding of what it takes to affect school change. Given the rapid pace of change in modern day life, schools need to be among the most nimble, rather than the most entrenched, institutions in society. HCF is proud to have been a part of this successful initiative, and hopes to see the ripple effect of having invested in 21st century education.


Cecil “Guy” Marshall Fund

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Established with a broad purpose, this fund originally supported information technology in community health centers.

The Cecil “Guy” Marshall Fund is a component fund established at the Hawaii Community Foundation in 2006, in consideration of the charitable works of Guy Marshall. The fund initially focused on community health centers (CHC) as a key component of the healthcare safety net for many of Hawaii’s most vulnerable residents. The Marshall Fund also has supported health information technology within the CHCs because of its use in increasing operational efficiency, improving health outcomes for patients, and enhancing community-wide health quality improvements.

Once the fund’s advisors agreed that progress had been made in that arena, the fund’s broad purpose enabled the focus to turn to supporting schools that have established or are working to establish the International Baccalaureate World School program.