100 years

Hawai‘i Community Foundation
Holomua Marine Initiative

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The Holomua Marine Initiative will support broad public participation and incorporate expert scientific and cultural guidance to achieve the goal of restoring abundance to Hawai‘i's nearshore waters through effective resource management, so that the people of Hawai‘i can enjoy our coastal waters, support local livelihoods, and feed our families for generations to come.


The Division of Aquatic Resources (DAR) launched Holomua Marine Initiative as a way to work with communities to effectively manage our nearshore marine resources around each main Hawaiian island so that our local resources are available and plentiful, today and for future generations. DAR is working with communities through a locally led planning process, starting with a pilot that was launched on Maui in late 2022.

Changes to the Initiative

In 2023, in response to feedback from some local fishers, DAR changed the targeted goal and the name of the initiative to the Holomua Marine Initiative. DAR has identified four pillars as a path to effective marine management.

The 4 Pillars of Holomua

DAR has outlined a path to effective management built on four pillars. We will work in partnership with communities to operationalize these pillars to achieve our shared nearshore management goals.

  • Place-Based Planning – Identify and develop management strategies for improved marine management in partnership with communities and stakeholders
  • Pono Practices – Encourage responsible behavior and practices guided by Hawaiian values and perspectives through education and outreach, rules, strengthened enforcement, and local partnerships
  • Monitoring – Measure and document current conditions, track progress following implementation and use data to identify areas where management actions need to be adapted
  • Restoration – Builds on existing strategies to prevent damage to fragile nearshore ecosystems from invasive species, disease, and environmental damage events and expands efforts to restore and enhance impacted areas

How did this begin? In 2016, the State launched the Sustainable Hawaiʻi Initiative, a multi-pronged effort to to increase the sustainability of our natural resources and Hawaiʻi’s self-sufficiency. As part of this effort, the DAR is committed to building a community engagement process to guide the Holomua Marine Initiative to improve the health and abundance of our nearshore waters for the benefit of the people of Hawaiʻi. Visit the Governor’s Sustainable Hawai‘i Initiative web page to learn more.

HCF’s Role

The Hawai‘i Community Foundation (HCF) manages philanthropic donations that supports the Holomua Marine Initiative and the communities engaged in nearshore marine management efforts. Our role is to administer a pooled field of interest fund to support robust implementation of the Initiative, which includes providing grants and contracts to increase and augment state capacity to carry out the initiative and build a marine managed areas (MMA) program, as well as provide support for a range of partners and communities throughout the state to design, monitor, and steward MMAs, advance responsible or pono fishing practices, and to protect and restore Hawai‘i’s unique nearshore marine environments.

Holomua Marine Initiative Fund Advisory Committee

The 10-member advisory committee was formed in July 2020 and is charged with identifying funding priorities that are best suited for philanthropic support to reach the goals of the Holomua Marine Initiative. The committee meets quarterly to review proposals and make recommendations to HCF’s Board of Governors on funding, and/or to review progress on existing awards and the status of identified priorities. The advisory committee consists of representatives from various sectors of the community that share kuleana for the nearshore marine environment in Hawai‘i including marine science, conservation, community organizations, fishers, and cultural experts.

Brian Neilson

Brian Neilson

Brian Neilson is the administrator of the Hawaiʻi Division of Aquatic Resources, Department of Land and Natural Resources. He has worked in the field of Fisheries and Natural Resources Management for over 25 years. He is passionate about building partnerships and co-management of marine resources.

Eric Co

Eric Co

Eric Co serves as the senior program officer for Ocean and Resiliency at the Harold K.L. Castle Foundation. He has 25 years of professional experience working in the fields of marine science and management in Hawaiʻi, the Pacific Islands, the Caribbean, the Mainland U.S. and Australia, through field restoration and monitoring, research, community organizing, program development, strategic planning and mentoring, organizational strengthening, fundraising, and grantmaking. Eric enjoys fishing, hunting, farming, surfing, and carpentry.

Phil Fernandez

Phil Fernandez

Phil Fernandez is a retired business executive with more than 30 years of management experience in corporate and start-up technology industries. Phil has worked in corporate finance, business and finance consulting, ocean resources management, and endangered species policy and management. Phil is a lifelong fisherman and a co-founder of the Hawaiʻi Fishermen’s Alliance for Conservation and Tradition (HFACT). Phil lives on the Big Island with his wife and their cat, Baby.

Jocelyn Garovoy Herbert

Jocelyn Garovoy Herbert

Jocelyn Garovoy Herbert serves as a program officer and attorney at Resources Legacy Fund (RLF). She has worked with sustainable commercial fisheries, land conservation, and kuleana land rights, and creating science-informed, stakeholder-designed network of marine protected areas. Jocelyn fell in love with Hawaiʻi when visiting Maui as a child and playing in the nearshore waters, and has lived and worked on Maui, Hawaiʻi Island, and O‘ahu.

Hi‘ilei Kawelo

Hi‘ilei Kawelo

Hi‘ilei Kawelo is the executive director of Paepae o Heʻeia, a nonprofit organization that cares for He‘eia Fishpond, an 88-acre, 800-year old traditional Hawaiian fishpond. Hiʻilei is a fisherwoman whose family stems from six generations of fishing in the waters of Kāne‘ohe Bay. Hiʻilei’s passion is Hawaiʻi, its land and sea, its people, practices, and traditions.

‘Ekolu Lindsey

‘Ekolu Lindsey

‘Ekolu Lindsey is the president of Maui Cultural Lands and co-founder of Polanui Hiu, focused on bringing back balance to marine resources and the spirit of the people who utilize them.

Dana Okano

Dana Okano

Dana Okano is a program director in the Community Grants and Initiatives division of the Hawaiʻi Community Foundation (HCF). Prior to joining HCF, she worked as a land-based sources of pollution coordinator, a coral reef management liaison, and a coastal zone management specialist for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), as well as a coastal zone management planner for the County of Hawaiʻi Planning Department. Dana also served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Benin, West Africa for two years.

Noelani Puniwai

Noelani Puniwai

Dr. Noelani Puniwai is currently an associate professor at Kamakakūokalani Center for Hawaiian Studies at UH Mānoa, where her interests lie in working with communities, and across disciplines, to progress the health of our people and ʻāina/kai. Today, as a professional conservation scientist, Native Hawaiian community member, and science educator, Noelani wears many hats and tries to facilitate the communication of knowledge between scientists, local communities, and management agencies with a focus on seascapes and ocean health. Her research interests include coastal ecosystems, indigenous and ethical science, knowledge co-production for an abundant future, understanding and recognizing climate change, and cultural seascapes. Her family name means surrounded by—all about—water; making water her purifier, her connector, and her kuleana (responsibility) to conserve and protect from the tops of the mountain to the depths of the sea.

Presley Wann

Presley Wann

Presley Wann is currently the president of Hui Makaʻainana o Makana and participates in several community and Hawaiʻi state organizations. He worked with the community of Haʻena to create a community-based subsistence fishing area to establish community-based management of the environment and its resources. He enjoys taro farming, surfing, fishing, and spending time with his four grandchildren.


Priority Funding Targets

With a fundraising goal of $3 million per year for the next 10 years, the Holomua Marine Initiative will provide grants and contracts to strengthen the collective work of partners. The following are the funding priorities: 

  • Empowering Community Efforts – To support community groups and networks of cultural practitioners throughout the Hawaiian Islands to revive effective traditional stewardship practices.
  • Leveraging Private Investments for Public Funding - To support efforts that create and advance measures to increase public funding for long-term ocean conservation and management.
  • Building a Movement – Develop strategic messaging to effectively communicate the importance of marine resources to a full range of stakeholders and decision-makers.
  • Ensuring a Strong Foundation in Science - The Holomua Marine Initiative must incorporate leading scientific information to ensure that its MMAs will function as an ecological network, informed by traditional knowledge, and crafted with monitoring and enforcement in mind.
  • Setting the Stage for Good Governance – To support coordinated, clearly defined roles and responsibilities, planning milestones, and transparent communication to ensure greater efficiency and accountability among partners.

For more information email us at environment@hcf-hawaii.org

Funding Raised to Date

$14.35 M in committed funds from 2020-2024

Current Funders

  • Aditi Fund
  • Anonymous (2)
  • Dorrance Family Foundation
  • Harold K. L. Castle Foundation
  • Kamehameha Schools
  • Kōaniani Fund
  • Marisla Foundation
  • Oak Foundation
  • Oceans 5
  • Padmani Brown and David Luedtke Charitable Fund
  • The Tiffany & Co. Foundation
  • Vibrant Oceans Initiative, a program of Bloomberg Philanthropies
  • Weissman Family Foundation

Funding Opportunities

Holomua Marine Initiative
Laulima Grants

The Holomua Marine Initiative Laulima Grants is a funding opportunity designed to support projects and programs that positively impact progress towards reaching the goal of the Holomua Marine Initiative – effectively managed nearshore marine areas in Hawai’i, with strong community co-management partnerships. The Hawai’i Community Foundation is considering proposals for 12 to 24 months in duration. Organizations with an operating budget of less than $500,000 are eligible to apply for up to $50,000. HCF anticipates awarding up to 15 grants within this funding range. Organizations with an operating budget of $500,000 or more can also apply within this funding range or apply for up to $150,000; however, HCF anticipates awarding only 2-4 grants within this funding range.

Organizations must be a non-profit organization with a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status to be eligible to apply for this funding opportunity. Organizations who do not have 501(c)(3) status may collaborate with a fiscal sponsor to apply for this funding opportunity.

The priorities for Laulima grants will include the following focal areas for this funding opportunity.

  • Capacity: Projects/programs that strengthen community or organization capacity to deliver programs and results toward effective community co-management of nearshore marine areas. Examples could include (but are not limited to) strengthening technical capacity, leadership and organizational effectiveness, planning and evaluation, management, communications, advocacy, education, traditional knowledge, and cultural competency.
  • Coordination: Projects/programs that strengthen coordination and collaboration between diverse groups or agencies to support the achievement of Holomua Marine Initiative goals and objectives. Examples could include (but are not limited to) cross-sector collaboration, strengthened coordination between state, county, and community entities, and coordination between communities, resource managers and academia on biological and socioeconomic monitoring.
  • Data: Projects/programs that improve data collection, analysis, management, and application to resource management, decision-making, and community awareness and knowledge. Examples could include (but are not limited to) monitoring programs, evaluation of management effectiveness, uplifting and integrating local and traditional knowledge into monitoring and resource management, establishing baselines, development of systems to improve data management, development of intellectual property agreements, and data collection and reporting in collaboration with communities.
  • Engagement: Projects/programs that strengthen community engagement in effective management of nearshore marine areas. Examples could include (but are not limited to) education, awareness, and outreach to various stakeholder groups, communications, strategies that broaden inclusivity, and community events that highlight shared core values between nearshore marine resource management and community development aspirations.
  • Governance: Projects/programs that lead to the achievement of Holomua Marine Initiative policy goals, good governance, and effective management of nearshore marine areas. Examples could include (but are not limited to) development of policy and regulations, adoption of site designations and management regimes such as Community-based Subsistence Fishing Areas (CBSFAs), advocacy, strategic communications, and strategies targeted at ensuring community priorities for effective nearshore marine management are adequately reflected in all levels of decision-making, particularly within government decision-making.

Examples of activities that HCF will consider for funding include but are not limited to:

  1. Communications and social media campaigns, outreach activities to decision-makers, formal and informal education activities, and outreach to target communities.
  2. Training, workshops, learning exchanges, mentorships, and community events.
  3. Developing and implementing methods and protocols for use, protection, and perpetuation of community, traditional, and Indigenous knowledge.
  4. Leadership coaching and mentoring, strategic planning, and organizational development activities.
  5. Community-invited applied research.
  6. Biological, human behavioral, and socio-economic monitoring in collaboration with communities, state agencies and a broad range of partners.
  7. Management planning and implementation at site, region, island or statewide levels and evaluation of effectiveness of implementation of management plans.
  8. Community-designed and led surveillance and enforcement activities that lead to decrease in rules violations.
  9. Promotion and development of innovative entrepreneurial strategies that contribute to effective community co-management of nearshore marine resources
  10. Other activities that will result in moving towards achieving effectively managed nearshore marine areas in Hawai’i, with strong community co-management.

HCF will prioritize projects and programs from community-based organizations that strengthen community co-management of nearshore marine areas.

Projects centered on research must be community-invited applied research and applicable to effective community co-management of nearshore marine areas.

Proposals from government entities, including state and county, must be developed and submitted in partnership with community organizations to be considered for this funding opportunity.

Proposals from federal entities will not be considered for this funding opportunity.

Proposals will be evaluated against the following criteria:

  1. Organization’s capacity to deliver proposed project or program, and alignment of organization mission with proposed project or program.
  2. Urgency of problem(s)the proposed project or program aims to address and strength of opportunity for project or program to address it.
  3. Proven history or convincing likelihood of methods and activities proposed towards achieving effective community co-management towards restoring healthy nearshore marine ecosystems and abundant marine resources in Hawai’i.
  4. Partnerships, particularly with communities and community-based organizations, in place to support and contribute to the design and implementation of proposed project or program.
  5. Achievability and alignment of project or program’s expected results with Holomua Marine Initiative goals and objectives.
  6. Soundness of funding plan and organizational capacity for fiscal management of funds and resources for proposed project or program.

A virtual information session about this funding opportunity, the HCF Grants Portal, and procedures for creating an account in the HCF system and submitting a proposal will be conducted on June 25th at 1pm. Those who intend to participate should register using this link: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZIpduCvrzksH9J5WV1PBygBiMrH6-PkZa0D


To be considered for this funding opportunity, applications must be submitted no later than
4:00 p.m. HST, Friday, July 26, 2024

For more information see the below resources:


Community Capacity Building Cohort Grant Focus

The purpose of this funding opportunity is to provide grant support and a technical assistance training program to a cohort of community partners on Maui and Lānaʻi who are interested in working with DAR in the Holomua Marine Initiative. Grantees participating in this program will have use of and access to consultants, cultural practitioners and other experts to support effective marine management.


  • Kīpuka Olowalu in partnership with the Coral Reef Alliance - $100,000 over 2 years ($50,000 per year)
  • Kaʻehu - $100,000 over 2 years ($50,000 per year)
  • Ke Ao Hali'i - $100,000 over 2 years ($50,000 per year)
  • Kipahulu 'Ohana, Inc. - $100,000 over 2 years ($50,000 per year)
  • Maui Hui Mālama - $50,000 over 2 years ($25,000 per year)
  • Nā Mamo O Mū'olea - $100,000 over 2 years ($50,000 per year)

Community Monitoring

A key component of effectively managing Hawai‘i’s nearshore waters is having an established statewide framework that incorporates information and data from a range of sources. Community-based organizations (CBO) that are interested in participating in the Holomua Marine Initiative and in having their place-based monitoring data integrated into the statewide framework will need to have a clearly defined monitoring goal, strategy, and purpose, inclusive of coordination with DLNR’s Division of Aquatic Resources (DAR) on integration into the statewide framework. 

  • Conservation International - $200,000
  • Kua'aina Ulu 'Auamo (KUA) - $200,000
  • The Nature Conservancy - $200,000

Makai Watch

The Makai Watch Program is a collaboration between communities and the State DLNR, which at its core recognizes that the people who use a resource ultimately are responsible for its long-term health.

  • State of Hawai’i DLNR DOCARE Makai Watch Program – $296,545
    Funds will be used to expand Makai Watch with the recruitment, training, and mobilization of additional island-based coordinators, address recommendations from the Makai Watch Assessment, including updating the Makai Watch Strategy, strengthening public perception of the Makai Watch program, and building pilina among Makai Watch coordinators and community organizations.
  • Official Makai Watch Community Organizations
    Funds will be used to strengthen organizational capacity of Official Makai Watch Community Organizations and support the success and sustainability of the Makai Watch Program and the implementation of strategies that achieve program objectives and respond effectively to community and partners’ feedback regarding how Makai Watch can be strengthened and expanded to embody the values and approach on which the Program was founded.


  • Hanalei Watershed Hui – $50,000
  • He’eia National Estuarine Research Reserve – $18,421
  • Hui Aloha Kiholo – $50,000
  • Kipahulu Ohana – $50,000
  • Malama Pupukea-Waimea – $49,980
  • Manu Iwa O Malanai – $46,937
  • Conservation International - $49,989
    The purpose of this grant was to assess the Makai Watch Program and identify how it could be strengthened and/or expanded to effectively embody the values and approach on which the program was founded.

Support for Operating the Holomua Marine Initiative

  • Arizona State University's Hawai‘i Monitoring and Reporting Collaborative (HIMARC) - $1,331,908
    HIMARC is a collaboration among organizations that are involved in monitoring and management of Hawai‘i’s nearshore waters. Existing data collected by these programs is combined and serves as a backbone for data informed management decisions. HIMARC will serve as the primary resource for data housing, calibration, and analyses. Funding is being used to enhance data collection, analysis, and management support to communities in Hawai‘i that are working towards establishing marine management tools linked to the Holomua Marine Initiative.
  • Hawaii Green Growth thru Oahu Economic Development Council - $100,000
    Funding for Aloha+Challenge policy coordination, public outreach, network facilitation and Aloha+Dashboard metric updates with Hawaiʻi county governments and communities related to the Holomua Marine statewide initiative.
  • State of Hawai‘i Department of Land and Natural Resources Division of Aquatic Resources - $878,892
    Funds will be used to implement the Holomua Marine Initiative, including work to advance: (1) community-focused public process, (2) communications, (3) data monitoring and analyses, (4) legal and regulatory work, (5) expansion of the Makai Watch program, and (6) interim evaluation of DAR’s progress on the Initiative.


  • Contracts for Communications Support for the Holomua Marine Initiative - $124,740
  • Contracts to support the evaluation of the Statewide Holomua Marine Initiative - $101,058
  • Contracts for facilitation services related to the Holomua Marine Initiative - $304,136
  • Contract for community support and training - $75,000