Strengthening Hawaii's Communities

Advancing Nonprofit Excellence
Hookele Award

The Hookele Award pays tribute to leaders from the nonprofit sector – the guiding forces in our community who strive to make Hawaii a better place. Just as a steersman, Hookele, is key to guiding a canoe successfully to its destination, this award recognizes the significant role that a nonprofit leader plays in improving the quality of life for Hawaii’s people.

The Hookele Award was made possible from 2002-2016 through a partnership between the Wallace Alexander Gerbode Foundation and the Hawaii Community Foundation (HCF). In 2017, HCF’s Board of Governors created the Kelvin Taketa Hookele Leadership Award Fund in honor of Kelvin’s visionary leadership at HCF over the past 19 years. The Fund ensures that the award will continue in perpetuity. Read the Star Advertiser story.

2017 Hookele Awards

Kelvin Taketa, Susan Maddox, Jan Harada, Randy Wong, Hiilei Kawelo, Chris van Bergeijk, Micah A. Kane

Congratulations to the 2018 Hookele Award recipients

Jan M. Harada
President & CEO, Helping Hands Hawaii

Jan’s long-term practice of martial arts, lion dancing, and Qigong is influential to her ability to successfully manage and lead as President & CEO of Helping Hands Hawaii. The health and human services nonprofit she oversees helps thousands of individuals and households across the state every year in their struggles with poverty, homelessness, mental illness, addiction, and language barriers. On top of her responsibilities at Helping Hands Hawaii, Jan also serves on the boards of the Hawaii Alliance of Nonprofit Organizations (HANO), the Henry & Colene Wong Foundation, the Susannah Wesley Community Center, the Hawaii Employers Council (HEC), the Island Insurance Company, Ltd. and on the Steering Committee for Honolulu’s 100 Resilient Cities Initiative.

Jan is a graduate of Punahou School, the University of Oregon, and the University of Oregon School of Law. Her community service orientation is evident in her participation with the Rotary Club of Honolulu, and as a member of numerous leadership programs including Pacific Century Fellows (2008), Weinberg Fellows (2008), HCF Pono Program (2012), and Omidyar Fellows Program (2013-2014).

Hiilei Kawelo
Executive Director, Paepae o Heeia

Hiilei grew up in Kailua but considers herself raised in Kahaluu through the teachings of her Kawelo-Ching ohana at the family compound and in the waters of Kawahaokamano (Kaneohe Bay).

A graduate of both Punahou School and UH Manoa (with a degree in Zoology), Hiilei was one of the seven original co-founders of Paepae o Heeia in 2001. The grassroots nonprofit was founded to restore the 800-year old, 88-acre Heeia Fishpond (owned by Kamehameha Schools) and has a mission to educate the community of Hawaii about traditional Hawaiian aquaculture and the ingenuity of our kupuna while keeping the practice of mahi ia (fish cultivation) alive and well. In 2007, Hiilei became the organization’s Executive Director.

Hiilei has served on the Mana Maoli board and was Fishing Representative and Chair of the Kaneohe Bay Regional Council. She continues to serve on the boards of Papahana Kuaola, Hui Ulu Mea Ai, Kua Aina Ulu Auamo (KUA), Sea Grant Advisory Board, DLNR’s Natural Area Reserves Commission, and Land Legacy Conservation Commission.

Susan Maddox
Executive Team Leader, Friends of the Future

Susan has been part of the Hawaii nonprofit sector for more than 40 years. Along the way, she has mentored many individuals in developing their leadership skills and transferred her knowledge of organizational development and operations to emerging leaders and community members.

Since joining the Friends of the Future in 1996 as Administrator, and then as Executive Team Leader, Susan’s efforts have helped to provide an organizational home and fiscal sponsorship to more than 70 community-based programs and initiatives. Friends of the Future was born out of the vision of Kenneth F. Brown to embrace the future and act today by involving the people of Hawaii in finding creative paths to an intentional future.

Susan’s past efforts include volunteering for the Hemophilia Foundation of Hawaii, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, and March of Dimes. She is a former staff member of the Girl Scout Council of Hawaii and Hawaii Kids at Work and has served on the boards of Five Mountains Hawaii, Neighborhood Place of Kona, Hawaii Island Rural Health Association, Na Kalai Waa, Rotary Club of North Hawaii and H.R.A., Inc. In addition to her role with the Friends of the Future, Susan currently volunteers with Holualoa Village Ohana.

Randy Wong
President, Hawaii Youth Symphony

Randy has served as Executive Director of the Hawaii Youth Symphony (HYS) since 2012 and was recently promoted to President. Under his leadership, the group’s strategic vision has grown to help all children realize their fullest potential through orchestral music. He launched collaborations with the Hawaii Symphony Orchestra and Hawaii Public Radio, introduced residencies by world-class musicians, and increased participation among students from neighbor islands and the Pacific Rim.

A musician himself, Randy is a bassist in the Hawaii Symphony Orchestra and an alumnus of HYS. He graduated from Harvard University and New England Conservatory and is a strong advocate for the essential role that music plays in empowering children with the joy and skills that ensue from learning and appreciating music. Randy serves as a volunteer on the board of the League of American Orchestras’ Youth Orchestra Division and the leadership team of Hawaii Public Radio’s Generation Listen.