100 years

Hawai‘i Community Foundation
Marine 30x30 Initiative

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The Marine 30x30 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 so that the people of Hawai‘i can enjoy our coastal waters, support local livelihoods, and feed our families.


In 2016, the State launched the Sustainable Hawaiʻi Initiative, a multi-pronged effort to ensure a healthy environment and economy for Hawaiʻi’s people. As part of this effort, the Department of Land and Natural Resources committed to effectively manage Hawaiʻi’s nearshore waters with 30% established as marine management areas by 2030.

The term marine management area refers to a balanced and nuanced approach to managing a specific geographic area for its marine resources and its uses. MMA regulations will vary depending on the area, such as regulating the type of gear used or instituting size limits for species to protect against over-harvesting. Hawai‘i leads the nation as the first state working to achieve the international conservation goal of protecting 30 percent of the planet by 2030 on a regional level. Leading scientists agree that this level of protection can help prevent mass extinctions, preserve critical ecosystem services, and help avert the worst impacts of climate change.

The Initiative carries forward commitments made by public and private organizations that launched the Aloha+Challenge, a statewide commitment to achieve Hawaii’s sustainability goals and framework to implement the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, and by partners who issued the Promise to Pae‘āina, which is a collective commitment for measurable change in Hawai‘i’s ocean.

HCF’s Role

HCF’s role is to launch and administer a pooled field of interest fund to support robust implementation of Hawai‘i’s Marine 30x30 Initiative. This will include 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.

Marine 30x30 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 Marine 30x30 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 the Hawaii 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 Hawai’i, the Pacific Islands, the Caribbean, the mainland US 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 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 Hawaii 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 Hawai’i when visiting Maui as a child and playing in the nearshore waters, and has lived and worked on Maui, Hawaii Island, and O‘ahu.

Hi‘ilei Kawelo

Hi‘ilei Kawelo

Hi‘ilei Kawelo is the Executive Director of Paepae o He’eia, a non-profit organization that cares for He‘eia Fishpond, an 88-acre, 800-year old traditional Hawaiian fishpond. Hi’ilei is a fisherwoman who’s family stems from six generations of fishing in the waters of Kāne‘ohe Bay. Hi’ilei’s passion is Hawai’i, 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 that utilize them.

Justine Nihipali

Justine Nihipali

Justine Nihipali serves as the Program Manager for the Office of Planning, Coastal Zone Management Program. She has recently worked for the National Disaster Preparedness Training Center supporting course development for natural hazards. She enjoys chasing her two young children while they still think she is cool enough to hang with.

Dana Okano

Dana Okano

Dana Okano is a Program Director in the Community Grants and Initiatives division of the Hawai’i Community Foundation (HCF). Prior to joining HCF, she has worked as a land-based sources of pollution coordinator, coral reef management liaison, and coastal zone management specialist for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) as well as a coastal zone management planner for the County of Hawaii Planning Department. Dana has also served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Benin, West Africa for 2 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 ʻaina/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 Maka’ainana O Makana and participates in several community and Hawaii State organizations. He worked with the community of Ha’ena to create a Community-Based Subsistence Fishing Area to establish a community-based management of their 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 ten years, the Marine 30x30 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 Marine 30x30 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

$9.5 M in committed funds from 2020-2023

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

No funding opportunities at this time


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 Marine 30x30 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) who are interested in participating in the Marine 30x30 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 purpose of this grant is to assess the Makai Watch Program, a collaboration between communities and the State DLNR, and identify how it can be strengthened and/or expanded to effectively embody the values and approach on which the Program was founded, which at its core recognizes that the people who use a resource ultimately are responsible for its long-term health.

  • Conservation International - $49,989

Support for Operating the Marine 30x30 Initiative

  • Arizona State University's Hawai‘i Monitoring and Reporting Collaborative (HIMARC) - $681,908
    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.
  • 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 Hawaii county governments and communities related to the Marine 30x30 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 30x30 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 30x30 Initiative - $124,740
  • Contracts to support the evaluation of the Statewide Marine 30x30 Initiative - $101,058
  • Contracts for facilitation services related to the Marine 30x30 Initiative - $304,136
  • Contract for community support and training - $75,000