AccesSurf Hawaii, Inc.
Cara Short, Executive Director
What do you see as Hawaii’s biggest challenge and how would you address it? The large number of nonprofits in Hawaii can be a challenge. Although there is the blessing of all the great work being done, it is difficult for individuals and companies to decide where and how to support so many great causes. AccesSurf fulfills a need that no other organization is doing on a monthly basis. As we do so, we are fortunate to stand out with our unique mission. We also strive to work with other organizations serving the same population and that align with us because we believe collaboration is the key for all nonprofits that are able to work with others.
What was the biggest challenge you faced this year and how did you overcome it? AccesSurf has grown tremendously over the past 13 years, and given the nature and impact of our programs, there is a lot of demand for us to continue with that growth. We have had to make some big steps as an organization with increasing our staff and programs, which of course increases our budget and funding needs. Our board of directors and leadership committees work very hard to lead us in a strategic way to ensure we are growing at a sustainable rate and making great relationships in the community to support us.
What steps will you be taking to grow the organization over the next year? In the coming year, we look to settle into our recent growth in 2019. With that said, we do have some program growth as we partner with Hawaii Adaptive Paddling Association and Honolulu Pearl Canoe Club for an adaptive outrigger canoe program.
Todd Boulanger, Executive Director
What do you see as Hawaii’s biggest challenge and how would you address it? One of Honolulu’s greatest challenges for residents is how to live affordably in Hawaii. Biki helps this for many by bringing down the monthly cost of in-town transportation to $15 per adult versus other more expensive mobility options.
What was the biggest challenge you faced this year and how did you overcome it? The biggest challenge for Bikeshare Hawaii, as with many nonprofits, is how to retain its existing donor base while attracting new sponsors. In 2019, we were successful in retaining sponsors and gained a new supporters by being added to Elemental Excelerator’s eighth cohort. For 2020, we are seeking a few more additional sponsors to round out our remaining donor-base. Most docked bikeshare systems in major U.S. cities are supported by either the local government or one major corporate sponsor; Biki, not having a single major system sponsor, has garnered support from a hui of over seven sponsors.
What steps will you be taking to grow the organization over the next year? Bikeshare Hawaii, along with our local government partners, will be exploring how best to activate the remaining federal funding earmarked for the expansion of bikeshare in Honolulu. This funding is critical to provide the equipment to meet the growth for Biki that we have experienced due to the success of the last expansion into Honolulu’s residential neighborhoods.
Julie Morikawa, President
What do you see as Hawaii’s biggest challenge and how would you address it? What moves us at ClimbHI is our keiki who will carry the torch of Hawaii’s future. We work together with the community to create programs and tools to help ensure Hawaii’s place as not only a global leader, but also as a model to lead the world to a better place.
What was the biggest challenge you faced this year and how did you overcome it? ClimbHI is honored to have more than 6,000 of Hawaii’s keiki participate in the LEI Program (Leadership, Exploration, Inspiration), the state’s largest workforce development program, now moving into its ninth year. With so many students taking advantage of the opportunities and seizing their dreams, ClimbHI is constantly motivated to do more. This year, with the support of the Hawaii Tourism Authority and Education Bridge, ClimbHI developed creative online solutions to major challenges students, teachers, and businesses expressed in regards to communication, recruiting, exploration, and career and education resources. ClimbHI launched two online portals: ClimbHI Opportunity Portal that includes internship, scholarship, job, and event opportunities for high school and college students across the state, and the ClimbHI Bridge that connects educators and businesses.
What steps will you be taking to grow the organization over the next year? ClimbHI is excited about the hard work ahead as it expands programs into new locations like Hilo and West Oahu; reaches even more students through in-school assemblies; and develops creative solutions for Career Technical Education Hawaii through strategic partnerships like the School of Hotel Administration at Cornell University.
Hawaii Nature Center
Todd Cullison, Executive Director
What do you see as Hawaii’s biggest challenge and how would you address it? Climate change is the biggest challenge in Hawaii that HNC tangentially addresses. HNC understands environmental issues and climate change need to be addressed via many disciplines and approaches: regulation, restoration, conservation and behavior changes. HNC’s approach is to address this local and global challenge with science-based environmental education to inspire the next generation of leaders to protect Hawaii’s environment. HNC believes the best way for the youth to understand and ultimately restore and protect Hawaii’s natural resources is to see, touch, smell, interact with and learn from nature.
What was the biggest challenge you faced this year and how did you overcome it? Our most significant challenge in 2019 was the transition from one executive director to the next. The interim period and subsequent transition was successful as a result of current staff taking on additional leadership roles and the board having an acute understanding of Hawaii Nature Center’s needs while recruiting the next executive director.
What steps will you be taking to grow the organization over the next year? For 2020, we are developing expanded programs to increase mission impact and connect more kids with nature via our school program and nature adventure camps. In 2018, nearly 17,000 keiki on Oahu and Maui were exposed to our curriculum utilizing the next-generation science standards receiving place-based outdoor education. Expansion includes more opportunities on Maui to travel to various locations for nature adventure camps during intersession and to connect with kids on Oahu outside of urban Honolulu.
Lanai Cat Sanctuary
Keoni Vaughn, Executive Director
What do you see as Hawaii’s biggest challenge and how would you address it? One of Hawaii’s biggest challenges is finding balance and harmony among all of its stakeholders. Cost of living, housing shortages, homeless crises, education system challenges, effectiveness of government, sustainability, the growing rub between activists who want things to remain the same and developers who view their ambitions as progress — at the core of all of these issues and strife is the desire for balance and harmony. There needs to be more effort put into relationships and respectful exploration about what we have in common rather than what makes us distinctive and different.
What was the biggest challenge you faced this year and how did you overcome it? Lanai Cat Sanctuary’s biggest challenge is growth, sustainability and fostering understanding for what we do. We save cats. We protect birds. We are a rescue-andanimal welfare nonprofit that is also a tourist attraction. American Bird Conservation loves us. So do cat lovers. Traditional shelters discount us. Plenty don’t know about us.
This year is our 10th anniversary, and we expanded with three centers and will be able to welcome more than 1,000 cats. We hope to have electricity by year’s end. We are growing by leaps and bounds – because we’re fiscally judicious and keeping our eye on the horizon.
What steps will you be taking to grow the organization over the next year? We want to establish an endowment. We’d like to share our model and expertise with other places and have been contacted by people from around the world as far away as Russia to help them create what we have established here. We continue to cultivate relationships with Animal Planet and National Geographic and would like to bring our work to television.
Lanai Community Health Center
Diana Shaw, President
What do you see as Hawaii’s biggest challenge and how would you address it? In this area, the biggest challenge is ensuring that our state has a sufficient number of health care providers and support staff. The way our health center is attempting to address this issue for our community is to grow our own. We are working with the local school to provide education regarding the type of careers that are available in health care, offering internships at our facility so the youth can get a taste of health care work, and also providing scholarships to students who are seeking a degree in a health-related field. In addition, our organization is creating relationships with degree programs for additional internship opportunities as individuals are working their way through their degree programs.
What was the biggest challenge you faced this year and how did you overcome it? Our biggest challenge this past year has been finding and hiring support staff for our openings. We addressed this issue with continued education within our community regarding health care as a career, as well as the establishment of an employee referral bonus program, increased employer-paid benefits, free training for individuals hired, and an annual assessment of our salary scale.
What steps will you be taking to grow the organization over the next year? We will continue to develop our health programs based upon patient and community needs, with input from our patient satisfaction survey, continuous needs assessment and our community board members’ input. In addition, growth will occur with expansion of our innovative telemedicine programs (where the off-island specialists co-manage patients with our on-island providers), and continued efforts with the local school and career development.
National Kidney Foundation of Hawaii
Jennifer Dotson, Vice President
What do you see as Hawaii’s biggest challenge and how would you address it? One in five people in Hawaii are affected by chronic kidney disease and most don’t even know they have it. This is a huge challenge because Native Hawaiians, Pacific Islanders and other minority communities are disproportionately affected. One in three people that we know are affected by kidney disease, more than 198,000 people are currently suffering from chronic kidney disease, and people in Hawaii are 30% more likely than the national average to get kidney disease. To address these difficult challenges, I am blessed to be part of an extremely innovative and energetic team that works together to teach residents of all different ages to be on the lookout for kidney disease symptoms, find access to treatment, and enroll in free health classes that are taught by our clinical staff and dedicated medical volunteers. As we search for bolder solutions, you will soon hear about a local kidney mobile clinic, which will be an exciting opportunity to provide lifesaving health screenings and gout education in our most vulnerable neighborhoods.
What was the biggest challenge you faced this year and how did you overcome it? The people of The National Kidney Foundation of Hawaii are very humble and like to remain behind the scenes. The biggest challenge is pushing the Kidney Foundation into the spotlight with special events such as the Great Gatsby Gala and community walks on Oahu and Maui that call attention to the prevention of kidney disease and the need for organ donation while encouraging exercise.
What steps will you be taking to grow the organization over the next year? To ensure that the National Kidney Foundation of Hawaii can continue providing lifesaving services, the development of a multipurpose complex, the Daniel K. Akaka Community Center, is being built in Kapolei to offer a wide range of clinical services. This community healing center would be a multifunctional education complex offering nutrition classes, exercise, meeting spaces, and a teaching kitchen.
The Pacific Gateway Center
Tin Myaing Thein, Executive Director
What do you see as Hawaii’s biggest challenge and how would you address it? Presently, the biggest challenge in the business world in Hawaii is the lack of skilled labor. At the same time, we have a lack of new industries that could sustain the state of Hawaii.
We do need to train those that are here to have the skills necessary for the future industries that are coming.
Right now, Hawaii relies heavily on tourism and the military, and we have to open it up to other industries and that requires leadership, foresight and planning.
What was the biggest challenge you faced this year and how did you overcome it? As a nonprofit, we always have cash-flow problems and we overcame it by cutting down on staff and expenditures. Of course, cutting staff is the hardest thing to do, but we had to do it, and we barely squeaked by this year. We ended the year being very close to breaking even.
What steps will you be taking to grow the organization over the next year? We are finalizing a strategic plan with our board of directors and will be looking at other avenues of income generation for the nonprofit sector.
Patsy T. Mink Center for Business and Leadership
Terri Funakoshi, Director
What do you see as Hawaii’s biggest challenge and how would you address it? One of our biggest challenges today is how to continue supporting the small business community. With Hawaii’s unemployment rate at less than 3%, it’s a challenge for many small businesses to find skilled employees. We hope this can be addressed with increased funding for workforce development training.
We also need to level the playing field for woman-owned small businesses. The No. 1 barrier for growth is access to capital. We’ll continue to voice these issues through advocacy and legislation.
What was the biggest challenge you faced this year and how did you overcome it? MCBL has taken the lead on #ShopSmallHawaii, a community small business initiative. This is a huge undertaking that has involved a “soup to nuts” approach and the help of many partners and our executive committee. SSH is pleased to be able to provide small business owners in Hawaii with four key benefits: free marketing support, free- to low-cost educational workshops, personal invitations to events in the community, and networking opportunities with industry professionals.
What steps will you be taking to grow the organization over the next year? In 2020, we’ll be focusing on our expansion to Windward Oahu through YWCA Kokokahi, an 11-acre waterfront property in Kaneohe. Currently, there’s no business and leadership center on that side of the island and we’re looking for corporate and private funders to help support our mission to equip women and girls to become successful entrepreneurs and leaders.
Peter Hirano, Senior Vice President of Human Resources
What do you see as Hawaii’s biggest challenge and how would you address it? We think one of Hawaii’s biggest challenges is addressing the cost of living issue in our Islands, especially Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed (ALICE) individuals. In total, 48% of Hawaii households are ALICE and below. We kicked off our centennial service campaign this year by partnering with Aloha United Way to start the Hawaii Social Impact Project, a three-year, statewide initiative to develop a capacity building training program addressing root causes of ALICE households. We hope that the Hawaii Social Impact Project will not only help ALICE families, but will also create a framework adaptable to other critical issues affecting our state.
What was the biggest challenge you faced this year and how did you overcome it? The work that our nonprofit organizations do in our community is so important. The biggest challenge we face every year is determining who will receive support from our foundation. This year, we scaled up our community grant program to give $20,000 to 19 nonprofits. Instead of intaking grant proposals, we asked the public to nominate nonprofits that impacted their lives. We received more than 5,000 nominations representing 570 nonprofits and, with the help of the Hawaii Community Foundation and our team members, we were able to select 19 deserving nonprofits from all major islands and all sizes.
Special Olympics Hawaii
Nancy Botello, CEO
What do you see as Hawaii’s biggest challenge and how would you address it? I am trying to work on the challenges where I believe that I can make a real difference – teaching people to treat all people, regardless of their abilities or circumstances, with respect and dignity. It starts in the schools with our Unified Champion Schools program. When we teach children that bullying is not acceptable, and to be kind to their fellow students, they will carry that lesson with them for a lifetime, making them more caring and empathetic adults.
What was the biggest challenge you faced this year and how did you overcome it? Outside of fundraising, improving the health and wellness for people with intellectual disabilities (ID) is a major challenge. Once an athlete is identified at one of our health screenings as having an urgent health care need, finding health care providers who are willing and able to work with this population can be challenging. Our goal is to incorporate health into all aspects of our Special Olympics programming, and to improve access to quality health care and preventative health education for people with ID through the engagement of partners, government, health care professionals and activation of our local Special Olympics networks.
What steps will you be taking to grow the organization over the next year? After more than 33 years with Special Olympics Hawaii, I plan to retire in late 2020. Dan Epstein, our COO, has been with Special Olympics Hawaii for more than 26 years and will be stepping into the CEO role. Dan has been focused on fundraising and developing key relationships to move our organization forward in the community. I have no doubt that SOHI will continue to grow and prosper under his leadership.
Trust for Public Land
Lea Hong, Executive Director
What do you see as Hawaii’s biggest challenge and how would you address it? From a conservation perspective, climate change is one of Hawaii’s biggest challenges. It will affect everything — weather, rainfall, water tables, fresh water supplies, floods, droughts, heat and rising sea levels. Tough decisions need to be made and NGOs, government, and individuals should make this one of their highest priorities to ensure a livable future for Hawaii’s people.
What was the biggest challenge you faced this year and how did you overcome it? Locally, we have a small staff of five. Earlier this year, a very valued member of our team moved on to lead a partner NGO – which was an excellent move for that person, but created a huge challenge. Luckily, we were able to hire an amazing person who, with comprehensive onboarding and training efforts, is growing quickly into the position.
What steps will you be taking to grow the organization over the next year? The Trust for Public Land’s mission is to create parks and conserve land for people, ensuring healthy, livable communities for generations to come. Our more than four decades of land protection work in Hawaii has been focused in two areas: Aloha Aina (conserving lands important to Native Hawaiian communities) and Sustainable Hawaii (food, forests and water). We have been privileged to work with more than 30 partners to protect 38 special places important to local communities, totaling about 46,000 acres throughout the state.
Recently, our Hawaii board has observed the national organization’s transformational community building through the creation, renovation, and activation of parks on the Mainland, and has urged us to bring that grass-roots, community driven approach to Hawaii.