Kukui‘ula Grant opens doors to new way of giving

Gini Kapali, community relations manager for Kukui‘ula Development Company, had more than a check in her hand when she arrived at Kaua‘i High School, Wednesday afternoon.

In addition to the check for a $5,000 grant from the development firm, Kapali also had three application letters for assistance from organizations affiliated with Kaua‘i High School.

Kapali’s presentation of the $5,000 grant to the Kaua‘i High School – School Community Council represents a new way of trying to help the community, Kapali said.

“The $5,000 Kukui‘ula grant funds support the scholastic, academic, sports and extra-curricular school-related activities for the students at Kaua‘i High School,” said Richard Holtzman, President of Kukui‘ula DMB, in a letter that accompanied the grant.

The grant was one of four presented to each of the high schools on Kaua‘i, Kapali said. The schools receiving grants include Waimea High School who accepted their grant during the recent halftime homecoming celebration at Hanapepe Stadium, Kaua‘i High School, Kapa‘a High School and Island School.

Kapali explained that they are flooded with requests for help from community organizations, and it’s difficult to say “no.”

“We believe that a designated school-based entity has the ability and understanding of what is in the best interest of the students and how best to complement the overall school performance,” Holtzman said in the cover letter.

With the $5,000 grant to Kaua‘i High School, the SCC has agreed to be the “keeper of the funds” and distribute the grant to organizations who have to apply for assistance through the SCC.

“This is good because from where we sit, it’s hard to say ‘no’ to groups needing help,” Kapali said. “But with the Kaua‘i High School SCC in charge of allocating the funds, they know best the different causes and needs of the groups within their school.”

Additionally, Kapali explained that it gives the school some sustainability in grants because Kukui‘ula Development hopes to continue this program under the Kukui‘ula Grant label for the duration of its projects, the fiscal economy permitting.

Earlier, Waimea High School alumni who work for Kukui‘ula Development made the Kukui‘ula Grant presentation to Menehune athletic director Jon Kobayashi during the halftime celebration at its homecoming football game.

“Waimea decided that this initial allocation would all go to the athletic program,” Kapali said. “At Kapa‘a High School, the presentation will be made to the school’s Foundation.”

Kapali, who was joined by Darlene Yamase, the talent director for Kukui‘ula DMB and an alumnus of Kaua‘i High School, said the funds must be expended by the end of the school year, and the only restriction is the funds cannot be used for travel expenses, including airfare or rental car costs.

Additionally, in a letter to the SCC, Holtzman said a student of a Kukui‘ula DMB employee is exempted from this policy and may submit a request on behalf of his or her affiliation.

“Our policy has always been to take care of our employees, so the children of our employees can come to us for their request consideration,” Kapali said.

She explained that the three requests of assistance will be turned over to the SCC for its consideration, and when different entities from Kaua‘i High School submit requests to them, those will also be forwarded to the SCC.

Jonathan Chun, chairman of the SCC, thanked Kapali for the grant.

“Kukui‘ula DMB has supported the community a lot,” he said. “They should be applauded because this sets an example for other development companies out there.”

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