A legacy of giving

LIHUE — As the Hawaii Community Foundation celebrates 100 years of philanthropy, a key to its success is the generosity of the people of Kauai.

“Kauai is a very unique and special place within the HCF family,” said Micah Kane, who came on board in January as HCF’s new president and chief operations officer.

Kauai, he added, is a “leader in the HCF family that is really setting the tone for us.”

Not only do about 90 percent of Kauai households give goods and time to nonprofits, and about 75 percent give cash, it’s also a place with great potential to do even more — and set the pace for the rest of the state.

“It’s a small enough community and strong enough leadership that we think there’s opportunities, to grow and share with other places,” Kane said.

The theme for HCF’s centennial, “Philanthropy. It’s All About You,” points out that each person throughout their lifetime has benefited from someone’s generosity and they have the opportunity to pay it forward.

Building on this theme, HCF will implement numerous activities to both highlight and encourage philanthropy in Hawaii, including the launch of the Hawaii Legacy Giving Campaign, a partnership with nonprofit organizations to help perpetuate and increase philanthropy across the state.

The legacy program is one of the fundamentals to the centennial celebration.

“We’re not just trying to raise funds for HCF,” Kane said. “We’re trying to raise funds for all nonprofits and develop awareness to potential legacy givers that will raise all ships.

“If we can increase giving to everyone, then everyone benefits,” he said.

Over the years, HCF has conducted several studies on the giving landscape in Hawaii and results showed that there’s great potential in legacy giving, said Paul Keenen, vice president of development and donor relations at HCF.

“If people left just 10 percent to charitable purposes in their will or trust, it would equal to upwards of $6 billion of incremental funding to nonprofits,” he said. “Think about what that would mean for the future of Hawaii.”

The legacy giving program, Kane said, “reaches far beyond what we can reach.”

Darcie Yukimura, HCF senior philanthropic services officer on Kauai, said they want to raise awareness of the legacy giving program because that’s where people can have strong impact.

It doesn’t take long for someone to direct a small percentage of their retirement plan to their favorite charity through HCF.

“We would be in a really great place, more sustainable, to be able to take care of our community ourselves,” she said. “That’s really what we’re talking about this year with our centennial celebration.

“We all have something we could share and give. That’s really what I want to encourage,” Yukimura said.

HCF works with more than 1,000 donors, partners, and organizations that translates into $606 million in assets built over time. In 2015, more than $45 million was distributed to the community with over 1,350 college students receiving $4.5 million in scholarship funds.

With more than 750 charitable funds, HCF helps people to amplify the power of their giving.

The Kosasa family, who founded and built up the company ABC Stores, have a long history of giving in Hawaii. In addition to a family foundation, the Kosasas have established seven funds at HCF to benefit nonprofits and causes in Hawaii.

“I look to HCF for help in identifying the highest priorities for the community and in leveraging every dollar that goes out. They have helped me understand the real value of giving and measure the outcomes of my gifts,” said Paul Kosasa, president of ABC Stores.

Kane sees HCF’s work as a way to “help build bridges so we can start moving things forward.”

He came on board as president after serving seven years on HCF’s board. He was raised on Oahu, graduated from Kamehameha Schools, earned an undergraduate degree from Menlo College in California, and a graduate degree from the University of Hawaii.

His career included work in private businesses, government offices and nonprofits.

That diversity gives him a well-rounded perspective to help HCF play a role in helping Hawaii tackle some of its most challenging issues.

“I feel like I can be a servant to Kauai on Oahu,” he said. “I hope I can bring an experience that doesn’t exist within HCF today that would be of service to this island.”

HCF also seeking solutions to what it calls some “very high level initiatives and priorities.” Those include homelessness, fresh water sources, high school graduation rates, and affordable housing.

“You’re going to see HCF have more of a presence here,” Kane said.

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