Angels in the classrooms

HANALEI — Alex Bogusky said donating $10,000 to Aloha Angels was a no-brainer.

“Teachers don’t make a lot of money, and they still have to pay to decorate their classrooms,” he said. “I love anything to do with kids, and Aloha Angels seemed like a good idea.”

For the 2016-2017 school year, Bogusky adopted 18 teachers at Eleele Elementary School.

“We’ve been adopted by Kauai, and we felt that we needed to do something to return the favor,” Bogusky said. “We’re still in debt to Kauai.”

The former advertising executive lives in Colorado, but owns a house in Hanalei. His family tries to make it back to Kauai when his daughter is on breaks from school, he said.

Bogusky said he was inspired to donate to Aloha Angels after meeting Ric Cox, president of Aloha Angels.

“I tagged along with a friend to meet Ric,” Bogusky said. “I might have set a world record for him; within 15 minutes, I was sold.”

Bogusky left for Colorado the next day, but not before making a contribution.

“I was really fortunate when I came out of advertising, and I wanted to give back,” he said.

Aloha Angels is a nonprofit that raises funds to provide teachers with classroom supplies and funds for field trips.

Since it was launched in May 2015, Aloha Angels has raised $478,000 from 100 donors to support Kauai teachers and students, according to a release. A total of 113 teachers on the island have been adopted through the organization.

Twelve of the 13 public schools on the island have been helped by Aloha Angels. King Kaumualii Elementary School, located in Hanamaulu, is the only school not participating, Cox said.

Sheldon Kimber, who lives in Hanalei, also donated $10,000 to Aloha Angels. He is adopting 16 teachers at four charter schools on the island — Kanuikapono, Kawaikini, Kula Aupuni Niihau and Ke Kula Niihau.

“I’m a big believer in charter schools. When implemented responsibly, they provide an environment for new ideas and innovation that benefits all public schools,” Kimber said. “I’m a believer in that approach.”

Kimber, principal at Kokosing Capital, an investment firm, said he’s been involved with Aloha Angels for about a year. While he donated money last year, his contribution was at a lower level, he said.

“I saw a need for it,” he said. “My mom was a teacher, and I remember how much she used to spend on supplemental materials.”

Kimber said he supports Aloha Angels because donations go to the teachers.

“Giving money directly to teachers is the most effective way to make sure they get what they need,” he said.

Together, along with two other $10,000 donations — one from Jony Ive, who lives in Kilauea, and one from Hale Uluwehi Kauai Fund, Kimber and Bogusky helped raise $4o,000 for Aloha Angels, in time for the start of the new school year.

The donations added 54 teachers and 10 after-school clubs to the list of Kauai elementary schools that have been helped through Aloha Angels. The schools — Eleele Elementary School, Kekaha Elementary School, Kanuikapono, Kawaikini, Kula Aupuni Niihau and Ke Kula Niihau— were chosen because they have among the highest percentages of economically disadvantaged students on the island, the release said.

Kimber said he hopes Aloha Angels will kickstart a culture of giving on the North Shore.

“It’s about how can we create more programs like Aloha Angels and do something that makes a difference,” he said.

When Bogusky returns to Kauai, he hopes to visit Eleele Elementary School to meet the teachers he’s adopted.

“It’ll be fun for me to work on arts programs there because that’s my background,” he said.

Bogusky, who is a first-time donor, plans to continue his work with the Aloha Angels.

“I have a new job title now—it’s angel investor,” he said.


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