In the early years of the North Shore Lions Club annual golf tournament, it attracted about 60 players and raised a few thousand dollars.
It grew. A lot.
This year, in January, it attracted a sold-out field, 128 golfers, at the Princeville Makai Golf Course, and raised $40,000.
“This is unbelievable,” said Jerry Moore, tournament director.
While the tournament itself brought in $20,000 to go toward the club’s 2019 annual scholarship program, Steve and Janine Hunt matched that and donated another $20,000.
And that brought a lot of smiles to the Lions Club because that means $40,000 will be going to students and helping them achieve their goals.
“We really love to give the money to the kids,” Moore said.
Steve Hunt, whose family has lived in Kilauea about four decades, set up the Steve and Janine Hunt Family Foundation with a goal to help fund education and other community causes.
Last year, Hunt played in the North Shore Lions Club tourney, was on the winning foursome, and donated $5,000. This year, he and his son-in-law played in a foursome that finished second. But the Hunts were first in donations — by quite a margin.
“When we won, we said we would come back and match whatever was made,” he said in a phone interview with The Garden Island.
The tournament — Aloha Roofing Supply is the title sponsor — had one of its best years even before Steve and Janine Hunt’s gift.
Steve Hunt, who will be part of the application review team, urged any and all students to apply.
It doesn’t have to be students with the highest GPA, and they don’t even have to be planning to go to college, as it could be a vocational school.
“We’re regular folks who want to help kids on Kauai,” Hunt said.
Moore echoed that.
“They like to help kids in need do better,” he said.
During each of the last 30 years, the North Shore Lions Club has awarded scholarships to students of Kauai’s North Shore to support and encourage continuing education.
Last year, it awarded more than $19,000.
There are a few guidelines. Eligible students must attend full time an institution of higher learning, have a GPA of 2.0 or higher and must live on the North Shore between Moloaa and Haena.
Scholarships are awarded based on financial need, academic performance, leadership, community involvement and volunteerism.
The North Shore Lions Club was founded in 1982 to serve Kauai’s North Shore communities, and the International Lions focus on helping those with vision and hearing impairments.
Another of its fundraisers is an annual pancake breakfast around Easter. The Hunts have volunteered there, too.
All 41 Lions Club members volunteered with this year’s golf tournament.
“One of our most rewarding activities has been helping local students pay for college with our annual scholarship program,” said Lions Club member Kalani Walther.
The Hunts’ donation, he said, has “given us a great opportunity to really help even more kids.”
Mike Loo, a charter member of the North Shore Lions Club, said every dollar they earn goes back into the community.
“The Hunts entered the picture this year to further enhance the situation,” Loo said. “This is really a bonanza to receive this large amount of money. We’ve never had so much to share.”
Loo feels good about the growth of the tournament, the size of the scholarship fund and that more students will have the chance to pursue their dreams.
“We try to give everybody something,” he said. “You don’t have to be a straight-A student to get a scholarship.”
Applications must be postmarked by April 19 and can be obtained at high school counselor’s offices, www.kauainorthshorelions.org, the Island School financial aid office and Kauai Community College financial aid office.
Bill Buley, editor-in-chief, can be reached at 245-0457 or email@example.com.