KILAUEA — Over the last few years, the Kaua‘i North Shore Community Foundation’s Savor fundraising event has raised significant support for the organization’s after-school, educational-enrichment programs as well as the planned Namahana Public Charter School.
Like many other local nonprofits, however, KNSCF was forced to cancel the annual evening of wine and chocolate because of the COVID pandemic. However, the cancellation did not stop two of the organization’s sponsors from continuing to support the cause.
To bring attention to KNSCF’s important educational initiatives, Rose Contreras and Mike Kaplan have agreed to once again create a matching-gift opportunity which they hope will encourage other donors to follow their lead: They will match all gifts on a one-to-one basis up to $50,000.
“We are so grateful to Rose and Mike for renewing their support during this critical time,” said Lorri Mull, KNSCF board member and chair of the group’s education committee.
“In pursuing a charter and building a free public charter middle and high school in Kilauea, we have set a huge goal for ourselves and our community. The Kaplans’ continuing annual support for the project and our overall educational support makes us hopeful that others will follow their lead to keep the momentum going for this long-held dream for the North Shore community,” said Mull.
Contreras and Kaplan, who divide their time between Kaua‘i and Southern California, have sponsored Savor annually for the past three years. Both have strong ties to education, with Kaplan serving as the former CEO of Lakeshore Learning, which his mother started as a single mom 64 years ago. Today, Lakeshore is one of the country’s largest retailers of educational materials.
Contreras was an elementary-school teacher and served as vice president of creative services at Lakeshore. She also serves as board chair for the Mar Vista Family Center in Los Angeles, which provides low-income families with quality early-childhood education, youth enrichment and educational tools to create positive change in their lives and their community.
“We are delighted to be able to help this most-important cause,” said Kaplan. “Having had careers in various aspects of education, we know how crucial it is to provide access to quality schools, and as parents ourselves, we recognize what a game-changer it will be to ensure that a family’s hours are spent with one another rather than in long hours of travel to and from school.”