Have a program that will raise the well-being of the Native Hawaiian community? The Office of Hawaiian Affairs is looking for you. Non-profit granting trends being what they are, OHA has decided to create a new focus in their community granting program from a focus on addressing “individual needs” to programs that will, “lead to systematic change and maximize,” the impact on all Native Hawaiians. A look through the 4Hawaiians Only wiki/database demonstrates that the community grants tend to be the broadest in interpretation of OHA goals, so it’s hard to say what difference this new focus will make. I suppose we’ll have to see the results of the grant awards to evaluate the difference and what it could mean for Native Hawaiians. I can say that the goal of fostering economic self-sufficiency is one that is consistently stressed in OHA publications, and interpreted rather broadly to support anything from community kitchens and farms to poi production. The stress on education initiatives is also a constant, and can be seen in the many preschool and scholarship programs in the OHA fold. What remains to be seen is whether the shift from individual help to systematic change affects the kinds of programs that have traditionally received these grants. The grants can be up to 2 years and as much as $250,000 and are meant to focus on the following three “advocacy initiatives”:
- Raising family-income levels to help foster economic self sufficiency;
- Meeting or exceeding educational achievement standards for elementary, intermediate and high school students as well as increasing college graduation rates;
- Reducing health risks by decreasing the obesity rate among Native Hawaiians.