We’ve been beating the drum on granting accountability with a fair (some might say nearlyÂ obsessive) degree of frequency. Â As the main state grantor of Native Hawaiian programs, OHA naturally comes in for a large share of this criticism and analysis–and their reticence to share much about their evaluation process (not to mention the seemingly random nature of some of their grants) tends to exacerbate the problem. Â Not that I’m letting them off the hook. Â After all, when you stand in a position of trust as OHA does for Native Hawaiians, I think that you owe that group a great deal of accountability on how you choose to award your grants.
Still, in a sign that I’m going to optimistically label as “hopeful” (though in truth it will come down to actual results and actions, not intentions and PR), OHA has announced a new granting program called “Granting for Results” that will focus on OHA’s top goals and priorities, including improving education, lowering chronic disease rates, and raising earning power for Native Hawaiians. Â I’m less enthused about some of the other stated goals and focuses, which include:
creating stable housing; valuing history; participating in cultural activities; improving lifestyle choices; understanding the need for a viable land base; protecting natural resources; and transferring assets to the new Native Hawaiian governing entity.
(Key to my concern–some of these are so vague as to be meaningless ways to advance clear politicized agendas, be they environmental or social engineering. Â and “transferring assets to the new Native Hawaiian governing entity” should raise eyebrows among Native Hawaiians who are wondering where the Akaka Bill will leave them. Â Whose assets? Â How? Â Where? Â Under whose control? For what? Â And let’s recall that there are some pretty considerable assets in play when it comes to Native Hawaiian trusts.)
The new grants (which offer up to $100,000 to the non-profit organizations that win the awards) are broken into the following four categories:
- â€˜Ahahui Grant – makes up to $10,000 available for community events that reflect any of OHAâ€™s 10 strategic results and charge no admission to Native Hawaiians. It requires matching funds that amount to at least 10 percent of the eventâ€™s total cost. In addition, it makes between $10,002 and $25,000 available for community events that can secure matching funds that amount to at least 25 percent of their total cost to stage. Applications are accepted twice a year with deadlines of July 15, 2011 and Nov. 15, 2011.
- Kauhale Grant – makes up to $25,000 available for community-based projects that directly impact any of OHAâ€™s 10 strategic results. It requires matching funds that amount to at least 25 percent of the total cost of the project. Aug. 31, 2011 is the deadline to apply for this grant.
- Kamoku Grant – makes up to $50,000 available for projects focused on increasing the family-income levels of Native Hawaiians. It requires matching funds that amount to at least 25 percent of the total cost of the project. Aug. 31, 2011 is the deadline to apply for this grant.
- KaiÄulu Grant – makes between $25,001 and $100,000 available for community-based projects that directly impact any of OHAâ€™s 10 strategic results. It also requires matching funds that amount to at least 50 percent of the total cost of the project. Aug. 31, 2011 is the deadline to apply for this grant.
Let’s hope that we’ll see more openness from OHA on how these grants achieve their goals (and how effective they are in doing so).