Category Archives: Grants

Polling for Preference

A new Zogby poll on contracting preferences finds that when it comes to awarding government contracts, the majority favors the (rather common sense) approach of awarding contracts to the lowest qualified bidder.  Of course, those who have experience with the thorny thicket of government contracting rules know that this is far from the norm.  We’ve written in this space about the prevalence of preferences for minority businesses (specifically Native Hawaiian and Native Alaskan) and that’s just the beginning.

However, the poll found that overall, only 34% favored preferences for women or minority-owned businesses (though unsurprisingly, that number shifted according to certain demographic factors), and there was a decided bias for awarding state contracts to businesses within that state or federal contracts to businesses within the country.  On the whole, women were more likely to favor preferences than men and older respondents were more likely to support preferences in general.

In the latest Grassroot Institute newsletter, we had our own poll question on preferences–namely whether you think that the government grants listed on this site should continue.  If you haven’t had the chance to vote yet, be sure to visit the poll and do so–we’ll keep you updated on the results.

OHA Announces Another New Grants Program

We’ve been beating the drum on granting accountability with a fair (some might say nearly obsessive) degree of frequency.  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.  Not that I’m letting them off the hook.  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.  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.  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.  Whose assets?  How?  Where?  Under whose control? For what?  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:

  • ‘Ahahui Grant – makes up to $10,000 available for community events that reflect any of OHA’s 10 strategic results and charge no admission to Native Hawaiians. It requires matching funds that amount to at least 10 percent of the event’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 OHA’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.
  • Kaiāulu Grant – makes between $25,001 and $100,000 available for community-based projects that directly impact any of OHA’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).


OHA on Kauai

OHA is holding meetings on the outer islands, part of which includes discussion of some of their ongoing grant projects.  For more, check out the OHA release/newsletter blurb below:

The Board of Trustees for the Office of Hawaiian Affairs traveled to Kaua‘i for the first in a series of five community meetings with Native Hawaiians on the Neighbor Islands.

The community meeting – hosted by Trustee Donald B. Cataluna – drew a crowd of nearly 40 people to the King Kaumuali‘i School cafeteria.

Community member Alroy Enos, who is President of Ka Hale Pono, expressed appreciation for the $10,000 grant OHA awarded his organization to fund the first-ever parade in Anahola to mark Prince Kühiö Day.

Liberta Hussey-Albao, a 42-year Kaua‘i resident who has taken up genealogy as a hobby, offered her gratitude for the Papakilo Database, which she praised for assisting her efforts to trace family roots since OHA unveiled it in April.

Perhaps the most poignant moment came during a joint presentation by Rowena Contrades-Pangan and Anela Pä, the co-Directors of the Ho‘omana, which was created eight years ago with a $50,000 grant from OHA for such efforts as moving Native Hawaiians and others from welfare to work and providing inmates with a fighting chance when they get out of jail.

One of the program’s tough-to-employ clients fought back tears as she told the Trustees about recently completing a five-year prison sentence and receiving hope for her future from the program, which stepped in to provide her with job training and clothing at a time when family members and others gave up on her.

According to OHA Chairperson Colette Machado, Läna‘i will be the next stop for the Trustees, who will meet with Native Hawaiians on that island June 15-16 before heading to Moloka‘i in July, Maui in August, then the Big Island in September.

OHA Announces New Round of Grants

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.

(Those interested in learning more about the grant requirements, deadlines, etc. can  visit , call 594-1904 or email

The Stossel Effect

One of the complaints I hear from time to time about our catalog of Native Hawaiian grants is that I must be wrong about the amount of money and number of grants involved since Native Hawaiians still have so many troubles (economic or otherwise).  Well, yes and no.

Far be it from me to pass judgment on how much trouble anyone has, regardless of his or her ethnicity.  Times are tough out there for (mostly) everyone, including Native Hawaiians.  Though quite a few of them (the ones who benefited from the multi-million dollar federal contracting preferences leap to mind) who appear to be doing pretty well.  But all that is beside the point.  The question is how so much money can be put to use for so little (in the opinion of the complainer) result.  And to that, I can only say . . . what else do you expect from government-based efforts to help?  I bring up American Indian tribal affairs from time to time on this blog–not just because there can be some interesting parallels, but also because the drive for the Akaka Bill’s passage tells us that these examples are signs of things to come.  So I think it might be worthwhile to look at Barry Farber’s recent column about John Stossel’s recent piece of investigative journalism (I’ve left a bit of a historical cliffhanger, so you’ll have to go the full article to finish the story):

Now here comes John Stossel, fellow WND columnist, over the weekend of March 26 with one of the best pieces in television history: “Freeloaders,” a Fox News special delivering stomp-down proof that Indian tribes that are not recognized as tribes by the government and get no federal handouts are more successful than those on the federal dole. Stossel visited the Lumbee tribe of North Carolina, whose members get nothing from the government. They’re generally successful in business. Many live in luxury mansions. In contrast, the Indians embraced by the feds live in what look like tar-paper shacks.

In boxing, John Stossel’s interview with Elizabeth Homer, who used to be the government nanny of the recognized tribes, would have been canceled as a mismatch or halted on a TKO early in Round 1. She was pitifully unable to defend government stewardship over Native Americans as anything but the failure of socialism.

I’ll never quit thanking Stossel for giving me Part 4 of my standard answer to the question, “How can you flat-out say that capitalism is better for the masses than socialism?” Up to now I’ve had three examples: free and prosperous Finland, which began its national life simultaneously with its dysfunctional Communist Russian neighbor; West Berlin, delivering mortal embarrassment to Communist East Berlin every day of the latter’s existence; and Hong Kong, when it was British and free right next to Communist China. Now I add: the Lumbees, up against all the tribes spoon-fed by Washington.

So, pleasure-wise, what’s in this for me? Unless Stossel over-Googled, I’ll bet you he didn’t know something real nice about the Lumbees, whose independent prosperity he covered so splendidly. It’s something I’ve known for years.

In January 1958, the Ku Klux Klan in Robeson County, N.C., staged a rally to put the allegedly uppity Lumbee Indians back in their “proper” racial place. The Lumbees are totally integrated Americans, but they bought some feathers and face-paint and, just as the Klansmen were about to torch the giant cross, able-bodied male Lumbees costumed like the “Indians” of our childhood stormed into the Klan clearing from all directions, war-whooping and putting the white-clad racists to rout.

New Grants from OHA Announced

The Office of Hawaiian Affairs has just announced the award of $329,000 in “Community-Based Economic Development” grants to nine programs that will help make Native Hawaiians “economically successful and self-sufficient.”  You know, when you read enough grant-type literature, that kind of phrasing really starts to drive you crazy.  It seems like there are two kinds of “economic development” grants.  The first are trendy experimental things, like programs that believe that the way to reaching economic independence is by creating green businesses based on sustainable local agriculture and traditional customs.  Or something on that line.  Frankly, considering all the grants that seem to involve “sustainable agriculture,” “green something or other,” or “community kitchens,” one begins to wonder whether there are all that many Native Hawaiians who even want to work on these things. Goodness know I wouldn’t.  I would be very depressed if I was struggling to get back on my feet and my big charitable break was being sent to work on a sustainable taro farm.  I can’t help but feel that there’s not a lot of room for another taro millionaire.

The other kind of “economic development” project are what used to be considered simple charity back before grant writing became a profession.  Things like helping the recently incarcerated get back on their feet or helping people finish their education.  Now that they have to compete for funding with programs that present funding a poi factory as a major act of empowerment, the programs that simply help people get back on their feet have to recast themselves as “community-based economic development.”  The whole thing makes you long for the relative simplicity of legalese.   In any case, here are the latest batch of OHA grants:

Ali‘i Pauahi Hawaiian Civic Club – $50,000 to support the establishment of a tissue culture clean room laboratory at Ka Mahi‘ai ‘Ihi O Wailea on Hawai‘i Island to increase maile production.

WorkNet Inc. – $50,000 to provide training and job opportunities to 60 participants in WorkNet C.A.F.E. (WorkNet Culinary Arts for Entrepreneurs), a hands-on course in the Food Service and Maintenance industries for jobs and/or continuing education at the high school and community college levels. At least 36 of the participants will be Hawaiians who are emerging from correctional facilities or the Federal Detention Center.

Mana Maoli – $49,705 to support the CD component of the Puolo Mana Maoli Project. The CD production process will include 10 culture-based charter schools that have agreed to contribute one track each to this CD component. This project will work with youth on improving their skills in creating, performing and recording music as well as the business and marketing aspects of the project.

SCORE Hawai‘i – $40,000 to provide training and technical assistance (counseling, advising and mentoring as well as conducting workshops) to improve the success of Hawaiian entrepreneurs.

Kula no na Po‘e Hawai‘i – $39,520 to support the homestead yard service/maintenance training program that prepares youth to operate a yard-service business serving Papakölea, Kewalo and Kaläwahine Streamside.

Alternative Structures International (dba ‘Ohana Ola ‘O Kahumana) – $25,000 to support the teaching of aquaponics to families with persons with disabilities and homeless families with children. The teaching aims to help them become self-sufficient and sustainable, as well as promote a healthier lifestyle and provide training and technical assistance for additional income and business opportunity.

Women in Need – $25,000 to support the WIN Bridge to Success program, which provides transitional housing for women with children. The program will help Native Hawaiian participants to gain the skills and personal development tools needed to become self-sufficient and productive members of the community.

Family Promise of Hawai‘i – $25,000 to support its work to help at least 20 Native Hawaiian families with housing and employment services. Through the services of Family Promise of Hawai‘i, more than 80 percent of participants transitioned from homelessness to housing, usually in three to four months.

Corvette Center Ministries (dba Zion ‘Ïpuka) – $24,616 to improve the lives of Native Hawaiians by providing nutritious food, transitional housing, drug rehabilitation, and educational and vocational programs.

Stately Spending

If you know your way around this site, you know that there are two ways of perusing the many, many grants we’ve recorded.  Many.  Many, many, many.  It’s overwhelming actually.  And overwhelming is kind of the point.  No matter where you stand on the issue of Native Hawaiian sovereignty or the Akaka Bill, if you’ve checked out the grants here, you cannot fairly say that Native Hawaiians receive no support or help.  There may be any number of cultural or socio-economic issues at play in the question of how Native Hawaiians fare in society.  But if you’re looking for a reason to support the Akaka Bill, the claim that Native Hawaiians get no government resources is laughable in light of the evidence here.

Anyway, for those who just want an overview, there’s the quick list that can be viewed here.  And for those who want to dig a little deeper, there’s the wiki/database of grants that can be viewed here.  (And as a reminder: if you have any information or feedback to share on any grant, be sure to email us at so that we can add that information to the wiki.  Frequent or especially helpful researchers are given their own log-ins to update at will.)

Recently, we added some information to our quick grant list that was previously only available in the wiki–you can now see at a glance which grants come from federal agencies and which from state departments.  It’s no surprise to see that the federal portion of the grants on the list so far is slightly higher–a total of approximately $265,666,125 spent since fiscal year 2007.  As for approximate state spending, it comes to a more modest (but still considerable) $56,201,112 for the same period of time.  That’s more than the annual budget for a few different state departments.  For a state that struggles with budget and deficit problems, that’s almost real money.

Interior Ignorance, Caught on Tape

Want to know how big and unusual an endeavor a research project like the 4hawaiiansonly site is?  As of October 2010, the Federal Register listed 565 Native American tribes as Indian Entities Recognized and Eligible To Receive Services From the United States Bureau of Indian Affairs. Federal funds flows to those tribes, just as it does to Native Hawaiians, but as you can see in the video below (captured at the 2010 CERA Conference), even the Department of the Interior doesn’t know the scope of the money involved.  Watch carefully as George Skibine, Director of the Office of Indian Gaming within the Department of the Interior and Acting Assistant Secretary of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, confesses that the federal government doesn’t really follow the money, and clearly isn’t interested in doing so:

That’s “Entertainment”?

So, how often do you like to kick back and watch a little Pacific Network Internet television?  Yeah, me neither.

But would you make more of an effort if you knew that they were getting nearly a million dollars from OHA for the creation of a “Hawaiian-themed internet television station and web portal”?  It kinda makes you wonder what a cool million buys these days in the way of internet entertainment . . . aside from buckets of Farmville cash or enough “adult videos” to end up under permanent FBI surveillance, of course.

Curious as to what a Hawaiian internet TV station might look like, I checked out their website, and was confronted by . . . Puppies!  Adorable ones! In a shopping cart!  Also, canoeing wipe-outs and some footage of a party in Waikiki that didn’t seem interesting enough to click on.  In all honesty, it looked more like a creation of the Hawaii Tourism Authority than anything intended for Hawaii residents, much less Native Hawaiians.  And if this were a private enterprise, that would be no big deal.  I mean, I would question their business plan, but we live in a country where people are entitled to waste their own money in whatever way they wish.  And I would no more stop someone from starting a questionable business enterprise than from going to an Rob Schneider movie.  (Ok, that’s not entirely true.  I would probably at least try to urge them, out of basic human decency, to avoid the movie.)  But this is beside the point.  Because we’re not talking about private enterprise here.  We’re talking about money intended for the benefit of the Native Hawaiian people.  And we’re talking about a quasi-governmental agency that hopes to have a big hand in the proposed Native Hawaiian Reorganization proposed by the Akaka Bill.

The crazy thing is that we have seen plenty of media enterprises aimed at speaking primarily to one minority group succeed (BET and Telemundo come to mind, but there are others too).  But they succeed or fail in the marketplace by learning to speak to their audience and growing their audience in a profitable way.  Who is the Pacific Network speaking to?  The lack of advertising on the website suggests that profitability at this point is determined only by the success of their grant proposals.  If you were (or are) Native Hawaiian, would you consider this an effective way of reaching out or fostering the Native Hawaiian community?  Or is it just another OHA vanity grant that looks good on paper, but disappoints in reality?

Depend On It

The Heritage Foundation has released its 2010 Index of Dependence on Government, and you will be unsurprised to hear that American dependence on government programs continues to grow–especially in the health and welfare sectors.  Now, I will be the first to admit that, when confronted by a bevy of charts and words like “index” and “variables,” my eyes begin to glaze over and I think longingly of cool drinks and reality TV reruns.  But there is a reason to pay attention to what the number-crunching prognosticator-types are talking about.

For example–do you have (or are you working towards) a government pension?  Do you want it to still be there when you need it?  Because when budget crises reach a certain critical point (*cough* California *cough*), one of the first things that they look to cut are pensions and state salaries.

So what does this have to do with government spending on Hawaiians.  Because while a few hundred million is nothing to sneeze at, spending on Native Hawaiians seems minor in a year that included the massive stimulus bill.  But there’s more to the problem of creating a dependency on government programs than just the dollars and cents of it.  As the authors of the index explain:

To be clear: Every person will be dependent on others many times during his or her life, and there is nothing wrong with that. People spend most of their childhoods utterly dependent on their parents, and many people will rely on caregivers during their last years. Dependence on family, neighbors, fellow members of community groups, and—yes—local government is the normal, everyday stuff of life.

When people receive aid from someone in their social circle, they are given an opportunity to repay that aid someday in a similar way. Mutual aid is the glue that binds communities together; it gives strength to families and the greater civil society. Most Americans know instinctively that creating strong communities and families is a matter of caring for each other.

When the federal government provides aid, that aid also binds the dependent person to the aid giver. This aid, however, is anything but mutual. No one expects the dependent person one day to give similar aid to the federal government. And government aid certainly does not strengthen communities and families: If Americans have learned anything about the federal welfare system, it is how effectively it undermines family structure and hollows out communities.

Worse, dependence-creating programs quickly morph into political assets that policymakers all too readily embrace. Voters tend to support politicians and political parties that give them higher incomes or subsidies for the essentials of life; but no matter how well-meaning policymakers might have been when they created government aid programs like Medicare, unemployment insurance, and subsidized housing, these same programs quickly grow beyond their mission and turn into a mechanism that creates and sustains a never-ending cycle of dependence—and entitlement thinking.

Is there a clearer delineation of the problem inherent in depending on government to shore up the health of a community, be it racial, ethnic, or otherwise?  I’ve been worried for a long time about the slowly dissolving sense of ohana in the Islands, and I begin to wonder if this is part of the explanation for it.