Nonprofit to Use Grant to Create Savings Accounts for Native Hawaiian Families


October 8, 2021

Non-profit organization serving indigenous Hawaiian children and their families through educational and social initiatives to launch new savings program in partnership with bank to help families build financial security with grant $ 2.5 million as part of the US federal bailout plan.

The Hawaiian Partners in Development Foundation was among nearly two dozen recipients of a total of $ 28.1 million in federal grants under the Native Hawaiian Education Program announced by the office of U.S. Senator Brian Schatz last month.

PIDF said in a press release Thursday that it would use its grant to create and manage up to 800 savings accounts for children enrolled in programs it oversees – such as Tutu and Me Preschool, Ka Paʻalana Homeless Family Education and Na Pono No Na Ohana Family Education in Waimanalo, in partnership with American Savings Bank. Families involved in preschool education programs run by the nonprofit INPEACE will also be eligible to enroll.

Together, these programs serve nearly 6,500 people.

Participants in the Na Pono No Na Ohana family education program in Waimanalo, run by Partners in Development Foundation, participate in a cultural activity. Courtesy of the Partners in Development Foundation

Families will receive an initial deposit for their accounts and have the option of receiving matching funds throughout a series of workshops. These will include sessions focusing on skills such as managing money, building savings, protecting income and assets, paying childcare or preschool fees, or savings for a child’s college education.

Matching funds will be based on the level of participation of families.

Shawn Kana’iaupuni, president and CEO of Partners in Development Foundation, said in an interview that the idea behind the initiative, known as the Keiki Assets Account or Ka’a, was to build something that would have “a more lasting impact ”for low-income people. Native Hawaiian families as they resisted the impacts of the pandemic.

The nonprofit was involved in distributing food and supplies to communities in need during the height of the Covid crisis, and also managed an isolation quarantine shelter for the indigenous Hawaiian and Islander community of Pacific, but wanted to leverage those federal dollars to last a long time into future generations.

This includes offering a toolkit to help families build wealth so they can better prepare for their children’s education. One of the existing barriers for many families, said Kana’iaupuni, is the lack of access to information on financial literacy basics. The nonprofit hopes to connect participants with the resources they need, including life coaches or mentors, who incorporate culturally appropriate concepts.

“What are the root causes of multigenerational poverty and longstanding educational divisions? Kana’iaupuni said. “Some families have suffered more of the pandemic than others, in terms of economic hardship, death rates, jobs and mobility and educational disparities and the ability to stay engaged online with their children. “

The group plans to offer seed deposits of $ 200 to $ 400 for up to 850 children and their guardians, with the goal of families accumulating $ 4,000 or more in total savings with full participation over three years. .

“It’s not something we’ve done before, infusing the income directly into the hands of the people,” Kana’iaupuni said. “The idea was how to be a support system for families by allowing them to receive this money in a way aligned with better academic results? “

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