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(Monday, Sept. 21, 2009)—Mayor Mufi Hannemann today announced the recipients of grants-in-aid for the fourth year of the City’s Leeward Coast Community Benefits Program.


“Meeting the needs of our Leeward Coast communities has always been, and will continue to be, a priority for me, and I am pleased to be able to continue the Leeward Coast Community Benefits program for a fourth year,” Hannemann said.


Mayor Hannemann initiated the Community Benefits Program in 2006 to offset the impact of the Waimanalo Gulch Sanitary Landfill on adjacent communities.


A total of $2 million has been allocated for the program annually. Of this amount, $1 million is dedicated for park improvements and another $1 million is set aside for grants-in-aid to private and/or community-based non-profit organizations for programs and services that address problems or concerns on the Leeward Coast. 


Eligible communities include: Kalaeloa, Makakilo, Kapolei, Honokai Hale/Nanakai Gardens, Ko Olina, Nanakuli, Maili, Waianae, Makaha and Keaau.


“If not for the Mayor Hannemann’s foresight in initiating the Leeward Coast Community Benefits Program, many worthy grassroots community-based agencies, that not only service our communities but whose employees live in and are a part of communities, would not be able to help their neighbors and friends in their time of need,” said John DeSoto, chairman of the Leeward Coast Community Benefits Advisory Committee.   


Denice Keliikoa, President of Valley of Rainbows/Making Dreams Come True, one of the awardees, said, “We are grateful to Mayor Hannemann and the City and County of Honolulu for the Leeward Coast Community Benefits program, as it has allowed our agency to motivate many of our students to pursue higher education. Nanakuli High School reported 60 graduating seniors went on to college after graduation, the highest rate in years! When these seniors were interviewed, several said that attending our Youth Leadership Conference changed their life by providing the resources and tools they needed to get into college with financial aid and information.”


Margarette Pegi Minicola Pan, Founder and Executive Director for The Dyslexia Tutoring Center of Hawaii, Inc., said, “Education is so important for all of us!  We all learn differently and are unique in our own special way.  Unfortunately, our society is quick to judge us on our weaknesses instead of praising us for our strengths.  This could “make or break” a child as they are growing up and affect their self-esteem through adulthood.


“We are therefore extremely grateful to Mayor Hannemann for the Leeward Coast Community Benefits Program as it has allowed us to raise awareness on dyslexia within the leeward coast and further our mission to educate and empower those who struggle with literacy.”


Susan J. Hughes, Executive Director, Habitat for Humanity, Leeward Oahu, said,

“The Leeward Coast Community Benefits Program has made a huge impact on the number of homes that Habitat for Humanity, Leeward Oahu has been able to build for the residents of the Leeward Coast.  In three years we have built 7 homes, housing multi-generational families, including one that had 10 children and four adults that were living on the beach.


“We build decent, affordable, homes for residents of the Leeward Coast that are 50% of median income and the Leeward Coast Community Benefits Program makes it possible. They have been a terrific partner in fighting homelessness on the Leeward Coast.


“We are the newest Habitat for Humanity affiliate (three years old) and being a recipient of the Leeward Coast Community Benefits Program has made it possible for us to build seven homes in three short years and house many multi-generational families.”


“Our mission is to build decent, affordable homes for the poor and needy on the Leeward Coast, eliminating homelessness. The City & County's Leeward Coast Community Benefits Program has been a terrific ally in making it possible.  We are most grateful.”


David Nakada, Executive Director, Boys and Girls Club of Hawaii, said, “Two years ago the Mayor’s Leeward Coast Community Benefits program allowed the Boys & Girls Club in Waianae an opportunity to step out of it’s normal means of providing services to young people by partnering with Searider Productions.  The partnership and a Leeward Coast Benefits Program grant allowed the Boys & Girls Club to renovate the clubhouse’s administrative office to become the new recording studio; a facility that is shared with the teens of the community and the Waianae High School’s Searider Production program.  Needless to say, the project is a tremendous hit amongst the teens and has served to be a model for Boys & Girls Club teen programs.


“Recently, the grants have provided a base of support to our new programs in Nanakuli.  The Community Benefits Grant has helped us open a new Harry & Jeanette Weinberg Teen Center on the Nanakuli High and Intermediate School campus.  There has also been program support to help us establish a now flourishing program for 7 to 12 year olds in their new NFL YET-Hawaii location, adjacent to the Nanaikapono Elementary School.


“We thank the committee and Mayor for allowing the Boys & Girls Club of Hawaii these opportunities to enhance the Club’s youth delinquency prevention services in the Leeward Coast.”


The 24 projects that were funded are listed below. Their services include the provision of housing, food, mental health services and other essential assistance to some of our neediest citizens on the Leeward Coast, including children, single parents, families experiencing homelessness, victims of domestic violence, at-risk youth, recovering substance abusers, displaced veterans and others.


Boys & Girls Club - Nanakuli: $60,000 for design & consulting costs related to the completion of the Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design certified facility at the NFL YET-Hawaii Project;


Corvette Center Ministries: $30,000 to maintain and expand multi-dimensional transitional program for homeless residents, including education, vocational training, drug rehab and to start an outreach center for homeless individuals;


Dyslexia Tutoring Center of Hawaii: $50,000 to provide services, workshops and tutoring for low-income students with dyslexia;


Easter Seals Hawaii: $50,000 to install an audio-visual computer for education & training for service providers, staff, community service providers;


Friends of Kapolei Hale: $60,000 to provide social, educational, cultural events and activities to instill community & family pride;


Habitat for Humanity – Leeward Oahu:  $35,000 to produce homes for very low income families;


Hawaii Family Services Inc.: $25,000 to improve the quality of life for children and youth being raised by grandparents and other relatives;


Hawaii Speed and Quickness: $45,000 to conduct Speed/Agility clinics for youth; and to provide Coach/Parent clinics;


Ho’olana: $50,000 for an academic enrichment program for academically challenged and economically disadvantaged students in grades 7-12;


Leeward Kai Canoe Club: $20,000 to implement the Na Opio program for youth to provide healthy, educational extension program alternatives and to implement community enrichment activities;


Makana O' ke Akua, Inc.: $55,000 to provide structured transitional homes for recovering substance abuse offenders to provide a foundation for positive life changes;


Nanakuli High & Intermediate School PTSA: $ 65,000 to support its School/Community Services, Pride and Beautification Program for students, families, and staff;


Oahu Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals: $25,000 to open a no-kill shelter in Kalaeloa to provide sanctuary for abused, neglected & homeless animals;


Special Olympics Hawaii: $40,000 for fitness care, sports training, competitions, and health screening for intellectually challenged residents;


United States Veterans Initiative: $25,000 for substance abuse and after-care case management services for homeless veterans;


Valley of Rainbows/Making Dream Come True: $55,000 to implement and coordinate an annual educational & leadership youth conference for over 550 students and to provide support for the annual Waianae Coast Sunset of the Beach;


Waianae Coast Coalition: $40,000 to implement a planning project to establish a Small Business Incubator;


Waianae Community Outreach: $35,000 to fund transportation services for its emergency shelter facility;


Waianae Community Outreach $25,000 to maintain and train essential staff;


Waianae Hawaiian Civic Club: $30,000 for a signage project for ahupua'a of Nanakuli, Lualualei, Waianae, and Makaha;


Waianae High School Alumni & Community Foundation: $40,000 to implement the Waianae Coast Digital Media Halau to allow youth ways to continue educational paths;


Waimanalo Construction Coalition: $50,000 to enroll participants in public or private training programs for commercial driver’s license and construction occupations;


Westside Athletic Foundation: $50,000 to assist sports organizations in setting and achieving goals for children and youth; and,


YWCA:  $30,000 to implement its Ways to Work loan program for low-income families on the Leeward Coast



Bill Brennan, Mayor’s Press Secretary, 768-6928

Ernie Martin, Deputy Director, Department of Community Services, 592-2289