Five local nonprofits awarded $427,000 from Island Innovation Fund

August 8, 2012 2:02 pm 1 comment

Hawaii Community FoundationThe Hawaii Community Foundation announced today the final round of recipients for its Island Innovation Fund initiative. In total, five grant recipients were awarded $427,920 to support and develop their proposed innovations.

Recipients were selected from a group of eight finalists who presented creative concepts that will affect widespread positive change in the community and transform existing ways the nonprofit sector operates. Applicants from all three funding rounds were also invited to vote for a People’s Choice Award from among the eight finalists.

“While grantee selection for the Island Innovation Fund has wrapped up, the Hawaii Community Foundation is committed to opening doors for local nonprofits that are looking at new and innovative ways to address challenges and issues our islands face,” said Kelvin Taketa, president and CEO of Hawaii Community Foundation. “We are looking at what’s next for innovation in Hawaii and at how the Foundation can continue to support the great and innovative ideas generated by Hawaii’s nonprofits to solve complex community challenges.”

Each Island Innovation Fund recipient submitted an online application and was later invited to submit a full proposal of their innovation and give a presentation to a review panel.

Island Innovation Fund’s third round of recipients includes:

  • SpendSafe.ly – The Consuelo Foundation
    The Consuelo Foundation will expand the SpendSafe.ly text-based application to help individuals make informed financial decisions and meet their savings goals. SpendSafe.ly is a SMS-based money management application designed to assist families in real-time with smart financial decision-making.
  • Green Wheel Food Hub – Feed the Hunger Foundation (People’s Choice Award)
    The Green Wheel Food Hub, winner of the People’s Choice Award, will oversee Electronic Benefits Transaction (EBT) adoption in at least five farmers markets on O‘ahu, increasing the accessibility of fresh, local produce to families in need.
  • Hawaii Open Data
    Hawaii Open Data will work in partnership with city and state government to drive open access to data that feeds the creation of online and mobile apps, civic startups and citizen engagement.
  • HELE 2 Work – Institute for Human Services (IHS)
    IHS will increase its community service and employer partnerships to grow its workforce development program, HELE 2 Work, which focuses on overcoming homelessness thorough civic engagement, social networking, and job skills and work ethic traning. The expanded program targets to triple the number of shelter residents getting permanent employment.
  • WE – A Hui for Health
    WE – A Hui for Health will link information gathered at health screening events to healthcare providers in order to better coordinate preventative care for hard-to-reach populations. WE is a coalition dedicated to building and enhancing the community by addressing health care access in a timely and culturally competent way.

“The inspiring and tangible concepts that have emerged from the Island Innovation Fund have confirmed the importance of supporting this initiative and the endeavors of each of these organizations,” said Chris van Bergeijk, chief operating officer of Hawaii Community Foundation. “Through the progress and development of our earlier stage grants, we are already seeing the potential for effecting change in our community.”

In three rounds, Hawaii Community Foundation awarded a total of $1,369,710 to 15 organizations.

Highlights of past Island Innovation Fund recipients include:

  • Hawaii Conservation Portal – The Nature Conservancy
    The Nature Conservancy has used remote sensing technology to extensively map invasive and native plant populations on three islands – Kaua‘i, Maui and Hawaii. The Nature Conservancy is now working to expand use of the portal through recruiting and training community groups to both use and add to data.
  • Lei Fresh – Hawaii Agricultural Foundation
    On August 15, the Lei Fresh app will be available on iTunes for Hawaii consumers to find real-time information on the availability of local produce. Partnerships with local grocery stores and farmers markets will help consumers shop, and check in and post online to help raise awareness and funds for school gardens and other food-related projects.
  • “Show me the Power” – Blue Planet Foundation
    Blue Planet’s online tool to encourage energy efficient decisions and project household savings is expected to be up and running by the end of this year. Blue Planet Foundation is also working to launch public energy usage displays to raise public consciousness and spark behavior change to drive greater energy efficiency in Hawaii.

The Island Innovation Fund was established in 2010 as part of a $50 million commitment from Pam and Pierre Omidyar to the Hawaii Community Foundation. Pierre is a celebrated entrepreneur and innovator who spent many years in Silicon Valley, and is best known as the founder and chairman of eBay. The Omidyars are also highly regarded for their pioneering work in philanthropy globally, in addition to their contributions at home in Hawaii.

Details on the Island Innovation Fund are available at www.islandinnovation.org and the Hawaii Community Foundation website, www.hawaiicommunityfoundation.org.

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About the Hawaii Community Foundation

With 96 years of community service, the Hawaii Community Foundation is the leading philanthropic institution in the state. The Foundation is a steward of more than 600 funds, including more than 160 scholarship funds, created by donors who desire to transform lives and improve communities. In 2011, more than $44 million in grants and contracts were distributed statewide. The Foundation also serves as a resource on community issues and trends in the nonprofit sector.

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