The University of Hawai‘i Foundation is excited to announce that philanthropists Lester and Marian Kaneta have pledged $1 million for a challenge grant to help raise funds to sustain the Lunalilo Scholars Program at Kapi‘olani Community College, and double the number of students enrolled in this successful program. The Lunalilo Scholars Program at Kapi‘olani Community College uniquely serves and supports financially at-risk students.
Kapi‘olani Community College Chancellor Leon Richards said, “As a key educational institution for Hawai‘i, Kapi‘olani CC is constantly striving to increase student success, not just in terms of achieving a degree. Students come from all walks of life, with many real challenges they must overcome. We seek creative ways to engage, excite and motivate students to reach for their dreams. That’s where our special donors Marian and Lester Kaneta come in. With their support, we launched a scholarship program unlike any other. Now with their Challenge Grant, we can support more students and their families in their efforts to improve their lives.”
The scholarship program was launched in 2012 when the school partnered with the Kanetas to start a scholarship program. Modeled after a similar pioneering community college program, the Lunalilo Scholars' success outcomes are impressive to both educators and donors alike.
“It has been incredible to watch the students gain confidence, taking pride in their ability to succeed on and off campus, and truly changing the trajectory of their lives! When they begin to feel hopeful, they begin to realize they can break the poverty cycle and give back to their community,” said Lester and Marian Kaneta. ”The success rates for these students are outstanding. We are excited to see what happens in the next five years as the program grows through expanded private support and accepts more students. We can’t do this alone and need partners!”