Kohala Unupaʻa is a program for Kohala youth and the dream of two of Kohala’s own mana wāhine (powerful women). In 2013, Johnelle Amoo Ching Kainoa (Project Director) and Hinano Solomon Lewis (Assistant Director) shared their vision for Kohala’s keiki with North Kohala Community Resource Center’s (NKCRC) staff, in hopes of making their dream a reality.

Their project involved immersing keiki (children) of Kohala in the Hawaiian culture, exposing them to oral histories as shared by kūpuna, Hawaiian language, and hands on learning experiences. Amoo and Hinano wanted youth to know about Kohala’s rich history. They wanted the participants to build pilina (relationship) to these areas, with the hope of instilling in them the desire to become stewards of the land and ocean.

The work that followed with NKCRC staff was determining how this project would serve the community. Who in North Kohala would benefit from such a project? How would the project bring the community together?

After a few meetings and workshops, the dream was realized when Amoo and Hinano submitted  and received their first fiscally sponsored grant with the help of NKCRC staff. The grant was received by NKCRC, and was then passed onto Kohala Unupaʻa. NKCRC then sent Kohala Unupaʻa an invoice for its fiscal sponsorship, which is 8% of the total amount awarded.

Currently, Kohala Unupaʻa has received 73% of all the grants they have written. This program has serviced over 900 of Kohala’s keiki.

“NKCRC had faith in two ambitious wahine who had a dream. We MAHALO the staff and the Board of Directors of NKCRC, who go over and beyond for project organizers of Kohala,” shared Amoo.  This project is just one example of how fiscal sponsorship by NKCRC helps community members fulfill dreams.