HCF, county launch Puna Strong grants program

Mayor Mitch Roth and the Hawaii Community Foundation recently announced the launch of the Puna Strong grants program, with funding from the county’s Kilauea disaster recovery funds and HCF’s Hawaii Island Volcano Recovery Fund.

The focus of Puna Strong will be on building community resilience for the Puna communities impacted by the 2018 eruption of Kilauea volcano with a $350,000 investment in nonprofit organizations and partnerships leading community-driven projects.

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“This partnership between Hawaii Community Foundation and Hawaii County represents a new way of working together across sectors for a common goal of building a resilient and vibrant community,” Roth said.

Puna Strong has a community-based disaster management approach that values the knowledge and capacities of residents and builds on local resources, including social capital.

“From the aftermath of the volcano eruption, we saw how the people of Hawaii Island rose up to strengthen, rebuild and heal the community,” said Diane Chadwick, HCF’s director of community philanthropy. “We are excited to work with Hawaii County to continue supporting this community so that they feel ready and empowered to take on future challenges.”

The four-month-long eruption destroyed hundreds of homes and severely impacted area farms and public and private infrastructure.

“Puna Strong is another thoughtful, strategic tool designed to help residents take action,” said County Council member Ashley Kierkiewicz who represents a portion of Puna. “I’m excited about the opportunity for community to pilot initiatives or scale up programs that make a positive difference, helping Puna on its journey to heal and bounce forward.”

Grants and technical support will be made to nonprofit organizations as well as partnerships that connect nonprofit organizations and community groups taking action on community resilience. HCF encourages organizations and individuals from Puna communities to reach out and explore potential projects or initiatives to be considered for funding.

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Contact Diane Chadwick at dchadwick@hcf-hawaii.org or 938-8533 to discuss potential projects or with any questions.

Letters of interest will also be accepted and can be submitted to Chadwick at dchadwick@hcf hawaii.org by Feb. 15. Include the name of the nonprofit organization and partners, contact information and a brief description of the project or program that addresses the community resilience focus of Puna Strong.

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