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Obama gave $2,000 to UH Foundation last year

By Star-Advertiser staff

LAST UPDATED: 6:13 p.m. HST, Apr 18, 2011


The University of Hawaii Foundation is among the charities President Barack Obama supported last year.

In his tax return released today, the president listed a $2,000 donation to the foundation, which set up an endowment fund to honor his mother, Stanley Ann Dunham.

Dunham received a bachelor's degree in math, and a master's and doctorate in anthropology from UH. She was also a scholarship student at the East West Center.

The Ann Dunham Soetoro Endowment supports the anthropology department at UH Manoa and fellowship administered by the East-West Center.

The fund uses the name the president’s mother adopted after marrying her second husband. She also used the name professionally during years of anthropology studies.

Obama was Dunham's first child, born in Hawaii to her and Barack Obama Sr., a student from Kenya. Dunham died in 1995.

The president’s sister, Maya Soetoro-Ng, told the Associated Press last year that her brother had made a modest contribution to the fund and was honored his mother was being recognized. 

"We kind of made a decision not to in any way connect this with politics or the presidency," Geoffrey White, the chairman of the UH Anthropology Department said last year. Obama "has given his own voice of support, but it's been a low-key, background voice of support," said White, who is also a co-chairman of the endowment steering committee.

Terance Bigalke, the East-West Center's director of education and co-chairman of the fund's steering committee, said the first awards from the fund were given out recently at a meeting of Asian scholars in Hawaii. 

He said $1,000 went to Livia Iskandar, an Indonesian doctorate student at the East West Center and UH Manoa who founded an NGO which provided psychological counseling after the 2004 Indonesian earthquake and tsunami. Another $1,000 went to Wendy Miles, an American Ph.D. student at UH Manoa doing research on ecological issues in Indonesia.

The Associated Press and Bloomberg News contributed to this story.


Ann Dunham Soetoro Endowment:

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