Bank of Hawaii gave away $1 million yesterday, and the recipients were 20 local nonprofit organizations.
The state’s second-largest bank presented donations to the nonprofits as part of its inaugural "Making a Difference" employee-giving campaign, which took place in October. Bank of Hawaii employees and retirees raised more than $470,000 during the fund drive. The bank supplemented their efforts with an additional $530,000.
Donations for each beneficiary organization ranged from $5,000 to more than $280,000 based on employee designations.
"We’re a community bank, and Hawaii is more than 90 percent of everything that we do, and for 113 years we’ve had a very strong position," said Bank of Hawaii Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Peter Ho following an awards luncheon at the downtown Plaza Club. "With that comes responsibility to take care of our community, and that’s what we’ve attempted to do in the past, and frankly we’re going to continue to do that going forward."
The 20 selected nonprofits were Aloha United Way; Alzheimer’s Association, Aloha Chapter; American Red Cross, Hawaii State Chapter; Boy Scouts of America, Aloha Council; Catholic Charities Hawaii; Child & Family Service; Friendly Isle United Fund; Good Beginnings Alliance; Hawaii Foodbank Inc.; Hawaii Island United Way; Hawaii Meals on Wheels; Hawaii Meth Project; Hawaii Nature Center; Hawaiian Humane Society; Hospice Hawaii; Kauai United Way; Maui United Way; PBS Hawaii "Hiki No"; Salvation Army, Hawaiian & Pacific Islands Division; and Teach for America.
Jeff Case, president of the Hawaii Nature Center, said the $9,589 that his center received will be used to educate children about nature so they learn to respect it and take care of it as they grow older.
"That’s awesome for an organization of our size," said Case, the brother of AOL co-founder Steve Case and the son of Hawaii attorney and Star-Advertiser board member Dan Case. "We’re about a $1.2 million annual budget, so that’s a significant impact for us. That’s going to allow us to bring more kids primarily out of the public school system onto our facilities and allow for environmental education."
Ho told the gathering of several hundred that helping the nonprofits ultimately "in some way, shape or form comes back to help our bottom line."
But most important, he added, "good companies help their communities because simply it’s the right thing to do."
Ho said that of the $470,000 that came from employees, $40,000 was from Bank of Hawaii retirees and $60,000 from bake sales and fundraisers. The remaining $370,000 came from employee donations. The bank virtually doubled the employees’ contribution by chipping in $530,000, distributing the funds in the same proportion as had been designated by the employees.
"The organization is focused on building employee satisfaction, and so much of that is making employees feel like they’re part of something other than this organization that takes profits and makes profits every year," said Ho, who said the bank also has other nonprofit programs that go on throughout the year. "The work we do in the community benefits everyone in the community."