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$1 million grant supports KCC’s Lunalilo Scholars

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Philanthropists Lester and Marian Kaneta recently pledged $1 million for a challenge grant to help raise funds to sustain the Lunalilo Scholars Program at Kapiolani Community College, which serves and supports financially at-risk students.

"As a key educational institution for Hawaii, Kapiolani 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." KCC Chancellor Leon Richards said in a press release. "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 $1 million challenge grant, we can support more students and their families in their efforts to improve their lives."

The Lunalilo scholarship program was launched in 2012.

"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," Lester and Marian Kaneta said. "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."

More than 50 students will be enrolled in the 2015-2016 school year.

In other grants and awards:

» Island Insurance Foundation announced the donation of $50,000 to PBS Hawaii for the renovation and construction of the public television station’s new facility.

"Island Insurance is proud to support PBS Hawaii and its tradition of providing quality educational programming," said Tyler Toki­oka, president of the Island Insurance Foundation, in a press release. "Their new facility will enable PBS Hawaii to enhance its content and showcase the stories that make Hawaii such a special place."

"Island Insurance is a company known for its deep and abiding commitment to Hawaii and what is best about us," said Robbie Alm, PBS Hawaii board chairman. "To have them support us is very, very special."

» Duke’s Waikiki recently celebrated its eighth annual Legacy of Aloha with a $10,000 donation to the Searider Productions Foundation, a local nonprofit organization that aims to educate and develop Hawaii’s youth to become storytellers, social advocates and entrepreneurs in the community. Funds were raised through the sale of a Duke’s Wai­kiki’s annual Legacy of Aloha T-shirt.

"We are so pleased with how this program has evolved over the years, thanks to the continued support from our customers," said General Manager Greg Ames. "It remains a core value of Duke’s Wai­kiki to help Hawaii’s community, and we are thrilled to be able to provide funding to a passionate group of educators, students and storytellers."

Searider Productions Foundation is the nonprofit arm of the Searider Productions media program at Wai­anae High School.

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