Article originally published on MauiNow.com
Alexander & Baldwin, a publicly traded real estate investment fund, donated $950,000 to support 230 nonprofit organizations across Hawaiʻi during its 2020 Kōkua Giving charitable program, according to the trust’s news release.
Nearly half of its donations were directed to housing and health & human service programs, many focused on addressing emergency food and housing needs created by COVID-19. In its 150th anniversary year, A&B said it was proud to navigate and respond to the changing needs of its communities, employees and long-standing non-profit partners, while working together to sustain healthy communities during this unprecedented year.
“This was a challenging year for all Hawai’i nonprofits, both those serving on the frontlines of COVID relief and those working to sustain the other safety nets in our communities,” said Meredith Ching, A&B executive vice president. “It was equally as challenging for funders as COVID restrictions made it difficult to remain connected with our communities and their needs.
“A&B’s charitable investments in 2020 reflect a year of intensified outreach and efforts to stay in lockstep and ahead of unanticipated and evolving needs. Partnerships are the cornerstone of our charitable giving and community programs, and we were happy to nurture long-standing relationships while building new ones, with first-time grants provided to nearly 50 local nonprofits, many ‘introduced’ to us through employees.”
In commemoration of A&B’s 150th anniversary in 2020, the company launched the “Kōkua150” program and invited employees to each identify a local nonprofit to receive a $150 grant funded by the company in the employee’s name. A&B employees directed a total of $25,500 to 86 Hawai’i nonprofits.
Nearly 40 percent of the “Kōkua150” designations were for COVID relief efforts such as food banks and safety net programs. The balance funded employees’ favored organizations and initiatives including public school PTAs, social justice programs, animal shelters and environmental causes across the islands.
“The Kōkua 150 program was a way to build and share A&B’s philanthropy with its employees as well as to follow their lead to the causes that mean the most to them,” Ching said.
Unprecedented challenges to the public education sector prompted an increased focus on the schools in A&B’s “neighborhoods”, where the company’s retail centers operate. A&B delivered $50,000 in unrestricted grants to 20 Hawai’i public schools across the state as the institutions incurred expenses related to new campus safety protocols and the shift to virtual learning due to COVID.
“We have long believed in supporting our neighbors, in good times and bad,” Ching said. “Our partner schools have exemplified a commitment to educating our keiki while providing critical socio-emotional learning tools during a time of financial and overall uncertainty.”