WHO WE ARE

Established in 2007 as a Honolulu-based 501(c)3 non-profit, Kupu empowers future generations to create a more sustainable, pono Hawai‘i. The organization provides hands-on training programs that educate and mentor youth to become stewards of our culture and environment, helping them develop a strong connection to the place in which we live. Since 2007, Kupu has risen to meet the increasing demands of the green economy by training over 3,000 youth in the areas of conservation, sustainability and environmental education. Kupu affirms the Hawaiian notion of “ma ka hana ka ʻike” or “in working one learns”. This approach has led to the creation of hundreds of internships and service-learning opportunities which blend vocational training and green leadership development to support over 150 partner sites across Hawaiʻi and the Pacific region.

In Hawaiian, the word kupu means to “to sprout, grow” providing the backbone of the non-profit’s efforts to revive the people, land and the sea across Hawaiʻi. Kupu’s work has been likened to the role of the Kupukupu Fern which is one of the first plants to cultivate the land after a lava flow. The fern not only serves as a foundational species for rebuilding a healthy, native ecosystem, but it also symbolizes a place where knowledge can grow. After learning from their experience, this next generation of green leaders enter the workforce with valuable skill sets that positively impact the communities in which they work.

MISSION

 

To empower youth to serve their communities through character-building, service-learning, and environmental stewardship opportunities that encourage pono (integrity) with Ke Akua (God), self, and others.

IMPACT

3252

Total Youth Served

Participants left unemployed if not for Kupu program0%
Participants employed and/or enrolled in further education after program participation0%
93%

Environmental Issues

Participants continue to pursue environmental issues

86%

Cultural Awareness

Participants increase their understanding and connection to Hawaiian culture

95%

Connection to Place

Participants increase appreciation for and connection to place

86%

Green Career

Participants actively pursuing or currently employed in a career in conservation, sustainability or natural resource management

94%

Continued Growth

Participants pursue higher education or found employment immediately after completion of Kupu program

76%

Community Service

Participants continue to serve their community

WHO WE SERVE

Highest level of education completed prior to program participation
No HS Diploma
4%
HS Diploma/GED
36%
Associate' Degree
5%
Bachelor's Degree
43%
Graduate Degree
12%
Highest level of education completed prior to program participation
Total household income prior to program participation
<$15,000
32.2%
$15,000 - $30,000
15.1%
$30,000 - $60,000
22%
$60,000 - $110,000
23.9%
>$110,000
6.8%
Total household income prior to program participation
Read Participant Stories

WHERE WE SERVE

MEET THE TEAM

Leadership Team

John Leong

Chief Executive Officer

Matthew Bauer

Chief Operating Officer

Janice Kim, CPA

Chief Financial Officer

Katrina Ogata

Director of Impact

Luella Costales

Director of Development

Nate Gyotoku

Director of Sustainability Initiatives

Gina Carroll

Director of Environmental Leadership Development Initiatives

Bettina Mok

Director of Team-Based Initiatives

Board of Directors

John Neff

President

President, Hawaii Region
Penhall Co.

Kaulana Park

Vice President

Senior Project Manager
Rider Levett Bucknall

Julianna Rapu Leong

Secretary

Co-Founder
Kupu

Bradley Totherow

Treasurer

Vice President
Cadinha & Co., LLC

Kim Gennaula

Member at Large

Executive Director of Advancement
ʻIolani School

David Matsuura

Member at Large

Owner
Orchid Isle Nursery

Kathleen Thurston

Member at Large

Owner & President
Thurston Pacific, Inc.

Tyler Tokioka

Member at Large

Vice President, External Affairs
Island Insurance Company

Member at Large

Michael Wilson

Member at Large

Supreme Court Justice
State of Hawaii

Awards & Accreditations

VIEW ALL

Financials

Fiscal year October 1, 2015 – September 30, 2016

$16,414,499

Total Economic Benefit in 2016

$73,151,775

Cumulative Economic Benefit Since 2007

REVENUE
  • Government Grants and Contracts

  • Private Grants

  • Program Service Fees

  • Donations and Contributions

EXPENSES
  • Program Services

  • Management and General

  • Fundraising and Development