Hoʻāhu: Building Together a Thriving Community

Kupu’s Green Jobs Training & Community Center


A Future in Harmony with Land and Sea

Kupu understands that our state cannot continue to deplete our natural resources if we want to ensure a sustainable future for the generations to come. Through the conservation of our precious resources, coupled with the creation of a new paradigm centered on sustainable ideas within our community, Hawaiʻi will serve as a true steward in the Pacific. Kupu’s Green Jobs Training & Community Center will create a “piko” or center in Oʻahu, supplying our islands with a first-of-its-kind facility devoted to cultivating leadership in the growing green jobs sector – one of the fastest growing sectors of Hawaiʻi’s economy.

Kupu’s goal is to unlock the potential in our youth, build community engagement, and foster positive economic development, all while helping our island state position itself as a global leader in sustainability and stewardship. Located in the developing Kakaʻako neighborhood, the Center will be a scalable model of opportunity and innovation, of economic and energy self-sufficiency; a place where the community can interact, learn, and ultimately be a demonstration of aloha to the world.


Kupu held a ceremonial groundbreaking on April 5, 2018 (left to right): Micah Kane, Chairman of the Board of Trustees at Kamehameha Schools; Ian MacNaughton, The MacNaughton Group CEO; John Neff, Kupu Board Chair; John Whalen, HCDA Chair , Barron Guss, ALTRES President & CEO; Corbett Kalama, The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation VP of Real Estate Investments and Community Affairs; John Leong, Kupu CEO and co-founder; Mayor Kirk Caldwell; First Lady Mrs. Dawn Ige, State of Hawai’i; Rich Wacker, Kupu Capital Campaign Chair; Race Randle, The Howard Hughes Corporation Senior VP of Development; Julianna Rapu-Leong, Kupu co-founder; Representative Ty Cullen

A Model of Sustainability

Since 2010, Kupu has occupied the large, open-air “Net Shed” building at the Kewalo Basin Harbor in Kakaʻako that was originally utilized by aku fisherman to hang their nets. Once an area known for crime, Kupu has utilized the facility over the last few years to restore the community through its award-winning programs and improvements in the structure, gardens, shower areas, and surrounding spaces. The Net Shed is now in dire need of renovations that will provide advanced and upgraded facilities for its youth and expand the capacity of its programs.

Improvements will better equip the Center to house Kupu’s distinguished Community Programs, which are devoted to positively reorienting the life trajectories of Oʻahu’s disadvantaged youth by engaging them in environmental stewardship and cultural learning, while helping them earn their diplomas and obtain job training and life skills essential for success.

The new Center will also be a venue with workshop and laboratory facilities, classrooms, conference rooms, and community space.  It will feature microenterprise opportunities, allowing the young adults in our programs to discover and experience first-hand the multitude of sustainable enterprises open to them for employment, while also offering the ability to earn income. Plans include a vocational kitchen that will highlight locally-sourced produce and promote educational experiences for the public on sustainable agriculture.

The Green Jobs Training & Community Center will also fulfill the crucial need for a community center where citizens can foster the incubation of new ideas and initiatives. The Center will be invaluable not only to the surrounding community, but to all of Oʻahu and the neighboring islands, as well as the many visitors that we welcome to our shores.  With a focus on civic engagement and environmental and cultural stewardship, the many educational displays and workshops to be hosted at the Center will empower all with the knowledge and passion to help shape a better Hawaiʻi.

The facility itself will be a model of sustainability, leading by example with net zero energy usage through photovoltaic energy panels and being at the forefront of design dedicated to shoreline and waterfront preservation. It will be a true resource for island communities and beyond, a place where we can to come together to model solutions on how to thrive while responsibly stewarding our natural resources and people for a better tomorrow.

Kupu’s initiative is consistent with the master plan for the waterfront being developed in conjunction with the Hawaiʻi Community Development Authority.

The Campaign

Kupu’s $6 million fundraising goal for the Green Jobs Training Center is becoming a reality thanks to the tremendous leadership and support of our Capital Campaign Cabinet.

Capital Campaign Cabinet


Campaign Chairman
Rich Wacker – American Savings Bank, President & CEO

Vice Chairs
Meredith Ching – Alexander & Baldwin, Senior VP of Government & Community Relations
Tim Johns – Parker Ranch Foundation Trust, Trustee
Alan Oshima – Hawaiian Electric Company, President & CEO

Don Anderson – YMCA of Honolulu (retired), Past President
Micah Kāne – Hawaii Community Foundation, CEO
Race Randle – The Howard Hughes Corporation, Senior VP of Development
Crystal Rose – Bays, Lung, Rose & Holma, Partner
Kathleen Thurston – Thurston Pacific, Inc. (retired), Owner & President
Tyler Tokioka – Island Insurance Companies, VP of External Affairs
Eric Yeaman – First Hawaiian Bank, President & COO

Emeritus Members 
Lance Wilhelm – The Wilhelm Group, LLC, President
Jack Wong
– Kamehameha Schools, CEO
Nick Vanderboom


Donors are an integral part of establishing this first-of-its-kind facility for our state, dedicated to helping Hawaiʻi’s young adults emerge as strong and capable leaders for Hawaiʻi’s greener future.

Appropriate recognition will be provided for contributions, including naming opportunities and recognition in media coverage of the campaign, in collateral materials, and on the Kupu website. Funds awarded will be spent judiciously. Kupu is classified as a “low-risk” non-profit because it has had no audit findings for three or more consecutive years.

If you are interested in learning more about contributing to this campaign, feel free to contact Minette Lew-McCabe, Kupu Development Manager, at (808) 735-1221 ext. 1055 or minette.lewmccabe@kupuhawaii.org.


Current Organizational Supporters


A.C. Kobayashi Family Foundation Inc.
Alaska Airlines
Alexander & Baldwin, Inc.
American Savings Bank
Atherton Family Foundation
Bank of Hawaii Foundation
Bill Mills Development Company, Inc.
Castle Medical Center
Cooke Foundation, Limited
Deloitte & Touche LLP
DR Fortress
Finance Factors
First Hawaiian Bank Foundation
Friends of Kewalos
Hawaiian Cement
Hawaiian Electric Company, Inc.
Hawaiian Electric Industries Charitable Foundation
Hawaiian Telcom
Honolulu Professionals Foundation
Irongate, LLC
Island Insurance Foundation
Kamehameha Schools
Leidos/Hawaiʻ i Energy
The MacNaughton Group Foundation
Masayuki & Harue Tokioka Foundation
Matson Foundation
McInerny Foundation
Servco Foundation
The Queen’s Medical Center
Ulupono Initiative LLC
Wailana Coffee House, LLC
Ward Village Foundation
Watanabe Ing LLP
WCIT Architecture, Inc.
Wilson Okamoto Corporation
Young Brothers