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Philanthropy: Moloka‘i, Two Families, One Community

Presented by Hawai‘i Community Foundation: Legacy funds build future generations across Hawai‘i.


Hawaii Community Foundation

Photo: Courtesy of Hawai‘i Community Foundation 


When a little boy’s  first household chores include watering the marijuana plants, perhaps it’s difficult to dream big, to imagine life with a family and a career. When “family” means three bedrooms, 23 people, drug scores, alcohol addiction, and dysfunction, it’s hard to know there’s another way. No one understands that better than Brent Nakihei, a certified substance abuse counselor for Hale Hookupa at Moloka‘i Intermediate and High School. 


Brent grew up in that world, eventually landing in the Hālawa Correctional Facility on O‘ahu. It was there, amidst the ruins of drug addiction and dysfunction, that Brent committed to turn things around.


Back on Moloka‘i, a quiet couple lived a life dedicated to the Kalaupapa Settlement. Teruo and Adeline Ogawa spent 40 years working there, cultivating deep roots and a painful understanding of the challenges facing the island’s children. Neither had attended college, and they wanted better for Moloka‘i’s children. When it came time to put their affairs in order, Teruo and Adeline’s nephew turned to HCF, to honor their passion and to put their resources to work to educate Moloka‘i’s children.


Brent and the Ogawas never met, but their legacy lives on in Brent, one of the first Teruo & Adeline K. Ogawa Scholarship Fund recipients. When Brent began his recovery journey, he had to do the hard work. And when he did, his community bolstered his efforts. Brent received 16 scholarship awards from HCF, earning a bachelor’s in social science and a master’s in social work. Today, he lives on Moloka‘i with his wife and four daughters, working with kids facing the same challenges he once knew.


Two families who lived a few miles apart on a tiny island — one family in crisis, one family trying to make a difference in the community they loved. The Ogawas didn’t have a lot, but they saved what they could to create a legacy for future generations. Thanks to them, Brent Nakihei is able to continue their legacy. 


Did you know? Hawai‘i Community Foundation is committed to helping people, like the Ogawas, to create their legacy so they can make the lasting difference they’ve dreamed of for generations to come. 


Hawaii Community Foundation

Let HCF help create your legacy gift to the community: hawaiicommunityfoundation.org/investing/leavealegacy


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Honolulu Magazine March 2018
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