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Abundant Spirits

Meet nine Islanders who are making life in Hawaii better for those who most need the help.


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Big donors used to write big checks to charities from behind big mahogany desks. Not so the individuals profiled here. These local philanthropists are hands-on, passionate givers—who may or may not have their own resources but who are nonetheless resourceful—raising funds by leveraging their skills and their relationships.

Today’s philanthropists often take on smaller projects, where the impact of their contributions can be felt and success can be measured. Technology is making it easier for people of all ages and means to feel a connection to problems around the world and want to do something about them … often, starting in their own backyard.

Hawaii is a leader in charitable giving, and not just from those with the highest levels of income or personal wealth. When you consider that caring for one another and a sense of our interconnectedness are important underpinnings of the aloha spirit, you can view the generosity found in these Islands as part of a long cultural tradition.

Even at a time when strained finances are causing Islanders to be frugal, the spirit of giving is abundant.


Photo: Olivier Koning

Vince Hill

The Kapiolani Children's Miracle Network

After retiring from a career in the Army, Vince Hill started selling hot dogs outside the Hawaii Kai Costco in 1993, where he made loads of friends over the years. So many, that when he moved inside—first as a cashier and now as a marketing rep—Hill brought with him a community of customers.

No wonder he turned to them to help raise funds for an important cause—the Kapiolani Children’s Miracle Network. Vince implored everyone he encountered to help sick kids, and he was not aiming for the typical $1 donations, either. Once he shared the impact a $100 donation could make, lots of folks stepped up to help the 61-year-old grandfather personally raise $53,000 last year.

Never one to shy away from asking, Hill successfully appealed to Costco’s CEO during a warehouse visit and a senior vice president from the Los Angeles region sent in $1,000 after hearing Hill’s heartfelt request.

Starting with the 3-foot balloons he gives to $100-plus donors, Hill is a man who thinks big. In addition to organizing Costco’s “Miracle Month of May Concert Series,” he also created a “Miracle Tasting.” In 2010, Hill wants to raise $100,000 for the Children’s Miracle Network, and those who know him, know he will.

Photo: Olivier Koning

Dr. Keola Lloyd

Hawaii Food & Wine Paradise

Before launching the inaugural “Hawaii Food & Wine Paradise” in 2008, Keola Lloyd did his homework. First, he spent years organizing the Taste of Kapolei (now run by the Rotary Club of Kapolei). Second, he visited the Pebble Beach Food and Wine gala, which annually attracts 2,000 upscale epicureans. To his surprise, many of the attendees at the California event had no idea whether a portion of the proceeds would be donated to charity, or to which one.

But for Hilo-born Lloyd, giving back to the community was a key element in creating the national “Hawaii Food and Wine Paradise,” which raised $150,000 for local causes in the event’s first year. Lloyd reached beyond our shores to secure the sponsorship of American Express Publishing Corp. He then invited both home-grown and visiting chefs, winemakers and entertainers and lured an affluent crowd with ads in Travel + Leisure.

This year’s four-day extravaganza (held in May) included golf with favorite chefs, a multicourse banquet under the stars and presentations on wine pairings. The humble 48-year-old Lloyd managed to keep his eye on the smallest details, while never losing sight of the bigger picture: namely, scholarships for Leeward students and support for culinary programs in our state.


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