More than 300 scholarship recipients and scholarship donors gathered at Pōmaikai Ballrooms on August 10, for the annual Hawaii Community Foundation Scholarship Breakfast. Scholarship recipients who attended the event had the opportunity to thank their donors for supporting their college education.
The event began with an ukulele performance by scholarship recipient Summer Kealoha Derrickson, who was born and raised in Hawaii, and now attends Loyola University in Louisiana where she majors in Music Industry Studies and minors in Jazz Studies.
"My college education would not be possible without scholarships like the one I received this year,” Derrickson said. “Because of the scholarships I received, I have freedom from financial strain and worry, which gives me the ability to focus attention on my classwork and extra-curricular activities so that I may continue working toward my career goals. My summer job has been giving private voice and ukulele lessons to students in Louisiana, which allows me to continue to be an ambassador of Aloha; sharing my culture, food, music and heritage with those who want to learn. It's truly an honor to be at Loyola, representing Hawaii."
“We are so proud of the students here today who are among thousands that receive support from generous scholarship donors every year,” said Kathryn Nelson, Senior Vice President of Philanthropy at the Hawai‘i Community Foundation (HCF). “This event provides students with the opportunity to personally thank those who have made their educational goals more attainable.”
College tuition continues to rise, increasing financial strain on students and families. According to the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, U.S. median household income is almost the same as it was 20 years ago, which means that the rising cost of an education is becoming increasingly difficult for families to shoulder.
"My mom raised me on her own and worked hard to ensure I would receive the best education possible,” said Kainoa McCauley, a student at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. “The Dr. Hans and Clara Zimmerman Foundation Health Scholarship and the Imi Naauao Scholarship are reducing the loans I have taken out. My mom rests a little easier knowing that my medical school loan balance won’t be quite so high. After I finish schooling, I plan to come home to Hawaii, to work and pay forward the generosity I’ve received."
“In today’s economy, many students need financial assistance, so they can complete college,” said Tara Shibuya, senior scholarship officer. “And it is through the support of scholarship donors that many of Hawaii’s students can succeed and finish school,” she added. “Our hope is that these students will return to Hawaii as adult professionals to contribute to our communities throughout their lives. Perhaps one day they will be in a position to contribute to the success of other deserving students.”
HCF distributes over 280 types of scholarships on behalf of generous individuals, local organizations and corporate donors. Students may learn more by accessing the online application to be matched with multiple scholarship opportunities.
The foundation also provides the First Generation Community Scholarship for students who are the first in their families to attend college. This scholarship fund accepts gifts of all sizes through the HCF webpage HawaiiCommunityFoundation.org/Give
HCF is the third-largest private provider of scholarships in the state and distributed more than $7 million in scholarships in 2019. For more information, please visit HCF’s website here.