What We Fund
We invest in innovative organizations working to catalyze large-scale progress across the islands. We focus on impacts in our sector areas to improve the quality of life for Hawaii residents.
Since 2009, Ulupono Initiative has funded organizations and programs that touch the following sectors – renewable energy, clean transportation, local food production, waste management and fresh water supply. We fund both for-profit and non-profit entities. Our non-profit grants are given through the Ulupono donor-advised fund at the Hawaii Community Foundation.
To have the greatest impact on our investees and our mission, the Ulupono team considers the following criteria when evaluating both for-profit and non-profit projects for potential investments:
- Impact and Mission Alignment: We look for potential to catalyze meaningful changes in moving Hawaii toward sustainability through Ulupono’s four objectives – increasing local food production, renewable energy, clean transportation, and better management of freshwater and waste.
- Focused on Hawaii: We seek to nurture innovative ideas based in Hawaii, recognizing that a healthy economy and a healthy environment go hand in hand.
- Best-in-Class: We strive to find proven projects that display a unique or innovative advantage over others in industry/class and, therefore, these projects are scalable and replicable; they can and should be expanded and reproduced.
- Strong Leadership and Management: We invest in teams with strong, proven track records – or data, models, or metrics to support the clearly defined vision – and a plan of action. The organizations must demonstrate operational efficiency, controls, transparent practices, and disciplined financial planning and adhere to a shared human rights policy.
- Long-Term Viability: We seek a realistic plan for long-term sustainability as a standalone entity. Our investments are meant to serve as a catalyst, so we want to see how an organization’s own capacity will allow it to carry out its mission in the future. We do not want to be the sole source of funding.
- Shared Values: We identify with organizations that exhibit shared core values of respect for others, high standards, learning and growth, creativity, courage, humility, and a pono approach.
- Collaboration Wanted: We encourage building alliances, collaborating and working together within our diverse community.
- Risk and Returns: We look for more fully developed projects that will bring a high rate of return commensurate with the risk involved
Investment and Grant Criteria
Investment – Our for-profit funding must yield returns to help fund future investments in mission-aligned projects in areas such as clean transportation choices, local food production and freshwater resources. We look for more fully developed projects that will bring a high rate of return commensurate with the risk involved. See our funding application form below.
Grant – Most of Ulupono Initiative's grants are made as recommendations through the donor-advised Ulupono Fund at the Hawaii Community Foundation.
Read our Grant Frequently Asked Questions.
Funding Application Form
At Ulupono Initiative, we aim to harness innovation and inspire catalytic change for Hawaii.
We welcome funding applications that meet the criteria above and we consider carefully the companies, organizations and projects that can best help achieve progress in our key sectors. Ultimately we invest in opportunities with high potential for creating large-scale social impact in an innovative and sustainable manner.