The Hawai’i People’s Fund is the first to celebrate 40 years!

This year Hawaii People’s Fund celebrates its 40th anniversary this year. Unlike many of its sister funds within the Funding Exchange, Hawaii People’s Fund was not founded by a few wealthy progressives. It was built by the grassroots and continues to rely on a broad base of activists to keep Hawaii People’s Fund going. While a smaller fund, Hawaii People’s Fund is arguably the oldest and has had enormous local impact. Its continuity gives its members great pride.

In Honolulu, in 1969, several young activists, founded Youth Action, a grassroots group offering seed grants and technical assistance to young people seeking and/or engaged in nonviolent social change. The local newspaper interviewed the first coordinator, John Witeck. “Our support is geared toward efforts constructively challenging and changing attitudes and institutions,” he told the Honolulu Advertiser, “…it’s important that the movement not only criticize what’s wrong, but also show how things might be done for a better life.” Youth Action started out with $2500; in two years it had granted out more than $16,000! This was the beginning of the People’s Fund that was officially incorporated in 1972.  Another FEX fund was one of the models for the development of the People’s Fund: The People’s Fund of Philadelphia began in 1971. It became what we now know as Bread and Roses Community Fund which traces its beginning to 1977.

To this day, the legacy of re-distributing collective support
to a diverse array of progressive action for social change
remains the core mission of Hawaii People’s Fund.

We offer our congratulations and support to the Hawai’i People’s Fund — and wish all of its staff, board and grantees continued successes!

Keep up on the work and progress of the Hawai’i People’s Fund by signing up for their newsletter here!

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