Skip to main content
  • collage of students holding up signs to make the statement thank you for this amazing journy

Hawai‘i – Norma Nichols had a lifelong love of the arts, and nurtured this love in her students over a 20-year teaching career. She encouraged it in her neighbors and friends as a volunteer. She cultivated it in artists as the director of the Gallery on the Pali. Nichols earned a bachelor’s, a Master’s and a doctorate all at UH Mānoa, the school she remained connected to. Her cancer treatments strengthened this connection, as her oncologist was also a researcher at the UH Cancer Center. Before her death in July 2018, Nichols established endowments to fortify the arts and cancer research.

Dana Naone Hall, the poet, Hawaiian rights advocate and environmental activist who worked for decades to protect Hawaiian burial sites and culturally-important locations was honored by the Laurence H. Dorcy Hawaiian Foundation through the establishment of the Dana Naone Hall Endowed Chair in Hawaiian Studies, Literature and the Environment.

Dr. Roberta Weil and the LaFrance Foundation established the first two endowments to support students participating in the Wai‘ale‘ale project at Kaua‘i CC.

Recognizing the dire financial situation many students were facing with the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic, the UH Foundation in partnership with UH launched a fundraising campaign on March 23, 2020 to support students on all 10 UH campuses. By mid-April, generous donors had together donated $1 million to directly support students at the time when they needed help the most.

Donors and UH partners also partnered to address the disruptions in college planning experienced by Hawai‘i’s high school seniors. With funding from UH partners at The Clarence T.C. Ching Foundation, the Harold K.L. Castle Foundation, the Hawaii Resilience Fund of the Hawai‘i Community Foundation, Strada Education Network and the Stupski Foundation the UH Community Colleges were able to offer free, online Next Step: Career Exploration classes to Hawaiʻi’s class of 2020 public high school graduates. 

These are just a few of the stories of giving in FY 2020.

Thanks to 17,414 donors’ extraordinary generosity and strategic investments, the University of Hawai‘i Foundation raised $84.7 million in fiscal year 2020 (7/1/19 - 6/30/20). These funds directly benefit students, faculty, research and programs on all 10 University of Hawai‘i campuses.

“This is an exceptional fundraising result considering the volatile and challenging year we have all had,” said Rich Wacker, UH Foundation board chair. “We are so grateful that our community members, foundations and corporations are coming together and funding solutions to help us navigate these times and re-imagine our future.”

UH President David Lassner added, “The University of Hawaiʻi is absolutely critical to the success of our state and our people.” Lassner continued, “We are so grateful to our many donors who are helping us provide the high quality affordable higher education opportunities needed in our communities to help both recent graduates and the recently unemployed find their paths to success.”

Lassner concluded, “Our faculty are also the experts and critical thinkers who guide and lead the response to many of the challenges and opportunities Hawaiʻi faces — from climate change and sea level rise to community health, disaster response and economic recovery. We thank our thousands of alumni and friends who are helping us help Hawaiʻi in facing the present and setting a path forward so we can come back stronger than ever.”

UH Vice President of Advancement and UHF CEO Tim Dolan added, “We are so grateful for each of the 21,070 gifts. Donors have made a phenomenal difference in the lives of our students this year, funding COVID-19 related urgent needs, programs supporting high school students’ transition to college, and students from all backgrounds graduating with the degrees and certificates essential for our economic recovery.”

University of Hawaii Hilo Graduate
Kauai Community College Graduate

Donations were received from a variety of sources

Where the funds are going

Top 3 donor designated areas:

Student aid $24,451,721
Research $20,906,002
Chairs & Professorships $9,759,896

Donors choose where they want their gifts to go.

Where the donations came from
UH Faculty and Staff $7,480,697
Alumni $15,645,566
Other individuals $22,062,993
Foundations $19,742,588
Corporations $16,468,958

Questions? / More Information

If you would like to learn how you can support UH students and programs like this, please contact us at 808 376-7800 or send us a message.

FOR UH • FOR HAWAIʻI, The Campaign for the University of Hawaiʻi, is focused on raising $1 billion to support UH priorities on all 10 campuses across the state, including student success; research that matters; kuleana to Native Hawaiians and Hawaiʻi; sustainability, resilience and conservation; innovation and entrepreneurship; building Hawaiʻi’s workforce; and engaging our community. Learn more at

Questions? / More Information

If you would like to learn how you can support UH students and programs like this, please contact us at 808-956-8700 or send us a message.

# # #

The University of Hawai‘i Foundation, a nonprofit organization, raises private funds to support the University of Hawai‘i System. The mission of the University of Hawai‘i Foundation is to unite donors’ passions with the University of Hawai‘i’s aspirations by raising philanthropic support and managing private investments to benefit UH, the people of Hawai‘i and our future generations.