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New Donation Expands Heléne Hilyer Hale "Citizen Of The World" Scholarship Endowment

Barbara Hilyer of Portland, Ore., is building on her aunt Heléne H. Hale’s legacy of generosity by gifting real estate and creating a charitable remainder trust* to help grow the Heléne Hilyer Hale “Citizen of the World” Scholarship Endowment. This augments a 2013 scholarship bequest from Heléne Hale herself that benefits UH Hilo students pursuing teaching careers. Together, these bequests represent Hale’s legacy commitment of more than $400,000.

Heléne Hale’s wishes were to keep the resources on the Big Island to benefit its people. “As the executor of my aunt’s estate, I was honored to be able to work with the university to fulfill her desires,” said Hilyer. “My aunt was a public servant in Hawai‘i for more than 60 years. She always believed that education was the most basic foundation. Heléne wished to be remembered for her work to improve the quality of life for all people, protect our environment, preserve the Hawaiian heritage, and to bring peace to the world.” Through these scholarships, her dream of creating a world of aloha will live on.

Mrs. Hale served four terms on the Board of Supervisors, the last couple of years as chief executive officer of the County of Hawai‘i (the territorial equivalent of the mayor’s office). She was a member of the Hawai‘i County Council from 1980 to 1994, and a delegate to the 1978 Constitutional Convention. In 2000, at the age of 82, she broke the age barrier as the oldest person elected to the Hawai‘i State Legislature for the first time. Numerous achievements marked her political career, including her contributions to the development of astronomy atop Mauna Kea and the establishment of the Merrie Monarch Festival, along with many public infrastructure projects.

“Heléne Hale proved to be a role model for leaders and educators for generations to follow,” said UH Hilo College of Arts and Sciences Dean Randy Hirokawa. “She also challenged barriers of race, gender and age. She was civic-minded, courageous and outspoken, and Hawai‘i Island benefited from her leadership in many lasting ways,” he said.

Mrs. Hale earned a bachelor’s degree in education and a master’s in English from the University of Minnesota. Education was a founding principle on which she was raised by her parents, who were both of mixed African-American and Caucasian heritage.

Unable to find work in the U.S. in the 1940s because of their race, Mrs. Hale and her first husband, William Hale, moved to Hawai‘i in 1947 to raise their two children in what she called a “racially receptive culture.” In the 1980s, she married Richard Kiyota and continued to reside in Hilo until her death in 2013 at the age of 94.

“We found the university to be very helpful in planning how to best honor Heléne’s wishes.  They had a multitude of ideas and provided us with valuable information. We always felt supported but not pressured in our decision,” said Hilyer.

She added, “The charitable remainder trust made sense to my husband, John Daggett, and me in our own estate planning. We could receive interest off the trust for a fixed period and know that in the end, the remainder would go to the university without having to be provided for in our estate plan. Our donations have worked well for all concerned: Heléne’s legacy lives on in Hawai‘i. We are able to use Heléne’s assets to enjoy Hawai‘i during our lifetimes, reduce our taxes, and provide educational opportunities for future leaders.”

The Heléne Hilyer Hale “Citizen of the World” scholarship comes with the hope and expectation that the recipients will follow in her footsteps to make a difference in their communities, bring an international perspective, work for peace and justice, and spread the spirit of aloha.

*A charitable remainder trust is a philanthropic vehicle that generates a multitude of financial and tax benefits to a donor, such as substantial cash flow, tax savings and tax avoidance.

Charitable estate and income tax planning is an exciting way to fulfill philanthropic goals, because such gifts can support the University of Hawai‘i and while providing multiple financial and tax benefits to donors and their families. Please contact the Office of Estate and Gift Planning at 808-956-8034 or [email protected] to learn more.

If you are interested in learning how you can support students and programs at UH Hilo, please contact the UH Hilo Development Office at 808-933-1945.

You can also make a secure gift online.

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.

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