The Clarence T.C. Ching Foundation donated $450,000 to Kupu for its Hawaii Youth Conservation Corps Community Program on Friday, right before the end of its annual youth summer program.
"This will impact and change the lives of the youth in Kupu's programs, especially as it relates to workforce development and job training," Tertia Freas, Clarence T.C. Ching Foundation's executive director, told Pacific Business News.
The Clarence T.C. Ching Foundation awards financial grants to people and organizations with the expectation that recipients will use the funds to contribute to creating a better society. Kupu’s leadership — as well as summer, community, culinary teams, and youth program participants — received the check at a ceremony on Friday.
The grant will fund Kupu's community program, which serves 16-24 year-olds who have either dropped out of high school or are unemployed.
The program, which started in 2008, uses conservation to offer hands-on work experience where students can work toward obtaining their GEDs, and secure employment prior to graduation.
"[The program] really develops the person as an individual, making them show up on time, develop work ethic and so on," Kaulana McCabe, program manager, said in an interview with PBN.
Serving about 20-30 students a year, the program has grown from an 8-week class to a three-phase, 25-week immersive experience. The program includes classes, opportunities to go out into the field, and an employment component that allows participants access to jobs.
The grant money will used for staff salaries, since it is a direct service program, and supplies such as meals, classroom supplies, and travel for participants.
Besides being funded from private foundations such as the Clarence T.C. Ching Foundation, the Hawaii Youth Conservation Corps Community Program is also funded by government, county and state grants, as well as corporate donations.
"We hope to greatly impact the lives of these youth, to offer more support to them, and develop them as individuals," McCabe said.