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A Pathway to Our Future

Ke Alahele Education Fund benefit.

July 30, 2009
Trisha Smith

This fundraising event will feature headline distinguished educators U.S. Sen. Daniel K. Inouye and his wife, Irene Hirano, and Maui County Mayor Charmaine Tavares. A lively reception begins at 5 p.m., giving attendees a chance to interact and view informational displays. An elegant dinner follows at 6:30 p.m.

The MEDB Ke Alahele Education Fund has helped stimulate the community’s investment in expanding career pathways for Maui County residents since 2006.

The ability to meet the needs of our workforce, especially in technology, is an essential aspect of the success MEDB’s economic goals. The fund was established as a “grant-making vehicle” to support students’ efforts to become innovators of the future.

Article Photos

(Left to right) Mayor Charmaine Tavares, U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye and his wife, Irene Hirano, will headline the 2009 MEDB Ke Alahele Education Fund benefit dinner on Friday evening, Aug. 21, at the Grand Wailea Resort.

MEDB, a not-for-profit corporation formed in 1982, seeks to provide leadership and a vision in our community for “the responsible design and development of a strong, sustainable and diversified economy.”

After Maui County’s critical dependence on agriculture and tourism raised concerns in the beginning of the 1980s, many government, community and business leaders united to explore new courses of action to boost and diversify our economy. Developing a high-tech sector seemed to be a promising and beneficial factor for the future of our islands and thus, MEDB was born.

Due to the generosity and continual backing of sponsors and stakeholders in the community, nearly $200,000 has been awarded via the MEDB Ke Alahele Education Fund to educators, students and groups involved with the STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) program. The education fund has benefited nearly 3,200 students to date, and in addition, the grant program has assisted in providing internships, apprenticeships, professional development and “train-the-trainer” opportunities.

“Today, students need a solid educational foundation in STEM areas, so they are prepared to both work and live in the 21st century,” said MEDB President Jeanne Skog.

No matter what a student is into, whether it is mechanics, Website development or studying the stars—Skog asserts that “the skills of STEM will be essential to their success.” The next generation of leaders must be engaged now.

“MEDB’s Ke Alahele Education Fund was created to unleash the creativity in our community that will strengthen these skills,” she said.

Grant recipients are selected by MEDB’s Education Committee and approved by the board of directors for how well they adhere to the purposes of the fund. Educators, students, schools and organizations that demonstrate STEM principles are encouraged to apply for grant eligibility.

Grant recipients have included such schools as Kilohana Elementary School, Baldwin High School, Häna High School and Kïhei Charter School, among many others. Funding went to help support a plethora of significant subjects and activities within photovoltaic/renewable energy system experiments, agricultural technology, sustainability projects, astronomy and more.

Tickets are available for $150, and sponsorships are also available. Sponsorships are offered at the following levels: Educator for $10,000, which includes a table for ten with preferred seating, recognition and attendance for four at the pre-reception with the honorary guests and one spot at the head table; Mentor for $5,000, which includes a table for 10 with preferred seating, and recognition and attendance for two at the pre-reception; and Tutor sponsorship levels run for $2,500, which includes a table for ten with preferred seating and recognition.

Portions of all donations are tax-deductible.

For reservations or more information, contact the Maui Economic Development Board Inc. at 875-2300 or visit



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