About Us

Growing Our Own Teachers on Kaua`i is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization incorporated in the State of Hawai`i.

P.O. Box 223262
Princeville, HI 96722
(808) 826-6988

Origin of Growing Our Own Teachers on Kauai
In 2006, Kauai educator Dr. Kani Blackwell made a presentation at a monthly meeting of the Rotary Club of Hanalei Bay.  Dr. Blackwell, who was at that time a full-time faculty
member of the College of Education at the University of Hawaii, Manoa and Elementary
Cohort Coordinator for Teacher Education on Kauai, spoke of the shortage of qualified
teachers on Kauai, and she appealed to the Rotary Club for financial aid for teacher
candidates.  Inspired by Dr. Blackwell, the Hanalei Bay Rotarians established the
“Growing Our Own Teachers” grant initiative with the goal of raising $50,000 by the end
of 2007.  An aggressive campaign yielded sizable donations from the Kapa’a, Kalepa
Sunrise and Po’ipu Beach Rotary Clubs and many large and small donations from
individuals.  Among the largest individual donations in that first year were those from
Kauai residents and education advocates Cal Stanny and actor Pierce Brosnan.   A total of $54,000 was raised in just over four months, and a new program to support education on Kauai was born.
In 2007, Growing Our Own Teachers on Kauai became a public charity or foundation
that is tax-exempt under Section 501(c)3 of the Internal Revenue Code. Since 2007,
the foundation has continued on Kauai, raising over $100,000, all of which has been
awarded to successful teaching candidates.  Signs of success can be seen in the program’s
expansion to Maui and the Big Island, and the important recognition it has received by
the larger Rotary Community.  In May 2008, Growing Our Own Teachers on Kauai
received the prestigious Rotary International Significant Achievement Award.   Growing
Our Own Teachers on Kauai is guided by a ten-member Board of Directors whose
backgrounds include current and past experience in corporate, educational, community
and professional work on Kauai and the mainland.  Dr. Blackwell, who continues to
inspire the foundation’s work, serves as Educational Advisor to the Board of Directors.