Little boy smiling with tabletAs Hawai‘i continues to cope with the economic, social, and public health impacts of the pandemic, many families in rural communities are finding it difficult to access education resources and health care services. The Weinberg Foundation recently made grants to two networks supporting both of these vital sectors.

Community organizations across the state have joined forces to ensure that the families impacted most severely can access the digital tools required for keiki to stay connected to their education.

Through a partnership with Kamehameha Schools and the Pauahi Foundation, the Weinberg Foundation recently provided a $450,000 grant to Kanaeokana, a network that includes 17 Hawaiian-focused public charter schools and over 50 other aligned organizations.

The $450,000 grant will provide Hawaiian-focused charter schools with more than 1,000 computers or MiFi devices to loan to low-income students, digital toolkits for the schools’ ʻāina-based community partners to share online learning experiences from their sites, and four large-scale Wi-Fi units to service rural communities.

Ka ʻUmeke Kāʻeo, one of the 17 schools supported through this grant, is a Hawaiian cultural-based school that conducts all instruction in the Hawaiian language and is located in Keaukaha, Hilo, Hawai‘i Island. Here is a look at the work they are doing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=28mefZET1kc.    

People smiling in medical gearIn addition, the Foundation recently approved a $450,000 grant to the AHARO network of five rural Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) to purchase telehealth equipment that will increase health care access in Wai‘anae, Waimānalo, Hilo, Moloka‘i, and Hāmākua.

This grant will support rural health centers to acquire remote telehealth diagnostic equipment for use by medical staff, establish a new community-based kiosk in the Wai‘anae community to facilitate virtual health visits, integrate telehealth software within the health centers, and acquire equipment to increase telehealth access for low-income and rural households.