Philanthropy: It’s All About You – March 2016
Micah Kāne may be new to Hawai‘i Community Foundation, but not to philanthropy. His goal — tackle the tough issues, make a difference
MK: As a kid, I was a Kamehameha Schools indigent and orphan trust program beneficiary. My mother had died, and my father, grandmother, and later my stepmother, raised my brothers and me. That was my first understanding of unconditional giving—gifts that really help people. There was never a shortage of love in my family and I never felt like an orphan. But it was hard sometimes.
The people touched by HCF and our partners—they face struggles so much worse than what I knew. But I remember how I felt … it helps me understand.
“The people touched by HCF and our partners — they face struggles so much worse than what I knew. But I remember how I felt … it helps me understand.”
What excites you about joining HCF?
MK: Here at HCF, I first served as a board member for seven years, getting a bird’s eye view of the organization’s reach in our community. I believe this is a unique time in Hawaii’s history where we can really make life better for our community, and do it sooner. The issues we face are acute and clear. In Hawaiian culture, we learn to think seven generations ahead. That’s our job—make smart decisions so we don’t just survive, but thrive as a community for generations to come.
What gets you up every morning?
MK: My amazing father suffered a brain tumor when I was 14, enduring surgeries that saved his life but took a toll. He eventually fell on tough times, self-medicated, spiraled, and ended up on the streets. My brothers and I tried to help, but he wasn’t ready. One day at the Kailua Chevron, my five-year-old daughter Ka‘ili pointed and said, “There’s Papa! I want to see Papa!” We walked over, hugged, talked with him. He was finally ready. It took all of us—my brothers, our families, close friends, everyone we knew—to find the help he needed. We navigated courts, public defenders, departments, and treatment centers—a lot of good people working hard to help—but it was a maze.
Finally, he’s safe, living in an assisted living home and going back for a second piece of custard pie. He’s happy, and my brothers and I finally sleep well, knowing he’s okay.
Getting him help was the hardest thing I’ve ever done, and I’ve got resources. How can we expect to manage and get the help they need?
That’s what gets me up every morning.
Did You Know
HCF, together with its partners, have distributed over $25 million to improve outcomes for at-risk youth, homeless families, and vulnerable kūpuna.