Hawaii’s leading philanthropic institute is lending a hand to the employees and families left without work following the end of the sugar cane era. The Hawaii Community Foundation (HCF) has created a new scholarship fund designed to support the Maui sugar industry workers and their children after the recent closure of Hawaii’s last sugar mill.
The Rapozo Scholarship Fund for Maui Sugar Industry Workers was established by Wayne James Rapozo de Costa of London, United Kingdom and the Rapozo Kama`aina Fund, a family donor advised fund administered by HCF.
“My extended family and I wanted to send a message of appreciation to the Maui workers who are running Hawaii’s last harvest and to recognize them for their good work, sense of stewardship and dedication over the years,” Rapozo said. “I have the utmost confidence in them and their children as they enter the next chapter of their lives following the last harvest, and this scholarship is a small way to send them our aloha.”
Rapozo was born and raised on Kauai and spent much of his childhood with his grandparents on the Gay and Robinson sugar plantation. His grandfather, George Rapozo, was one of the last traditional lunas (field managers) on Kauai. Rapozo currently lives and works as an international corporate attorney in London and is an acclaimed collector of old master and modern works of art.
“As the sugar industry on Maui comes to a close, we would like to thank Mr. Rapozo and his family for their generosity in providing this scholarship to honor the dedicated sugar workers on the island,” said Deborah Rice, senior philanthropic services officer on Maui for the Hawaii Community Foundation. “The Rapozo scholarship will touch the lives of many sugar workers and their children during challenging times.”
To be eligible to apply for the scholarship, students must be an employee of a company that was primarily engaged in the growing and harvesting of sugar on Maui during 2015 and 2016 or be a child of such an employee. Applicants will be asked to address this point in an essay submitted with the application.
Students need to simply fill out one online application and to be matched with multiple scholarships, including the Rapozo Scholarship Fund. HCF has more than 200 scholarships and awards more than $4.5 million each year to students across the state. The deadline to submit applications is 4pm on Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2017 Hawaii Standard Time (HST). Visit Hawaiicommunityfoundation.org for more information on required supporting materials that are needed for applications.
Applicants will be notified between April and July if they have been selected to receive a scholarship.
As the third largest provider of scholarships in the state, HCF offers thousands of opportunities for students to receive scholarships to assist in their dreams of receiving a post-secondary education. HCF has been distributing scholarships for students for more than 80 years.
With 100 years of community service, the Hawaii Community Foundation (HCF) is the leading philanthropic institution in the state. HCF is a steward of more than 700 funds, including more than 200 scholarship funds, created by donors who desire to transform lives and improve communities. In 2015, HCF distributed more than $46 million in grants and contracts statewide, including $4.5 million in scholarships. HCF also serves as a resource on community issues and trends in the nonprofit sector.
Photo of Maui sugar cane worker in 1970: Charles O’Rear/National Archives