Categorized | Education

HCC launches matching campaign for scholarships


“I hope others will join me in encouraging the aspirations of our local community college students as they prepare for careers that are so important to our community.” — Mrs. Gladys Sonomura

A $50,000 gift from a local donor is making it possible for Hawaii Community College to launch its first-ever matching campaign for student scholarships.

The Gladys Sonomura Matching Fund for Educational Opportunity will match new donations on a dollar-for-dollar basis, effectively doubling the amount of support available for students with financial need who are enrolled in courses or programs that require practical experience outside the classroom.

Hawaii Community College has a rich history of work-based learning. Students in every discipline have opportunities to apply what they learn in the classroom, and give back to the community.

Those in the transportation trades may work on customer jobs, while students in career and technical education programs — business, nursing, culinary arts, and hospitality — have access to internships, service learning, and volunteer work.

At the centerpiece is the college’s highly applauded Model Home project, a partnership between several of the college’s Applied Technical Education programs and the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands. This project has produced 45 residential dwellings for Hawaii residents over the last 45 years.

This project gives students in the construction trades programs an opportunity to design and build a house, with those in the agriculture program creating the landscaping. Such practical training experiences rarely offer salaries or stipends, so the burden on the neediest students is particularly acute.

Hawaii Community College Chancellor Noreen Yamane said, “With the majority of our students requiring financial assistance in order to complete their degrees or certificates, building private support for scholarships is one of our highest priorities.”

Yamane continued, “This matching gift opportunity fueled by a generous gift from Mrs. Sonomura will greatly support our efforts to encourage others to support our students. By investing in our students today, our entire community will earn dividends for decades to come.”

Two ways to take advantage of the Gladys Sonomura Matching Fund for Educational Opportunity at Hawaii Community College:

Donations at any level to a new Sonomura/Community Fund for Practical Experience at Hawaii Community College will be matched on a one-to-one basis, doubling available funds to offset student costs for participating in faculty-initiated projects which offer curriculum-specific practical experience.

Examples of such projects include study or travel abroad, field trips, competitions, etc. A maximum of $20,000 in matching funds will be available for this purpose.

Alternatively, donors may establish their own named, discipline-specific scholarship funds, with gifts ranging from $1,500 to $2,500. These gifts will be doubled, thanks to dollar-for-dollar matching funds, and provide annual scholarships to support students enrolled in career and technical education courses which require unpaid internships, practica, cooperative vocational education, or other types of field experiences.

Awards will be made on the basis of financial need (with priority to students who are eligible for federal Pell grants), and scholarships will be applied toward the cost of tuition, books, and supplies/tools.

“We’re excited about giving donors the opportunity to double the value of their donations, thanks to the generosity of this longtime supporter,” said Joel Tanabe, Construction Technology Department Chairman at Hawaii Community College. “I’ve seen the impact of Mrs. Sonomura’s previous support for our carpentry program, and the effect will magnified with this latest gift to benefit all sectors of the college.”

For more information on matching scholarship opportunities at Hawaii Community College, contact Margaret Shiba at (808) 933-0829 or

You can also make a gift online at

The University of Hawaii Foundation, a nonprofit organization, raises private funds to support the University of Hawaii System. The mission of the University of Hawaii Foundation is to unite donors’ passions with the University of Hawaii’s aspirations by raising philanthropic support and managing private investments to benefit UH, the people of Hawaii and our future generations.

Hawaii Community College, one of the six community colleges in the University of Hawaii System, is Hawaii Island’s only comprehensive, open-door community college. Through campus locations in Hilo and West Hawaii and satellite sites in Kohala and Honokaa, the college offers 25 associate degrees and more than 36 certificate and noncredit programs spanning liberal arts, Hawaiian Life Styles, public services, health services, technical trades, and intensive English.

Some 90 percent of its 3,500 students are Hawaii Island residents.

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