About the Program
Through a generous donation from the Kaneta Foundation of Honolulu, Hawai‘i, and the University of Hawai‘i Foundation, the King William Charles Lunalilo Scholars Project (now called the Lunalilo Scholars Program) was launched in May 2012. Many others have joined to ensure the success and longevity of the program, with external funding commitments through 2025. The program was named in honor of King William Charles Lunalilo, who was dedicated to serving the Hawaiian people, particularly those in need, and has supported over 600 scholars.
The Lunalilo Scholars Program is more than a financial aid scholarship. It is a transformative opportunity for promising individuals who are financially at risk. The program offers students the means and personalized support they need to start a new life during their first year of college at Kapi‘olani Community College. Many start the program with little more than a strong desire to work hard and get ahead. Some are near the brink of homelessness or stuck in low-paying jobs without possibilities for career advancement. Once admitted to the program, Lunalilo Scholars gain confidence, peer support, and skills. They begin to see hope and realize they can take steps to break the poverty cycle, find their purpose, and give back to their community. Click here to learn more...
Students of Native Hawaiian ancestry are given preference to also support the College in increasing the number of Native Hawaiian students that enroll and complete the first year of college. Community partners, including feeder high schools, with access to underprivileged, Native Hawaiian and non-college-bound students refer applicants to the program through applications and referral forms
The Lunalilo Scholars Program is also dedicated to creating educational programs built on Native Hawaiian identity. Beginning with the Summer Bridge, the program hopes to instill the value and importance of ʻāina and legacy through Hawaiian cultural activities and huakaʻi (field trips), and research on Queen Kapiʻolani and Lēʻahi. This focus on ʻāina, legacy of our aliʻi and the ingenuity of the Hawaiian people has not only been extremely effective with the Hawaiian scholars but also for those of non-Hawaiian ancestry. The Summer Bridge Program prepares scholars mentally for the academic rigor of college and scholars build a common bond with the same cohort of students and peer mentors throughout the first year. For scholars that are interested and meet the qualifications, second-year scholarships are available for those that give back to the program by becoming peer mentors. These peer mentors learn valuable leadership skills while providing academic and personal support to the new cohort of scholars.