From farms to pageants, 6 ways to uplift the AAPI in Hawaii

BySteven I. Green

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HONOLULU (KHON2) — May marks Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. During the month, the nation celebrates the contributions of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI), as well as their history, culture and achievements.

GoFundMe is highlighting and supporting those within the APPI community by using its platform to increase awareness around inequalities and bringing solutions to those seeking help.

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GoFundMe confirmed with KHON2 on Monday that the pages listed below are verified.

1. From Ewa Beach to Mount Everest: Dillon Quitugua aims to be the first CHamoru to climb Mount Everest by 2025 and empower Asian Pacific Islanders to be their best versions of themselves. He’s raising funds on GoFundMe to help with expenses such as a professional guide, flights and food and lodging.

“Growing up, I didn’t believe I could be anything. The superheroes were always someone else. Never me, never my family, never my people, never my culture. I plan to change this paradigm.”

2. Coleen Church Scholarship Fund: Coleen Church was a Native Hawaiian, born and raised on Maui, who resided in Hana for over 46 years. She was a beloved teacher at Hana High & Elementary School and an active community member. This year’s graduation is on May 21 — the goal is to award $5,000 in scholarships to support both academic and athletic achievement. Click here to help.

“This annual scholarship will benefit Hana High School graduates, helping them pay for a vocational certificate or undergraduate degree.”

3. Open the world to Molokai students: Students in the Molokai High School College Career Club (MC3) will travel to New York City and New England to visit world-class universities and career sites this year. Schools in the past have included New York University, Columbia University and Yale University. This fundraiser was launched to help with travel expenses. To learn more, click here.

“As you can see, our students and families need to glimpse the potential of the greater world outside our isolated rural island community. In turn, our students bring indigenous knowledge to an increasingly complex world. Your gift will help our impoverished students raise funds and, more importantly, this will encourage them into a the greater society.”

4. Help save Hawaiian ancestral land: Tin Tin Pu’ulei’s land has been passed down through 25 generations. He launched a GoFundMe to help protect his ancestral land from the state, which he said is threatening to take his ocean-front land. He plans to pass down the land to his four children.

“The state wants it because they know the value of this property. There’s less than a handful of native Hawaiians who own ocean-front land and that is by design, a centuries-long scheme to defraud the Hawaiians of our birth right.

5. Help Uncle Keli`i teach Molokai FFA youth to farm: James “Keli`ipio Kahea” Mawae (Uncle Keli’i) is 100% Native Hawaiian, born and raised on Molokai and retired from the Maui County school district after over 40 years of service. At 86 years old, he still wants to help improve the lives of keiki on Molokai by teaching them about farming taro, raising pigs and cattle, and about the cultural significance of using Native Hawaiian plants. The GoFundMe seeks to raise money to help fence in 1.6 acres of land.

“Uncle Keli`i served as Special Advisor to Senator Danial Inouye, and was instrumental in working with Senator Inouye 30 years ago to establish the Molokai Agriculture Development Program (MADP).”

6. Help Krystine fund her pageant: Krystine is running for Miss Hawai’i Asian America in March 2023. She’s fundraising now to better prepare for the pageant. As part of her volunteer work, Krystine has organized cleanups at Wa’ahila Ridge Trail, and as of March, her team has cleaned 1,250 pounds of trash and picked up several syringes. She wants to use her platform to raise awareness about mental health, homelessness and addiction.

“If selected as the next queen, my goal is to advocate for mental health. I assist clients in crisis at my job, which gives me a sense of purpose. Due to my love for this work, I am pursuing a Master’s in Social Work and focusing on behavioral health as my specialty.”

Check out what’s going on around the nation on our National News page

In partnership with, GoFundMe created the AAPI Community Fund to serve as the central place for people to come together to uplift and support the AAPI community.


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