The Mamoru and Aiko Takitani Foundation (Takitani Foundation) donated an additional $2.5 million to the University of Hawaiʻi’s Culinary Institute of the Pacific (CIP) at Diamond Head in August to support culinary education in the institute’s new and growing facility. This builds on the foundation’s 2017 gift of $1.1 million, bringing total support for construction and programs of the CIP to $3.6 million. In recognition of such generous support, the innovation center building at the CIP will be named the Mamoru and Aiko Takitani Innovation Center.

UH President David Lassner said, “This gift is helping create a unique world-class home for one of UH’s signature programs, the Culinary Institute of the Pacific (CIP). The CIP will change the lives of UH students from multiple campuses across the island, will help meet the workforce needs of our own hospitality community, and will be a shining beacon for Hawaiʻi’s leadership in culinary innovation and excellence. The full CIP vision is now becoming a reality thanks to the dedication and generous support of the state, community partners and donors like our friends at the Takitani Foundation, who have graced us again with their incredible generosity.”

Mamoru and Aiko Takitani, founders of Hawaiian Host, created the Takitani Foundation in 1993 to express their appreciation to the local community for its support of Hawaiian Host products. Since inception, the Takitani Foundation has provided scholarships to Hawaiʻi students who exemplify the values the Takitanis lived by, such as the qualities of hard work, high academic achievement, commitment to excellence and community service. The Takitani Foundation is dedicated to helping Hawaiʻi students achieve their educational and career goals, and supporting educational initiatives that benefit them.

“Mamoru Takitani was a true innovator. He was the first person who envisioned combining delicious macadamia nuts with his original signature milk chocolate recipe to create what is recognized worldwide today as one of Hawaiʻi’s most iconic gifts,” said Michael W. Perry, chairman of the Takitani Foundation Board of Directors. “Naming the Innovation Center at the Culinary Institute of the Pacific is a fitting tribute to Mamoru and Aiko Takitani.”

“We are excited about the new Innovation Center and the potential for fresh new ideas in the culinary arts here in Hawaiʻi,” said Ed Schultz, president of Hawaiian Host. “We are pleased to continue the Takitanis’ vision for Hawaiian Host and contribute to the mission and work of the Takitani Foundation to support youth in their educational goals.”

Over the years, the Takitani Foundation has provided over $5.4 million in scholarships and grants in Hawaiʻi. At UH, the Takitani Foundation has been a key funder of the Pacific Asian Center for Entrepreneurship (PACE) program at the Shidler College of Business at UH Mānoa, and recently funded the 13th Year Programs at Windward and Honolulu Community Colleges for students in need of support.

people holding big check
From left, Karen Uno and Stuart Ho, Mamoru and Aiko Takitani Foundation board members, John Morton, retired UH vice president for community colleges; Ed Schultz, Hawaiian Host president; Janice Luke Loo, Mamoru and Aiko Takitani Foundation president and Kelvin Ro, donor and volunteer fundraiser