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Critical University of Hawaiʻi Economic Research Organization (UHERO) research to help Hawaiʻi on its path to economic recovery has received a $1.2-million boost in private support.

UH President David Lassner said, “We are deeply grateful to our community partners for their robust support of UHERO and the critical economic research that takes place every day. UH expertise is absolutely essential to our pandemic recovery, and these philanthropic investments will help Hawaiʻi craft a sustainable and thriving path forward for our people across the islands.”

Donors include: Hawaiʻi Community Foundation, Bank of Hawaii Foundation, Kamehameha Schools, First Hawaiian Bank Foundation, DGM Group, Hawaiian Electric Industries, Hawaii Medical Service Association, Hawaiʻi Pacific Health, American Savings Bank, Stanford Carr Development, HPM Building Supply Foundation, First Insurance Charitable Foundation, HGEA and Hawaii State AFLCIO, Island Insurance Foundation and the Harold K.L. Castle Foundation.

Hawaiʻi Community Foundation CEO and President Micah Kāne said, “As Hawaiʻi straddles crisis response and recovery planning, the state needs reliable, timely and accurate economic analysis to guide decision-making and our way forward. By supporting UHERO’s research, we can ensure that our leaders, stakeholders and communities across the state have the complex data they need to make the decisions that will shape our future.”

The $1.2 million will enable UHERO, in UH Mānoa’s College of Social Sciences, to hire two full-time faculty and build capacity for applied research on the most pressing issues facing Hawaiʻi.

UHERO Executive Director Carl Bonham said, “Throughout the pandemic, businesses, nonprofits and public sector decision-makers have relied on us for our trusted and independent analysis of the Hawaiʻi economy. With the addition of these new team members, we will be able to sustain and grow our research efforts, and continue to help our state navigate through the current economic upheaval and the nascent recovery.”

UHERO’s role in Hawaiʻi’s economic recovery

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  • Responds to questions from decision-makers, the press and the community regarding the immediate economic crisis.
  • Conducts long-term economic recovery analysis, using cutting-edge models to forecast Hawaiʻi’s economy, even as we navigate unprecedented changes in the state and around the world.
  • Integrates emerging information on testing and epidemiological models to inform local decision-making to safely restart the economy.
  • Updates and expands existing analytics tools and visualizations, including new high frequency economic data for every county in the state.

Bank of Hawaii Chairman, President and CEO Peter Ho said, “It is becoming increasingly evident that Hawaiʻi’s battle with the novel coronavirus and its aftermath will not be a sprint, but a marathon. Together, through innovative public-private partnerships, we will be able to meet the economic uncertainty armed with the best information to guide us to sustainable economic revival.”

UHERO was co-founded in the 1990s by four UH Mānoa economics faculty members—Bonham, Byron Gangnes, Sumner La Croix and Denise Eby Konan, current dean of the College of Social Sciences.

“We are thankful to our community partners for their support of UHERO during the pandemic and into the future,” said Konan. “The primary goal of the College of Social Sciences and its units, such as UHERO, has always been to provide evidence-based social sciences research that brings to light important data and analysis, so it can assist Hawaiʻi’s leaders in making informed policy and business decisions.”

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