Hawaii P-20 Initiative receives $10 million grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation

Funds will support efforts to improve the quality of early learning in Hawaii

University of Hawaiʻi
Kathy Jaycox, (808) 956-7678
Hawaii P-20 Initiative
Linda Johnsrud, (808) 956-7075
Academic Planning & Policy
Posted: Mar 27, 2007

HONOLULU — The W.K. Kellogg Foundation has awarded the Hawaiʻi P-20 Initiative with $10 million to support the goal of having every third grader in Hawaiʻi reading at grade level by 2015. Called "Capturing the Momentum — the P-3 Initiative," the project will provide a critical mass of coordinated efforts at community and state levels.

The Hawaiʻi P-20 Initiative is a collaboration of local community organizations and three statewide education entities—the University of Hawaiʻi (UH), the Hawaiʻi Department of Education (DOE), and the Good Beginnings Alliance (GBA). The Initiative is focused on increasing the number of learners who successfully navigate the education pipeline, which begins with early learning, continues through formal schooling from pre-kindergarten to postsecondary coursework, and lasts lifelong.

Improving educational performance rates starts with having all learners master the skills of reading by the end of third grade. From infancy through grade three, children learn to read; from grade four on, people read to learn. Thus, the Hawaiʻi P-20 Initiative has identified the "P-3" section of the educational pipeline as one of its key focus areas.

"We are enormously grateful to the Kellogg Foundation for supporting the Hawaiʻi P-20 Initiative‘s efforts and recognizing our potential to affect change statewide," said UH President David McClain. "Higher education must own and respond to the challenges of early childhood and K-12 education. As the only public higher education system in the state, the University of Hawaiʻi has a significant responsibility, particularly in the training of early childhood and elementary educators and the alignment of teaching standards that will benefit students throughout Hawaiʻi."

"Capturing the Momentum" will support the development of high quality, culturally sensitive learning environments in early childhood through grade 3 settings and classrooms. A key component of "Capturing the Momentum" will be to replicate successful community-based and statewide initiatives already in place and provide support for these strategies in other communities.

For example, with support from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation‘s SPARK Initiative, the Institute for Native Pacific Education and Culture (INPEACE) and GBA began a joint venture in 2002 to improve school readiness for vulnerable children in two communities with high poverty levels—Keaukaha/Panaewa/Hilo on the Big Island and the Waiʻanae Coast on Oʻahu. The collaboration resulted in an improvement in both Readiness of Children and Readiness of Schools, as measured by the Hawaiʻi State School Readiness Assessment, and provides a stepping stone for expansion into other communities.

"There is an ʻachievement gap‘ among socioeconomic groups in Hawaiʻi, with low income communities bearing the brunt of this discrepancy. Investments we make now must focus on leveling the playing field for all of Hawaiʻi‘s children in order to close the achievement gap," said UH Vice President for Academic Planning and Policy Linda Johnsrud, who is the principal investigator on the grant. "Private investments have provided the initial momentum towards improving early childhood education in Hawaiʻi, and with this significant support from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, we will build upon these successes and move them toward sustainability."

Recognizing that the best way to ensure that all Hawaiʻi‘s children are ready to succeed is to provide a solid grounding in their first years of school, "Capturing the Momentum" is targeted to the first transition in the pipeline—entry into formal schooling, kindergarten through the third grade. The grant facilitates coordination and dissemination/scaling up of community-based efforts with input from an advisory group including organizations such as the Departments of Education and Health and Human Services, GBA, UH, SPARK, Head Start, Kamehameha Schools, and Act 259 Leadership.

"Research continues to show how critical the early years are to a child‘s development, including a child‘s learning, physical and mental health, and lifelong behavior," said GBA Executive Director Elisabeth Chun. "I am pleased that our partners and collaborators on the Hawaiʻi P-20 Initiative recognize the need for concerted action in the area of early childhood education through grade three and have made this the first priority in our strategic plan implementation."

DOE Superintendent Patricia Hamamoto noted, "We are committed to ensuring that children are ready for schools and schools are ready for children. This support from the Kellogg Foundation allows us to focus resources on this vital transition in the lives of young learners."

The Kellogg Foundation‘s grant follows its 2003 planning grant to the Hawaiʻi P-20 Initiative and is the latest in a growing trend of national and Hawaiʻi-based private investments in early childhood programs.

Donna Vuchinich, president of the UH Foundation, said, "We thank the Kellogg Foundation for their investment in early childhood education in Hawaiʻi. The public-private partnerships in education are accelerating, which is great news for parents and keiki. The resources from the private sector are key in augmenting state funding for essential programs."


The purpose of the Hawaiʻi P-20 Initiative is to address the challenges of the educational "pipeline" in Hawaiʻi, beginning with early learning, continuing through formal schooling from pre-K to postsecondary, and persisting lifelong. The Initiative‘s mission is to assure that more of Hawaiʻi‘s people persist through this pipeline, and especially to close the "achievement gap" between those who historically have been well-served by educational institutions and those who have not, so that the people of Hawaiʻi can be globally competitive in the 21st century. The Initiative is co-led by University of Hawaiʻi System President David McClain, Department of Education Superintendent Patricia Hamamoto, and Good Beginnings Alliance Executive Director Elisabeth Chun. For more information on the Hawaiʻi P-20 Initiative, visit www.p20hawaii.org.


The W.K. Kellogg Foundation was established in 1930 "to help people help themselves through the practical application of knowledge and resources to improve their quality of life and that of future generations." To achieve the greatest impact, the Foundation targets its grants toward specific areas. These include: health; food systems and rural development; youth and education; and philanthropy and volunteerism. Within these areas, attention is given to exploring learning opportunities in leadership; information and communication technology; capitalizing on diversity; and social and economic community development. Grants are concentrated in the United States, Latin America and the Caribbean, and the southern African countries of Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, Swaziland and Zimbabwe. For more information, visit www.wkkf.org.

For more information, visit: http://www.p20hawaii.org