As an ali‘i (royal) trust, Kamehameha has instituted a set of principles through which all land-based and investment decisions are filtered – culture, community, education, economics and environment. This balanced approach to decision making ensures the perpetuation of Pauahi’s land, her legacy and the execution of her will.
In 1883, Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop, a descendant of Hawaiian royalty, bequeathed her entire estate to establish the Kamehameha Schools to educate Hawaiian children.
Founded in 1887 by her will, Kamehameha Schools’ mission is to fulfill Pauahi’s desire to create educational opportunities in perpetuity to improve the capability and well-being of people of Hawaiian ancestry.
As the last royal descendant of the Kamehameha line, Princess Pauahi inherited thousands of acres totaling approximately 9 percent of Hawai‘i. This made her the largest landholder in the kingdom.
Today, her endowment funds education for more than 47,000 learners and caregivers annually through a statewide educational system, a range of outreach programs, community collaborations and financial aid opportunities in Hawai‘i and across the continental United States.
Today, Pauahi’s land legacy encompasses more than 365,000 acres. Roughly 99 percent, or 360,000 acres are designated to fulfill agricultural and conservation purposes, and approximately 5,000 are set aside for commercial and residential uses. Revenue generated in the Endowment Group funds Kamehameha Schools’ educational programs and services which include three K-12 campuses, 31 preschools and more than 70 community collaborations serving over 45,000 learners per year.
Comprised of three divisions, Kamehameha Schools’ endowment exists to support the schools’ educational mission.
Divisions of the Endowment Group:
By prudently managing Pauahi’s legacy, Kamehameha Schools can remain focused on our kuleana of providing educational opportunities to many more generations of Hawaiians.
The Land Assets Division (LAD) of Kamehameha Schools has kuleana for approximately 99 percent of our total land portfolio encompassing 169,410 acres of agricultural and 189,158 acres of conservation zoned properties. With such a great kuleana comes the immense responsibility to mālama ‘ āina (serve the land) through proper management of cultural and natural resources on our properties, including clean energy, to sustain Hawai‘i’s people.
Sectors of the Land Assets Division:
Through wise, active management of these areas, Kamehameha Schools seeks to ensure sufficient resources for Hawai‘i’s people today and into perpetuity.
Our guide: “Kua ana nō i ka lā‘au o ke ali‘i, a no‘ono‘o aku ana nō i nā lā‘au ‘ōpiopio no ke ali‘i ‘ōpio, ‘oiai, a hala aku ho‘i kākou, a laila, ‘a‘ole ho‘i lākou e lilo i po‘e ali‘i ‘ilihune, ma muli o ko kākou ho‘omaopopo ‘ole i kēia kumu waiwai e pono ai nā ali‘i ‘ōpio no ka manawa e hiki mai ana.”
“When cutting the wood for the ali‘i, be thinking of the young trees for the young ali‘i. After we have gone, they will not be poor because we did not understand that this source of wealth will benefit the young ali‘i in the future.” – Kamehameha I
Quoted by Rev. S.L. Desha in the Hawaiian Newspaper Ka Hoku o Hawaii, May 29, 1924. Translation, F. Frazier, Kamehameha and His Warrior Kekuhaupio, Kamehemeha Schools Press, 2000.
To ensure that our endowment continues to provide educational opportunities for Hawai‘i’s people in perpetuity, Kamehameha takes a long-term approach to its investments and practices prudent stewardship of its lands and trust spending. By policy, we target our annual educational spending at 4 percent of the endowment’s value so that we may balance the needs of the current generation with those of the future.
In 2008, Kamehameha Schools adopted a biotechnology policy supporting the continuing advancements of natural biotechnology and selection practiced by our kūpuna. A cautious approach to modern agricultural practices, which enable genetic modifications, allows us to evaluate and choose very carefully the various possible uses of our lands.
For more information on biotechnology, visit our FAQ section here.