2012 Ho’okele Award Winners Announced

The Hawai‘i Community Foundation, in partnership with Wallace Alexander Gerbode Foundation, announced at a reception last night, the recipients of this year’s annual Ho‘okele Award:

  • Jud R. Cunningham, chief executive officer, Aloha House, Inc.
  • David Fuertes, executive director, Ka Hana No‘eau
  • Connie Mitchell, executive director, The Institute of Human Services
  • Marjorie Ziegler, executive director, Conservation Council for Hawai‘i

“Thomas Layton, president of the Wallace Alexander Gerbode Foundation (left) and Kelvin Taketa, president and CEO of the Hawai‘i Community Foundation (right), with 2012 Hookele Award recipients (l to r): Marjorie Ziegler, David Fuertes, Jud Cunningham, and Connie Mitchell”

The Ho‘okele Award was established in 2002 by the Hawai‘i Community Foundation and the Wallace Alexander Gerbode Foundation and aims to acknowledge and strengthen the leadership in the islands’ nonprofit sector.

“We recognized that Hawai‘i was in danger of losing incredible executive talent in the nonprofit sector in part because many executives had little opportunity to renew themselves and marshal the stamina to continue their demanding work,” said Kelvin Taketa, president and CEO of the Hawai‘i Community Foundation. “The Ho‘okele Award allows us to recognize, thank and reward our community’s truly selfless leaders.”

Over the past 11 years, $440,000 has been awarded to 46 recipients.  Of the 46 recipients, 42 remain in the nonprofit and public sectors.

Award recipients each receive $10,000 to be used for their own professional development and personal renewal. Recipients are selected based on nominations from the community and on their ability to think strategically and get results, bring different groups of people together, inspire others, make a difference in Hawai‘i, and enthusiastically share their knowledge with others.

This year’s 2012 Ho‘okele Award recipients are:

Jud R. Cunningham, Chief Executive Officer, Aloha House, Inc.
With over 40 years of experience as an administrator in behavioral health and human services, Jud Cunningham has worked in the Navajo Nation, Arizona, Washington State, and Hawai‘i.  Since 1995, Cunningham has served as the CEO of Aloha House.  The organization provides outpatient and residential treatment for persons addicted to alcohol and/or other drugs including comprehensive, family-centered behavioral health interventions to promote recovery and healthy lifestyles for individuals and families.

David Fuertes, Executive Director, Ka Hana No‘eau
For more than 30 years, David Fuertes has served in the State Department of Education as a teacher of Agriculture, a Career Technical Education West Hawai‘i District teacher, and a State Future Farmers of America secretary.  As the executive director of Ka Hana No‘eau, Fuertes has helped to develop innovative mentoring programs that meld traditional knowledge with contemporary technologies for Hawaiian youth in the rural North Kohala district of Hawai‘i Island.  The organization gathers older generation craftsmen and practitioners, and connects them with young students to preserve traditional knowledge, products and skills.

Connie Mitchell, Executive Director, The Institute of Human Services (IHS)
Connie Mitchell joined IHS, O‘ahu’s largest emergency homeless shelter as executive director in June 2006.  Mitchell brings to IHS a unique combination of skills derived from a long and diverse career that includes nursing, financial planning, pastoral work, and serving in a variety of management positions.  She also established the state’s first nurse-run rural mental health clinic in Ka‘ū on Hawai‘i Island.  IHS has expanded its homeless programs over the past five years, serving chronically homeless individuals with disabilities, including mental illness and substance abuse, formerly incarcerated, and families on the brink of homelessness.

Marjorie Ziegler, Executive Director, Conservation Council for Hawai‘i (CCH)
Marjorie Ziegler has always had a passion to help protect threatened and endangered species.  Prior to joining CCH as its first full-time employee in 2003, Zeigler worked with the Sierra Club Legal Defense Fund, KĀHEA: the Hawaiian Environmental Alliance, and as an archaeological assistant at Kailua District and Kualoa Regional Parks.  CCH is dedicated to protecting native Hawaiian plants, animals and ecosystems for future generations.

The San Francisco-based Wallace Alexander Gerbode Foundation was established in 1961 by Martha Alexander Gerbode, a descendant of one of the original five New England missionary families who came to Hawai‘i. The Gerbode Foundation makes grants of approximately $4 million a year with its activities focused in the San Francisco Bay Area and in Hawai‘i. Areas of interest include social justice, reproductive rights, the environment and the arts. Gerbode implements an award program similar to Ho‘okele that recognizes nonprofit leaders in the San Francisco area.

Please visit www.hawaiicommunityfoundation.org for more information on the Ho‘okele Awards and a complete list of previous award recipients.

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