The Ho'owaiwai Network

Island-Style Asset Building

About the Network

The Ho'owaiwai Network is a statewide group of private and public organizations, financial institutions, and families and youth in Hawai'i. Network members share the common goal to address asset poverty through initiatives developed to build the wealth and financial stability of our communities hard-working families. The Network currently consists of over 500 members from every island across the state.

Ho'owaiwai Network members work together to build strategies and tools to increase family and community assets within the unique context of Hawai'i. The mission of the Ho'owaiwai Network is to encourage family and community self-sufficiency through asset-building policy and practice.

Ho'owaiwai Network: Hawaii Island Style!

Asset Building Strategies on the Big Island

Hawai'i County has one of the lowest annual wages and highest costs of living in the nation. The stress from these challenges creates instability for island families and communities, such as, high debt, poor health, addiction, homelessness, marital distress, crime and violence. The combination of low wages and high expenses makes building financial assets extremely difficult.

The County of Hawai'i's Department of Research and Development leads and coordinates the local Ho'owaiwai Network on Hawai'i Island. You can read more about the County of Hawai'i's asset building initiatives by viewing the Local Assets & Opportunities Profile for Hawai'i Island by clicking on the link below:

County of Hawai'i - Department of Research & Development

Frecia Cevallos (Basilio)

Economic Development Specialist

Financial Empowerment and Sustainability

What's happening on the Big Island?

Children's Savings Initiative

One of the priorities of the statewide Ho'owaiwai Network is to advocate for universal children savings. The Children's Savings Initiative is a statewide effort founded by Professor Michael Cheang at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. The project involves various partnerships within each community across the state. The partners of the Children's Savings Initiative are also members of the Ho'owaiwai Network.

Children's Savings Project: Hawai'i Island

The Children's Savings Project on Hawai'i Island is part of the larger statewide project involving over 1,000 children that have saved a combined total of over $100,000. The County of Hawai'i along with the Hawaii Alliance for Community Based Development (HACBED) and Dr. Cheang, helped to start the Children's Savings Project on Hawai'i Island on January 2010.

Although the Children's Savings Project is a statewide initiative, there is a strong focus on Hawai'i Island as the Mayor of Hawai'i Island is a strong supporter of the project's development and called for an island-wide inititative for every child on the island to open and maintain a savings account.

The Children's Savings Project helps children open and maintain a savings account so they develop and maintain a lifelong behavior of saving. Children that participate receive $5.00 to open a savings account and are encouraged to save a goal ranging from $30 to $50 over the school year. Once they achieve their savings goal, they are able to receive a bonus of $20 to add to their savings.

As of March 2011, eight elementary schools across the Big Island are participating in the Children's Savings Project through partnerships with the following credit unions: Hawaii Community Federal Credit Union, Hawaii First Federal Credit Union, HFS Federal Credit Union, Ka'u Federal Credit Union, and Onomea Federal Credit Union. These participating school include the following: Kanu O Ka Aina New Century Public Charter School, Konaweana Elementary School, Kealakehe Elementary School, Keaau Elementary School, Keaukaha Elementary School, Pahala Elementary School, Holualoa Elementary School, Honaunau Elementary School, Waiakea Elementary School and Kalanianaole Elementary School. You can get more information by contacting individual schools about their Children's Savings Program.

To read more about the Children's Savings Project, please click on the following link:

Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Clinics

Statewide Network of Volunteer Income Tax Assistance

A statewide network of organizational partners help to provide free tax assistance services to low-to-moderate income workers and their families every year. The free tax assistance program, titled Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA), helps individuals and families to claim the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), child tax credit, and other valuable tax credits that may help the families pay off debt, save and build assets. Approximately $40 million dollars of EITC monies are missed by Hawai'i families every year, because they do not file for the EITC.

There were multiple sites operating throughout Hawai'i Island during the 2013 tax season. Sites included Hawaiian Community Assets, Alu Like, Goodwill Industries of Hawaii, Inc., HFS Federal Credit Union, and HOPE Services Hawaii, Inc. For more information call 2-1-1 or email See the attached flyer for more information.

Partner Highlights!

Hawaii Alliance for Community Based Economic Development (HACBED)

HACBED is a statewide, federally tax-exempt non-profit organization established in 1992 to encourage increased investments in sustainable and community-based approaches to economic development. HACBED's mission is to maximize the effectiveness of people working in communities and the non-profit sector to build a healthier and safer Hawai'i through community-based economic development.

HACBED has also been the driving force and lead agency in the development of the Ho'owaiwai Network and the state's asset-building initiatives.

Hawaiian Community Assets

Hawaiian Community Assets is a 501 (c)3 non-profit, HUD-approved housing counseling agency and community lending institution that builds the capacity of low and moderate income communities to achieve and sustain economic self-sufficiency with a particular focus on Native Hawaiians.

HOPE Services Hawaii, Inc.

HOPE is a statewide, 501(c)3 non-profit agency committed to ending homelessness through their mission to "bring to life gospel values of justice, love, compassion and hope through service, empowerment and advocacy".

Ho'owaiwai Networking Event

Tuesday, Oct. 1st 2013 at 9am

Aunty Sally's Luau House

Please join us for this upcoming event and find out more about the Ho'owaiwai Network and its members. Hope to see you there!