Stop by any table at the annual endowed fund donor luncheon and you’d hear why people support Punahou and about the many ways their gifts benefit students — now and in the future. Whether inspired to donate in honor of a beloved grandchild, to support the School their family has attended for generations, or even to share money won in a diet challenge, the reasons for giving were as diverse as the donors themselves — and school leaders expressed heartfelt gratitude for each and every gift.
“I look around and I see people who help build this School. We thank you deeply for your investment,” President Jim Scott ’70 said as he welcomed about 120 endowment donors and members of the Ka Punahou Society to the luncheon at the President’s Pavilion on Feb. 13, 2013.
Scott emphasized giving to the endowment as an ideal way to support the School’s extraordinary mission and vision, as funds support everything from academics to athletics, co-curricular programs to financial aid. This sustainable funding source provides current and future revenue streams, growing in size even as it provides annual operating funds.
Trustee Connie Hee ’70 Lau, head of the board’s Investment Committee, gave donors a financial update, noting that over the past 10 years, the endowment managed by Punahou grew $80 million to $183 million and provided nearly $60 million in School operating funds, including nearly $7 million for fiscal year 2012 – 13.
2013 Endowed Fund Donor Luncheon Slideshow
“Punahou’s growing endowment has provided an ever-increasing source of funding for the School and all of its students,” said Lau, emphasizing that the careful investment strategy seeks long-term growth to last in perpetuity. “You all are a very special group to us, and we want you to know all the wonderful things that are happening here.”
Joining donors at the hourlong luncheon were faculty and administrators who shared information about School programs and invited guests to share their interests and ideas too. Over lunch, donors talked about what had inspired them to give, or discussed gifts made by their families generations before.
Dr. Daniel C. Susott ’69 shared the unusual origins of the Col. John L. Susott Financial Aid Fund, founded by his father in the 1970s. “After he retired from the Air Force, his new business partners challenged him to lose weight, promising $1,000 for every pound. He lost 50 pounds! The money went into a scholarship at Punahou and today the value is over $200,000.”
“It’s helped so many students over the years. We are happy to continue that legacy,” said Susott. “The followup between the School and the donors is really exemplary. Every year we hear from the students and they are so appreciative.”
Over dessert, the full group heard from Jean Nishigaya ’58 Yokoyama-McDonald, who spoke about what inspired her to create a planned gift for Punahou several years ago. The Jean K. Yokoyama ’58 Family Financial Aid Fund supports financial aid, with a preference for students facing physical challenges.
Yokoyama-McDonald, who lives on the island of Hawai‘i and has a granddaughter with a physical challenge, explained that the investment option she chose benefits both her and the School, and allows her sons Carter ’84 and Colin ’88 to invest as well — nurturing a gift that will keep on giving long past all of their lifetimes.
For the past three years, the fund has supported the education of a Punahou student who excelled in academics, athletics and community service while coping with spina bifida, which required her to use a wheelchair or crutches.
“Each year we receive a heartwarming letter from this wonderful girl and we can see what an impact our gift has on a student’s life,” she said. “Dr. Scott welcomed us all here today by saying ‘thank you,’ but I say ‘thank you to Punahou’ for all that you have done for my own family, and for everything that you do for so many students, now and in the future. I just felt it was time to do something for Punahou, and I’m so happy I did.”
More about giving to Punahou