Donor Stories

A Tradition of Generosity: Joan Pratt '47

For Joan Pratt '47, a deep ethic of giving to Punahou is anchored in her passion for a better future. Joan has supported the School in countless ways, from her 30-plus years as a teacher and coach to her continual philanthropy that dates back four decades.
For the Pratt family, giving to Punahou is a tradition that reaches back generations. Family patriarch Dr. Gerritt P. Judd was a missionary, physician and advisor to the Hawaiian government who served on the founding board of trustees of Punahou School. He was also a generous donor: in 1842, Judd noted in his journal that a $50 gift to Punahou left him with $36 for living expenses for the month.

That spirit of philanthropy lives on today in Joan, who is Judd's great-great-granddaughter. Her father, C. Dudley Pratt '18, and her aunt Laura Pratt '21 Bowers also founded Living Endowment, which eventually became today's Punahou Fund – an essential vehicle for realizing the School's mission each year.
Joan's generosity also extends to class gifts, Na Wahine Pa'ani 'o Punahou and her parents' endowed fund. In 2007, in celebration of her Class's 60th Reunion, Joan created an endowed financial aid fund to assist talented scholar athletes of Hawaiian ancestry.

Athletics played a defining role in Joan's life. At a time when girls were excluded from competitive sports, she participated in all the intramural sports sponsored by the Punahou Girls Athletic Association and later taught PE. In 1957, when Joan started teaching at Punahou, only two ILH girls teams existed – swimming and tennis. By 1961, girls volleyball was an official ILH sport, and Joan was the head coach. She would go on to help start the girls track and basketball programs and became an important supporter of Title IX legislation, which catalyzed the rise of girls' competitive sports.

This past May, she was honored with the Punahou Athletics Service Award, which recognized how she changed the future of girls athletics at Punahou by increasing opportunities to play and focusing on fundamental skills as both a coach and PE teacher.

Joan's decision to create an endowed scholarship sprang not only from a lifelong passion for athletics, but also from a deep-seated belief in expanding educational access for children. "I want to make sure that kids who can't afford Punahou's tuition still have a chance to come here," she said.

More recently, Joan has participated in a number of capital campaigns, including the Omidyar K – 1 Neighborhood, the renovation of Alexander Field and the new grades 2 – 5 neighborhood, for which she contributed to the new playground equipment. She also included a gift to Punahou in her estate plan that will support her family's two endowed financial aid funds, the Athletic Department and the general endowment.

This spring, Joan organized a "Punahou friends hour" at Arcadia Retirement Residence, where she lives just minutes away from the campus. She was inspired by the launch of the Ku'u Punahou campaign and wanted to share the School's future vision and priorities with other residents, many of whom also have ties to the School.
For Joan, giving to Punahou is a tradition that expresses her passion for education and a community that has been part of her own life for generations. In addition to her volunteerism, leadership and years of teaching, she has made 225 gifts to the School since 1978. When asked about what drives such a profound generosity, she said, "I do this because Punahou is my family."
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