Clarence T.C. Ching believed that education and hard work are the keys to open the doors of opportunity in life. Punahou's PUEO (Partnerships in Unlimited Educational Opportunities) Program at Punahou School is the beneficiary of these twin passions.
A recently announced and generous gift of $3 million from the Clarence T.C. Ching Foundation will ensure the sustainability of this flagship Punahou public purpose program through 2015.
From humble beginnings in Anahola, Kaua'i, Clarence T.C. Ching parlayed his education at St. Louis College, now St. Louis High School, from where he graduated in the class of 1932, into business success as a developer, realtor, banker, affordable housing pioneer and philanthropist.
Clarence T.C. Ching was well known for developing the areas around Honolulu Airport, Salt Lake, Moanalua, Fort Shafter and Tripler with noted Hawai'i businessman and former St. Louis classmate K.J. Luke. In 1970, he built Kukui Gardens, one of the largest affordable rental projects in the state, home to roughly 2,500 residents in 857 units in downtown Honolulu. In all, his two nonprofit housing projects added 1,500 units to the Honolulu housing market.
Clarence T.C. Ching was closely involved during his professional lifetime with Dynamic Industries Corp., International Development Co., the Loyalty family of companies, St. Francis Hospital, Chaminade University and as a co-founder of Hawai'i National Bank. He was also active in a number of other school and community organizations, including serving as a coordinator and advisor for the development of the Chinese Cultural Plaza in Honolulu.
A lifelong commitment to building community resources lives on in the Clarence T.C. Ching Foundation, which he created in 1967.The proceeds from the sale of Kukui Gardens in 2007 - $130million - were directed to the foundation, catapulting it toward the top of private foundations in Hawai'i. "The Clarence T.C. Ching Foundation is Mr. Ching's vision realized, creating a long-term funding source for charities and organizations that benefit the people of Hawai'i," said John K. Tsui, foundation chairman. The foundation has supported several major capital projects at the University of Hawai'i, Chaminade University, St. Louis School, Maryknoll School and Catholic Charities. Its grant to the PUEO program marks the foundation's first major grant to a programmatic activity.
With such substantial support to sustain the program for the next six years, PUEO will be able to work with 280 public middle and high school students, each returning for seven summers from before sixth grade to before senior year, to provide them with skills and programs that introduce them to the variety of career options that a college education can provide. Foundation trustee Ken Okamoto applauds PUEO's work in "positively shaping students' lives" and is pleased that with the foundation's support, the newly named Clarence T.C. Ching PUEO Program at Punahou School will serve hundreds of public school students for many years.