Member Spotlight: TMT's THINK Fund Helping Hawai'i Island Students and Parents

Business First! Pau Hana

The Hawai'i Island New Knowledge (THINK) Fund was initiated in 2014 prior to the initial start of construction with a commitment of $1 million per year for Hawaii Island STEM endeavors. The Hawaii Community Foundation (HCF) and the Pauahi Foundation administer the Fund with scholarship, classroom, student and STEM programming initiatives with Pauahi focusing on Native Hawaiian recipients.


In spite of many setbacks TMT has continued to its commitment to the THINK Fund. Within the next few weeks TMT will have funded $4 million to the THINK Fund initiative for Hawaii Island students.


THINK Fund at Hawaii Community Foundation

The THINK Fund at HCF has benefitted 26,000 students and 1,000 teachers on Hawai'i Island. Grants and scholarships seek to provide high-quality, career-connected STEM education and experiences to Hawai'i Island's most underserved youth.


College Scholarships

  • College scholarships totaling over $325,000 have been awarded to 54 Hawai'i Island students with financial need.
  • Scholarships support students pursuing careers in STEM and future STEM educators who intend to teach in Hawai'i Island schools.


STEM Learning Grants

  • THINK Fund at HCF provided more than $685,000 in grants that leveraged an additional $1.5 million from other funders to support innovative STEM programs and activities.
  • $300,000 is committed to the applications currently in process.
  • Programs receiving support must demonstrate success recruiting and addressing the needs of groups underrepresented in STEM fields, which includes students in rural communities, Native Hawaiians, and those disengaged in school.


Classroom Grants through

  • $250,000 has been committed to providing immediate funding for high-quality, ready-to-go STEM projects in Hawai'i Island classrooms.
  • High need schools received 78% of the funding.
  • 39 out of 55 public and public charter schools on Hawai'i Island have received grants, schools with high need students receiving 78% of the funding.


Programs for Children of Incarcerated Parents

  • Hawaii Community Foundation will solicit proposals to fund programs serving this target group for at least $5,000 per year, beginning this year.


Applications are Open

Applications are open for Career Connected Learning - this is the new name for the redesigned STEM Learning Partnership. HCF is encouraging all previous STEM Learning Partnership grantees to review the request for proposals and apply if they have great programs that fit the parameters. The parameters are very similar to the previous parameters, with a stronger emphasis on how the STEM education activities help participants explore and move into local STEM careers.


Deadline is Thursday, February 15.


THINK Fund at Pauahi Foundation

The TMT THINK Fund at Pauahi has funded thirty-three college scholarships to date, with all students funded for their entire academic career. Total of $568,000. Fifteen scholarships are planned for 2018.

Twenty-three students had full scholarships to Science Camps of America totaling $55,000. Fourteen more Science Camp scholarships will be awarded in 2018.

All students were Native Hawaiian.


About TMT

The Thirty Meter Telescope Project has been developed as collaboration among Caltech, UC, the Association of Canadian Universities for Research in Astronomy (ACURA), and the national institutes of Japan, China, and India with the goal to design, develop, construct, and operate a thirty-meter class telescope and observatory on Mauna Kea in cooperation with the University of Hawaii (TMT Project). The TMT International Observatory LLC (TIO), a non-profit organization, was established in May 2014 to carry out the construction and operation phases of the TMT Project. The Members of TIO are Caltech, UC, the National Institutes of Natural Sciences of Japan, the National Astronomical Observatories of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the Department of Science and Technology of India, and the National Research Council (Canada); the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA) is a TIO Associate. Major funding has been provided by the Gordon & Betty Moore Foundation.

For more information about the TMT project, visit, or follow @TMTHawaii.