Hoku Scholars provides pro-active scholarships to K-12 students in economic need, allowing them to access the same opportunities as their peers while building a competitive college profile.



Diamond is a student at the University of Vermont. Hoku helped offset the financial burden of her preparing for college.



Hoku supported Jomari as he worked his way through JROTC programs to become a leader in the armed forces.



Hoku covered the costs of books for a college math class that Kureha enrolled in during her sophomore year of HS.

Proactive Scholarships

The White House advocates for access to summer and other enrichments activities at a young age as a way to increase the pool of college-eligible, low-income students.

That said, most scholarships today are awarded upon high school graduation after a student has already demonstrated achievement. This is why Hoku instead chooses to award "proactive" scholarships to students during elementary, middle, and high school as a way to develop their passion, leadership skills, and learning - not reward their historic existence. We financially support access to enrichment programs to students from the Waianae Coast at younger ages.

The benefits of such experiences compound over their future educational and professional years, making the impact of these opportunities significant. 

We believe access to early enrichment experiences can help shape the post-secondary trajectory of Waianae Coast students.

What Can I Apply For?

Students can apply for scholarships for enrichment activities that promote their personal development, support their passion towards an extracurricular activity, increase their leadership skills, or increase the competitiveness of their college application. We strongly support students who find enrichment activities to complete over their school breaks. We prefer students keep busy during their breaks and surround themselves with activities that promote learning.

Some ideas to get you thinking:

Attention Activity Organizers: If you have an idea for an enrichment activity, and will host it on the Waianae Coast, please apply for funding. In as much as we want students to attend enrichment activities, we also want more enrichment activities to be available on the Waianae Coast.



students supported


awarded to students to date


fundraised and in endowment (our source to provide awards in perpetuity)


History of Hoku Scholars

In 2012 a group of teachers from Waianae Intermediate and Waianae High School established a fund to provide mentorship and financial support to students from Waianae High School.

Between 2013-2016, the Hoku Scholars program supported 60+ students in preparing for college as they progressed from 8th to 12th grade. Hoku created a system for students to accrue stipends that helped pay for their college tuition expenses. 

In 2017, Hoku switched its approach to providing proactive scholarships. Instead of awarding scholarships for college tuition, Hoku began offering scholarships early in one's education as way to provide meaningful learning experiences that could shape a student's educational trajectory.

Through the support of the Hoku Relay (founded in 2015) Hoku has been able to endow a fund that enables the providing of proactive scholarships in perpetuity to Waianae Coast students.

Meet the team


Mark Cassidy

Founder, Board Member


Mark was a teacher at Waianae Intermediate from 2010-2012. In an effort to support his students after he left O`ahu, he founded Hoku Scholars and began fundraising to provide mentoring and financial support to students from Waianae.

Mark attends the Stanford Graduate School of Business and remains committed to channeling more resources and support to the Waianae community. 

Chad Jens

Co-Founder, Board Member


Chad taught mathematics at Waianae High School from 2011-2013, where he mentored the first thirteen Hoku Scholars during lunch, after school, and on some weekends. Teaching was the most challenging and personally rewarding job he's had.

Chad now works at Google and spends his 20% time working on philanthropic efforts with Google.org. He spends his free time thinking about moving back to Hawaii.

Jacob Johnson

Hoku Relay Founder, Board Member


Jacob taught mathematics at Kawananakoa Middle School in Honolulu from 2009 - 2012. Combining his love of running and of providing educational opportunity to all students, he launched the Hoku Relay in 2015 to support Hoku Scholars.

Jacob works for GCA Advisors, an investment bank focusing on the technology sector. He enjoys biking, running, swimming, and talking about the Hoku Relay.