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Theory of Change

Creating change on a scale needed to break the cycle of poverty necessitates improvements at all levels of the ecosystem — from the immediate environment where an individual lives with ‘ohana, to the larger context of school, church, and community, and the still larger arena that encompasses the state, the nation, and the world.

It is only by understanding complex, dynamic social issues across all of these dimensions that we can identify and act on opportunities that offer the greatest impact. And it is only by working closely with others across the system that we can create change that is sustainable. 

Our Challenges

Native Hawaiian children and their ‘ohana are overrepresented in the justice, child welfare, special education, and healthcare systems. Their needs are simply not being served. We believe that by directing our resources to individuals who are the most vulnerable — those who are chronically placed at-risk by their bleak circumstances — we’re enabling them to create better lives and consider bigger dreams. By uplifting the most disadvantaged among us, the welfare of our whole community will improve. 

Teen Pregnancy:  

The proportion of live births to teen mothers was about twice as high among Native Hawaiians (16.1%) as in the statewide population (8.4%) in 2000, 2004, and 2008. (Ka Huakaʻi 2014)


Youth Incarceration:  

Native Hawaiians are significantly overrepresented in the juvenile justice system.  Over two thirds (69.1%) of girls and about half of boys (53.1%) imprisioned at Hawaii Youth Correctional Facility in 2007 were Native Hawaiian.  (HŪLILI Vol. 7 2011)


30.5% using homeless services in 2015 were Native Hawaiian.  (Homeless Service Utilization Report, Hawaiʻi 2015)


By uplifting the most disadvantaged among us, the welfare of our whole community will improve.


For a brief introduction to our current "Working Theory of Change," please see the video below:

Mahalo to LT interns Anela Summers and Jazmin Domingo for creating our TOC video!

Community Informational Session

The following video presentation of our 2016/17 community informational sessions provides an introduction to our collaborative work with community partners.  For more information about partnering with the trust, please contact Summer Keliʻipio at skeliipio@onipaa.org.