Thursday, February 26, 2015

UH receives $1.2 million donation

The University of Hawaii is hoping that a $1.2 million gift by an anonymous fan will inspire others to contribute to the financially-challenged athletic department.

The estate planning gift, which is said to be one of the biggest ever earmarked for athletics, is scheduled to be celebrated with a ceremonial check presentation at halftime of Thursday night's UH-Long Beach State men's basketball game at the Stan Sheriff Center.

"This is a great way to inspire others to give to the university," said Kimo Kai of the UH Foundation.
The pledge comes as UH has redoubled efforts to reach out to the community to help underwrite the 21-sport, $32 million athletic program in the absence of additional state and university funds.

UH officials said when the gift is realized it will be spread across all the department teams and band.
UH Manoa Chancellor Robert Bley-Vroman said in a statement, "Personal gifts such as this one will help student-athletes for years to come fulfill their academic and athletic potential. By investing in our athletics program, donors are also enriching our community by keeping top-notch athletic events accessible to all, and stimulating a range of economic benefits."

The same donor, a woman whose identity UH declined to reveal, presented the department with a $875,000 through a charitable remainder trust in 2011, bringing her total to more than $2 million, official said.

The previous gift was to establish three endowments benefitting Rainbow Wahine sports — the Rainbow Wahine Volleyball Program Endowment, the Rainbow Wahine Basketball Program Endowment and the Softball Program Endowment — in recognition of the 40th anniversary of Rainbow Wahine sports.

"This is a tremendous philanthropic gift donation for UH athletics and we are very appreciative of the support for all of our student-athletes," athletic director Ben Jay said. "It is our hope that this generous gift will stimulate additional gift donations to support UH athletics. It is also a great example of the many ways to contribute to UH and our athletic programs."

The largest gift to athletics on record is $5 million from the Clarence T. C. Ching Foundation which is being used to help construct the athletic facility of the same name.

The anonymous donor's attorney, Thomas Mui said, "While my client was never an athlete herself, she appreciates the role that UH Athletics plays in our local community both in terms of serving as a healthy outlet for our young people and as a way for them to further their education. It is her hope and mine that this gift will serve as an incentive for others to contribute to and support UH Athletics at a time when the money is sorely needed."

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