Philippine cultural center receives $1.5M state grant from Hawaii

Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie

Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie

Hawaii has released a state capital improvement grant to help construct the nonprofit Kauai Philippine Cultural Center (KPCC) in the capital city of Honolulu. The grant was released on May 6 a week into the Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month of May.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie presented a $1.5 million check to Kauai Mayor Bernard P. Carvalho, Jr. and representatives of the KPCC, according a statement issued by the Office of the Governor. With the release of the grant, construction of the 30,000-square foot facility may now begin.

“The Kauai Philippine Cultural Center will benefit the entire community as a central venue for events and activities, celebrating the contributions of the Filipino community on Kauai and across the islands,” said Abercrombie. “Recognizing and celebrating our diversity, the center will also highlight Hawaii’s many ethnic communities and bridge Kauai’s multi-cultural heritage and history for both residents and visitors.”

The governor first had the opportunity to inform the Kauai community about the funds’ release in person on April 12. During that site visit, he reaffirmed his administration’s commitment to expediting capital improvement investments, like the cultural center, that will serve to further stimulate the economy and generate local jobs while benefiting community members.

“The Board of Directors of the Kauai Philippine Cultural Center wants to express our thanks to Governor Abercrombie, his administration and legislators for supporting this worthwhile project,” said Lesther Calipjo, president of the Kauai Philippine Cultural Center. “We are a step closer to our dream becoming reality – ‘A Place for All.’ ”

Funds for the grant were appropriated by the 2012 Legislature.

“I am so happy that Hawaii is giving that big a grant,” said community leader Bing Branigin of the National Federation of Filipino American Associations or NaFFAA. “Not all states give that kind of grant to our cultural centers, in fact some of them are lacking funds.”

There are approximately 340,000 Filipinos in Hawaii, the second biggest concentration of FilAms next to California (1.5 million).

The Kauai Philippine Cultural Center, a Lihue-based 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, was established in 2011 with the mission “to provide, promote and enhance cultural, economic educational training and social programs as well as cultural exchange in a multi-ethnic environment.” The organization has leased 3.491 acres in Puhi from the County of Kauai for 99 years, with an annual lease payment of $1 per year. Projected for completion in 2016, the center will consist of a classroom, ballroom, office space, bathrooms, and a small kitchen.

For more information about the center, visit

The governor with Filipino community leaders in Hawaii.

The governor with Filipino community leaders in Hawaii.

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