Papakōlea Community Development Corporation
Residents of the Hawaiian homestead community of Papakōlea formed the Papakōlea Community Development Corporation (PCDC) in 1999. Our mission is to mobilize broad-based community participation; promoting self-determination by developing strong and effective community leaders; and management of the Papakōlea Full Service Community Center. Currently, the main goal of our full-service community center is to arrange a broad scope of culturally relevant services, including entrepreneurial opportunities, health and human services, educational and recreational activities.
The operation of a full service community center is part of the movement to develop community-based organizations in Hawaiian homestead areas as viable self-determined entities. PCDC represents an alliance of the four major organizations in Papakōlea—Papakōlea Community Association (1934), Kalawahine Streamside Association (2000), Kewalo Hawaiian Homestead Association (1950), and Kula No Na Po’e Hawaii (1992). These entities have aligned themselves in decision making to strengthen the community’s social and economic support foundation. PCDC’s primary role is to manage and operate the community center for use by Papakōlea residents and organizations and to house programs developed in partnership with other organizations and agencies.
Papakōlea has a rich and unique history as one of the first homestead communities designated under the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act, 1920. Papakōlea refers to the communities of Papakōlea, Kewalo and Kalawahine. Papakōlea is located in the Punchbowl-Tantalus area, home to the largest concentration of Native Hawaiians in urban Honolulu, with eighty-five percent of residents being full or part-Hawaiian. Many of the elders have passed on a legacy of community pride and involvement to the younger generations. There is a long history of community participation to improve the lives of the children and their families. At the same time, residents continue to face many challenges. According to the 2000 Census, there are 342 families among 1,575 residents, with 58% of all resident families categorized as low-to-moderate income. Eleven percent of all families and 20 percent of all residents live below the federal poverty line. The unemployment rate of 12 percent is twice that of the state overall.
The PCDC is managed by a volunteer “working” board of directors. Community development and PCDC business is affected by the board. Board members bring a wealth of specialized expertise to management, project development and implementation, and community leadership expansion. They also mobilize resources, do grant-writing and serve as liaisons within community and non-profit networks statewide. A staff of four full and part-time residents oversee the day to day operations of the center.
Over the past four years, PCDC has successfully worked to assume management control of the Papakōlea Community Park as the new Community Service Center. In September 2002, the keys to the Papakōlea Community Center were turned over to the Papakōlea Community Development Corporation under a twenty-year lease from Department of Hawaiian Homelands (DHHL). With the assistance of DHHL, this transition from the City and County Parks and Recreations Department took place two years ahead of our planned schedule. PCDC has applied for, received, and managed various grants since its inception and received its 501(c) 3 status in July of 2001. In 1999, a major five-year commitment for funding was granted by the Hawaii Community Foundation’s Agenda for Building Community Grant. Other major grants include Department of Hawaiian Home Lands, Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism and CDBG through Empower Oahu. Over the past four years, PCDC has received and managed greater than $500,000 in grants and donations.
Papakōlea organizations have continued to use the Center facilities and new programs have also been established. Micro-enterprise training, weekly lomi-lomi (Hawaiian healing massage), AA meetings and a Sunday church service are provided. PCDC has also built strong partnerships with agencies willing to provide services in Papakōlea. Alu Like, Ke Ola Mamo, Baseyard Hawaii and the Boys and Girls Club of Honolulu have collaborated to provide services for residents. Plans are being finalized for H.I.P.P.Y and “Tutu and Me” to provide early childhood education programs in the near future.
PCDC intends to continue to collaborate with other service providers to provide many of the programs desired by residents as well as with private firms to provide employment training and job opportunities. We seek to establish an endowment fund to assure that basic maintenance and operational costs are covered in perpetuity. As we build upon a legacy that will be passed on for generations to come.