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About Us

Lei Ho`olaha CDFI is an equal opportunity provider


To provide financial training and loans to charter schools and community centers in the State of Hawai'i with the overall goal of making them creditworthy for commercial bank facilities. Initial primary focus will be on the charter schools of Hawai'i.


  • KALO sponsored the CDFI as part of its outreach efforts to improve the financial capacity and facilities of the 17 native Hawaiian charter schools.
  • Lei Ho’olaha (the CDFI) became an independent organization in March 2011.
  • The CDFI is applying for a separate tax exempt status and plans to apply for certification by the end of the year.
  • For operating funds, KALO has received three Technical Assistance grants from the CDFI Fund (2009, 2010 and 2011) as well as support from Kamehameha Schools.



  • Lei Ho’olaha active board members are:
    • Roberta Chu,(President) Hawai'i Island Senior Vice President, Bank of Hawai'i
    • Charlene Hoe, (Vice President) Director, Hakipu'u Learning Center PCS and retired Director of External Programs, Kamehameha Schools
    • Taffi Wise,(Treasurer) Executive Director, Kanu o ka 'Aina Learning 'Ohana
    • Lauren Nahme, Director of Strategic Planning, Kamehameha Schools
    • Steve Kaaa, Senior Vice President & Area Manager, Branch Manager of the Waikiki Branch, First Hawaiian Bank
    • LeeAnn Crabbe, Vice President , Queen Liliʻuokalani Trust
    • Gregory Chun, Ph.D., Hui 'Aina Momona
    • Nancy Levenson, Treasurer & Board Member, Kanu o ka 'Aina Learning 'Ohana 

Loan Committee - The Loan Committee is a standing committee of the Board with responsibilities to provide insights and oversight to the Loan Staff. 

  •  The Loan Committee consists of the following people:
    • Brant Chillingworth, Program Officer, Hau‘oli Mau Loa Foundation and former CRA Officer, Bank of Hawai'i
    • Katie Benioni, Chief Financial Officer, Kanu o ka 'Aina Learning 'Ohana
    • Lei Ho’olaha Board Members Roberta Chu and Lauren Nahme


  • US Treasury CDFI Fund provided the initial organizational and operational support as well as early funding.
  • Oweesta has provided excellent consulting support for loan policies and market study analysis
  • Kamehameha Schools provided much of the initial concept funding support

Outreach and Technical Assistance since 2008 provided:

  • The first market study of capital needs of the Hawaiian charter schools
  • Presentations to all charter schools and Na Lei Na’auao (Hawaiian Focused Charter Schools)
  • Outreach to a number of charter schools assessing their TA and capital needs