Ulupono Initiative
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Frequently Asked Questions


What is Ulupono Initiative?

Ulupono Initiative is a for-profit impact investment firm established by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar and his wife, Pam. We invest in and help scale innovative organizations to catalyze economic, social, and community change in three focus areas.

What does Ulupono mean?

Loosely translated, Ulupono means to prosper on the right path. We believe our role is to help catalyze projects to find large-scale solutions that benefit Hawaii in a meaningful way. Through our success with those partners, we can continue our investments toward a more self-reliant Hawaii.

On what issues does Ulupono Initiative focus?

Ulupono Initiative strives to improve the quality of life for the people of Hawaii by working toward solutions that create more locally grown food; increase clean, renewable energy production; and reduce waste.

How does Ulupono Initiative decide which projects, people and organizations would be potential partners?

Ulupono views its focus areas with a systems approach. We continually work to identify the key partners, leverage points and linkages to determine where the most impact can occur. Our goal is to infuse investment capital, or grants, along with human capital guidance to help our partner organizations find success. We seek knowledgeable partners with relevant experience, a proven management team and record, and the ability to challenge the status quo. We look for those who are finding innovative, catalytic approaches that can help to transform our community by creating more independence in food, energy and waste systems.

When was Ulupono Initiative established?

Ulupono Initiative was established in 2009.

Why did Pierre and Pam create Ulupono Initiative?

The formation of Ulupono Initiative was inspired by Pierre’s experience at eBay, which he founded in 1995 based on his beliefs in the potential of individuals and the power of markets. Starting from the premise that people are basically good, Pierre created a platform that gave everyone equal access to information, opportunity, and tools; the ability to connect to others with shared interests; and incentives to engage constructively with trading partners. After eBay became a public company in 1998, Pierre and Pam co-founded the Omidyar Foundation to support nonprofits. Simultaneously, eBay’s vast scale and accelerating social impact were demonstrating that business could also be an effective tool for making the world a better place. In response, they broadened their scope to form Omidyar Network, which makes investments in for-profit companies as well as grants to nonprofit organizations.

Since making Hawaii their home, Pierre and Pam Omidyar have been thinking about how they could contribute to efforts related to sustaining the land and energizing the economy. After meeting and working with many of the people and organizations leading these efforts across the islands, the Omidyars narrowed their focus to the areas of waste reduction, local food production, and renewable energy. Pierre and Pam believe these are areas where they can bring their business and philanthropic experiences to bear in a way that will affect positive, sustainable change for Hawaii.Using their experience with Omidyar Network as a model, the Omidyars brought together a diverse team to build partnerships, research innovative projects and invest in Hawaii.

Ulupono Initiative is part of The Omidyar Group. For more information about the Omidyars’ personal, professional and philanthropic interests, visit www.OmidyarGroup.com.

How is Ulupono Initiative structured?

Ulupono Initiative is structured to support the notion that philanthropy is more than a type of funding. In its truest sense, philanthropy is about improving the lives of others, independent of the mechanism. Consequently, we work across the social and business sectors, operating as a Limited Liability Company (LLC). Our for-profit investments are made through our LLC. We also provide grant funding and program-related investments to non-profit organizations through our Ulupono donor-advised fund at the Hawaii Community Foundation.

How much has Ulupono Initiative invested since it was established?

Since 2009, Ulupono Initiative has committed more than $44 million in investments and grants. Of that, more than $36 million has been invested in for-profit companies and nearly $8 million has been granted to non-profit organizations.

How many employees does Ulupono Initiative have?

Ulupono Initiative’s staff is made up of about 10 professionals from a variety of fields, including venture capital, investment banking, philanthropy, finance, and communications.

Where is Ulupono Initiative located?

Ulupono Initiative is located in downtown Honolulu at:

999 Bishop Street, Suite 1202
Honolulu, HI 96813

How are Omidyar Network, Humanity United, HopeLab, and the Ulupono Initiative connected?

All of these organizations are part of The Omidyar Group, which is a family of companies dedicated to improving the lives of people around the world. To learn more about the Omidyars’ personal, professional and philanthropic interests, please visit www.OmidyarGroup.com.

How did the Omidyars decide what topics to address at Ulupono Initiative?

Since making Hawaii their home, Pierre and Pam Omidyar have been thinking about how they could contribute to efforts related to sustaining the land and energizing the economy. After meeting and working with many of the people and organizations leading these efforts across the islands, the Omidyars narrowed their focus to the areas of waste reduction, local food production, and renewable energy. Pierre and Pam believe these are areas where they can bring their business and philanthropic experiences to bear in a way that will affect positive, sustainable change for Hawaii. Over the years, the scope might evolve to include other areas that help support the early sector areas of focus.

Are the Omidyars the only funders of Ulupono Initiative?

Yes. Pierre and Pam Omidyar are the sole founders and funders of Ulupono Initiative.

What are Pierre and Pam’s roles within the organization?

Both Pierre and Pam are co-founders of Ulupono Initiative and continue their work with the organization as members of the Board of Directors.

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