Ulupono Initiative


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June 25, 2009

Ulupono Initiative Launches to Catalyze Sustainability Efforts in Hawaii

Categories: Press Release

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New Social Investment Firm Names Local Experts as General Partners

HONOLULU – eBay founder Pierre Omidyar and his wife Pam today announced the formation of the Ulupono Initiative, a social investment firm dedicated to improving the quality of life for Hawaii’s residents through sustainability. The organization will invest in local businesses and philanthropic organizations focused on renewable energy, local food production, and waste reduction. The Ulupono Initiative seeks to energize the state’s economy and increase its self-reliance through these investments. Local business executives Kyle Datta and Robin Campaniano will co-lead the Ulupono Initiative as general partners.

“Pam and I are inspired by the ideas and hard work of the many people leading sustainability efforts in Hawaii today. We look forward to working with the local community for many years as we discover new ways to improve the quality of life for everyone who calls Hawaii home,” said Pierre Omidyar, founder and sponsor of the Ulupono Initiative. “We are excited to have a leadership team in Kyle and Robin that truly understands Hawaii’s unique opportunities and challenges. The team also has the business and sustainability expertise needed to make the Ulupono Initiative vision a reality.”

Based in Honolulu, the Ulupono Initiative will make investments in organizations and companies with creative ideas and business models that provide pathways toward sustainability.

“I am honored to be part of this team and look forward to putting my business background to work in a way that will help strengthen Hawaii’s economy,” said Campaniano, general partner, Ulupono Initiative. “Our investment strategy is dependent upon finding and supporting innovative sustainability ideas and business models that have the potential to make a significant difference for Hawaii. To achieve this, the Ulupono Initiative will provide capital and strategic assistance to a variety of organizations, including small and large businesses and philanthropies, on Oahu and neighbor islands.”

Ulupono – meaning to prosper through the right, or pono, path – is a concept already familiar to Hawaii’s residents. Across the islands, people are already pioneering ways to change how they power their homes, feed their families, and how much they throw away.

“A truly sustainable island society must be able to consistently and affordably provide its residents with basic necessities like food and energy while also finding ways to effectively manage waste,” said Datta, general partner, Ulupono Initiative. “The Ulupono Initiative will support and help scale local ideas that can help bring about Hawaii’s transformation to sustainability and that might also provide a demonstration effect for others.”

Together, general partners Campaniano and Datta lead strategic planning and oversee execution for the Ulupono Initiative.


Campaniano is president and CEO of AIG Hawaii Insurance Company and Hawaii Insurance Consultants. Prior to joining AIG Hawaii, Campaniano was insurance commissioner for the state of Hawaii, and district director and district counsel for the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Honolulu District Office. He also practiced law in the private and public sectors. Campaniano earned his Bachelor of Arts and master’s of business administration degrees from the University of Hawaii and his law degree from the University of San Francisco. He has received many accolades for his business leadership and his extensive involvement in Hawaii’s business community and numerous charitable endeavors.

Datta was recently the CEO of U.S. Biodiesel Group, a national biodiesel firm funded by private equity. Prior to this role, Datta was Managing Director of Research and Consulting at the Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI). He is co-author of RMI’s last two major books on energy Winning the Oil End Game and Small is Profitable. Datta was formerly a vice president at Booz Allen Hamilton and served as managing partner of the firm’s energy practice in Singapore, and as leader of the U.S. Utility practice. During his twelve years at Booz Allen, Datta worked with Fortune 100 energy companies on strategy, operations, and environmental sustainability in the U.S., Europe, Japan, Asia and Latin America. Datta received a master’s in public and private management from the Yale School of Organization and Management and a master’s in environmental science in resource economics from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies.

For more information about the Ulupono Initiative and the Omidyars’ sustainability work in Hawaii, please visit www.ulupono.com.

About Ulupono Initiative

The Ulupono Initiative is a Hawaii-based business and social investment firm sponsored by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar and his wife Pam. Rooted in the local wisdom that a healthy environment and a healthy economy go hand in hand, the Ulupono Initiative invests in and helps scale innovative Hawaii-based organizations to catalyze economic and social change in the areas of waste reduction, local food production and renewable energy. By growing a progressive, thriving economy based on sustainability, the Ulupono Initiative ultimately aims to improve the quality of life for Hawaii’s people.