What is Ulupono Initiative?
Ulupono Initiative is a mission-driven venture of The Omidyar Group, founded by Pierre and Pam Omidyar. Ulupono Initiative invests in and helps scale innovative organizations to catalyze economic, social, and community change in its focus areas of local food production, renewable energy, clean transportation and better management of freshwater and waste.
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 investment 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 increase local food production, renewable energy, clean transportation, and better management of freshwater and 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 began its work 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 his wife, 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 uses a hybrid model of philanthropy to make investments in for-profit companies as well as grants to nonprofit organizations.
Both Pierre and Pam spent a portion of their childhoods growing up in Hawaii and they wanted to return home to provide a similar experience for their children. They made the move back in 2006 and immediately began to explore how they could use their hybrid model of philanthropy to 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 formed Ulupono Initiative in 2009 and brought together a diverse team to build partnerships, research innovative projects and invest in Hawaii. Ulupono Initiative is a mission-driven venture 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 the Ulupono Fund at the Hawaii Community Foundation.
How much has Ulupono Initiative invested since it was established?
Since 2009, Ulupono Initiative has committed more than $79 million in investments and grants.
How many employees does Ulupono Initiative have?
Ulupono Initiative’s staff is made up of about 13 professionals from a variety of fields, including investment banking, philanthropy, finance, government affairs and communications.
Where is Ulupono Initiative located?
Ulupono Initiative’s offices are located in downtown Honolulu. Our mailing address is: P.O. Box 2938Honolulu, HI 96802
How are the Hawaii Leadership Forum, Honolulu Civil Beat, Omidyar Fellows, Hawaii Data Collaborative, and Ulupono Initiative connected?
All of these organizations were established or are ventures that represent the Omidyars’ collective investment in Hawaii. While they are all funded by the Omidyars, each operates as an independent organization with its own budget, goals and objectives to help Hawaii. To learn more about the Omidyars’ personal, professional and philanthropic interests, please visit www.OmidyarGroup.com.
How did the Omidyars decide what areas of need 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 has evolved 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. Pam continues her work with the organization as a member of the Board of Directors. While she is not involved in the day-to-day operations, she keeps informed about the progress made toward the organization’s goals.