Hawaii First Federal Credit Union has teamed up with the Office for Hawaiian Affairs to help fuel economic empowerment among locals.
With the support of OHA, Hawaii First has developed the Native Hawaiian Prosperity Program, as a way to help provide the tools Hawaii County residents want and need to overcome poverty.
The program includes the expansion of the Hawaii First Community Resource Center to Hilo, no cost financial counseling to Hawaii County residents, financial education outreach to various Hawaii County schools, and resource assistance focused on economic empowerment.
“The partnership Hawaii First has established with OHA has been one of deliverables. We work on the front lines with our community members and see what works and what doesn’t from day to day. The impact these vital resources are making on our island is what keeps us striving to make these programs possible. It is our goal to address Kahua Waiwai, Mauli Ola and Ho`ona`auao. It is these three strategic goals that OHA has prioritized and we embrace,” said Laura Aguirre, Hawaii First president/CEO.
As part of the program, Hawaii First’s signature Individual Development Accounts have been well received so far. IDAs are matched savings accounts where participants set a goal, save their own money for that goal through a mix of financial education, counseling and small business development, to achieving regularly set deposits. When all requirements have been met, participants’ savings are then matched $4 for every $1 saved, giving them a credit toward necessary purchases required for their goal.