Ola i ka wai.
Water is life.
To ancient Hawaiians, water was life. The word, “waiwai”, refers to prosperity and wealth and today, is utilized to refer to financial abundance, as well.


Catholic Charities Hawaiʻi (CCH), Central Intake, Information and Referral
2050 Main Street, Suite 3A, Wailuku, HI 96793
  • Assistance with basic material needs, such as clothing and personal hygiene items (once every 90 days)
  • Housing placement program offers one-time emergency rental assistance for individuals and families when funds are available
  • One-time financial assistance for children 17 and younger that have special medical needs or who have been exposed to domestic violence, when funding is available


Credit Check Resources
  • You can get one free credit check per year through Annual Credit Report, P.O. Box 105283, Atlanta, GA 30348 (
OR through the 3 major credit bureaus in the U.S.:


Family Programs Hawaiʻi (FPH) Geist Enhancement Funds
250 Vineyard Street, Honolulu, HI 96813
  • Funds available (up to $500 per year) for children in foster care or children under 18 that experienced abuse or neglect
  • Requests only accepted from a professional working with the child (SWs, GALs, therapists, outreach workers, etc.)
Funds available for:
  • Extracurricular school expenses (e.g., athletic uniforms, field trip fees, club dues)
  • School expenses (e.g., student activity card, yearbook, prom, graduation attire, senior portraits, field trips, etc.)
  • After-school activities, hobbies, sports (e.g., hula lessons, soccer registration, summer camp)
  • Other quality of life enhancements (e.g., birthday gifts, Christmas gifts, books, toys)


Friends of the Children’s Justice Center (FCJC) of Maui
1773-A Wili Pā Loop, Wailuku, HI 96793
  • Funds available (up to $500 per year) for children in foster care or children under 18 that experienced abuse or neglect
  • Requests only accepted from a professional working with the child (SWs, GALs, therapists, outreach workers, etc.)
Funds available for:
  • Special Needs: school-related expenses, social, hobby, intercession, after school, sports, and other quality of life needs
  • Medical: basic medical, dental, and therapy counseling or care not covered by insurance or government programs
  • Transportation: air and ground transportation for emergency removal from a dangerous situation, family visitation, evaluations relocation, or participation in a school-related excursion
  • Character building / self-esteem: for activities that would foster pride in accomplishments or exploring a passion (e.g., dance, sports, hula lessons, etc.)
  • Holiday Gifts: birthday gifts, Christmas gifts, etc.


General Assistance (GA) Program
  • Provides cash benefits for food, clothing, shelter, and other essentials to adults ages 18 to 64, without minor dependents, who are temporarily disabled and do not qualify for Social Security
  • Currently, the benefit is $348 per month for an individual
  • To be eligible, the adult must have little or no income, not qualify for a federal category of assistance, and be certified by a DHS medical board to be unable to engage in any substantial employment of at least 30 hours per week for a period of at least 60 days
  • Assets may not exceed $2,000 for a single person and $3,000 for a couple to maintain eligibility


Hawaiian Community Assets (HCA)
200 North Vineyard Boulevard, Suite A300, Honolulu, HI 96817
  • Offers Loan Packaging and Processing to secure affordable mortgage financing to purchase a home
  • HCA Managing Assets to Change Hawaiʻi (MATCH) Program opens Individual Development Accounts (IDA) to provide youth and families with a 2:1 match savings up to a total of $1,000 toward the purchase of an identified savings goal
  • Credit Builder Micro-Loans Program provides secured, low-interest fixed-rate loans up to $10,000 to establish and improve credit
  • TAX and FAFSA Preparation Assistance to file for Earned Income and Child Tax Credits and Federal Pell Grant, Work-Study, and student loans through the Federal Government
  • All participants in HCA programs are required to complete the Kahua Waiwai housing / financial education workshops, establish long-terms savings habits, and receive individualized housing / credit counseling from HCA
  • Serves ALL low- and moderate-income families living in Hawaiʻi regardless of race with specialization in the housing needs of Native Hawaiians


HI H.O.P.E.S Match (formerly known as the Opportunity Passport Program)
1130 North Nimitz Highway, Suite C-210, Honolulu, HI 96817
  • After completing Financial Literacy Training (FLT), participants will open an Individual Development Account (IDA) at Bank of Hawaiʻi that can be matched up to $1,000 per year ($3,000 lifetime match limit)
  • Assistance with the opening of an EASE checking account is also offered to participants, but it is optional
  • Participants required to take a web-based survey in April and October each year; participant will be paid $40 each time they take the survey
  • Matches can be made for: vehicle purchase, rental security deposit and first month’s rent, educational expenses (including computers, tablets, etc.), health care or insurance costs, business start-up, investments, credit building or repair, and utility deposits (gas, electricity, and water only)
  • Participants must be between the ages of 14 to 25 and either currently or formerly in public child welfare foster care system at least one day after their 14th birthday
  • Contact Maile Tsurusato (


HI H.O.P.E.S Youth Leadership Board (YLB)
1130 North Nimitz Highway, Suite C-210, Honolulu, HI 96817
  • Comprises of current and former foster youth between the ages of 14 and 26
  • Serves as the youth voice for HI H.O.P.E.S Initiative and as the Youth Advisory Council for the Department of Human Services, Child Welfare Services
  • Role of the boards is to educate others on the needs of foster care youth, advocate for improvements in the child welfare system, and collaborate with community partners to raise awareness, affect change and increase opportunities for young people in and out of foster care
  • Like them on Facebook and follow on Twitter and Instagram to see what the board is working on. Visit their website for more information


Imua Kākou (IK), Voluntary Care to 21 Program
(1-844-588-IMUA) or (1-844-588-4682)
  • $776 per month ($9,312 per year) for former foster youth ages 18 to 21 who have aged-out of Voluntary Foster Custody, court-ordered Temporary Foster Custody, Foster Custody or Permanent Custody from the State of Hawaiʻi CWS System

Youth must be participating in one of the following activities:

  • Employed at least 80 hours per month (20 hours per week)
  • Participating in a program or activity designed to promote or remove barriers to employment
  • Attending high school, college, vocational school, or enrolled in a GED or C-Based diploma program
  • Have a medical condition preventing participation in any of the activities listed above
  • Must also meet with your assigned Imua Kākou Case Manager face-to-face once per month
  • Apply for Imua Kākou online at
  • Take a look at the IK video by clicking here


Lifeline Support Program
  • Provides a monthly discount for to help make phone and internet services more affordable to eligible consumers whose income is at or below 135% of the federal poverty guidelines OR receiving assistance from Medicaid, SNAP, SSI, FPHA or Section 8, Veterans Pension and Survivors Benefit, or Tribal programs
  • Documentation of participation in one of the public assistance programs listed above or proof of income must be uploaded and mailed
  • Participating providers include Blue Jay Wireless, Hawaiian Telcom, Inc., Mobi PCS, Safelink Wireless, Tempo Telecom


Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
1010 Richards Street, Suite 512, Honolulu, HI 96813
LIHEAP assists households with their utility bill in two ways:
  • Energy Crisis Intervention (ECI) Program assists with up to $500 to restore services to a household whose electricity or gas has been shut off within 60 days or is about to be terminated within 7 days
  • The Energy Credit (EC) Program provides households who are not in crisis with a one-time payment, which will be deposited directly into their utility accounts
  • To be eligible for the program, an application must be submitted with all individuals (related or unrelated) living at the residence along with verification of Social Security numbers for all household members, identification for all adults, must be a U.S. citizen or meet permanent residency requirements, and income and utility bills must be submitted when determining eligibility for the program
  • Applications for this program are taken annually, usually in May or June


Maui Community Food Bank (MFB)
760 Kolu Street, Wailuku, HI 96793
  • Collects, warehouses, and distributes mass quantities of perishable and non-perishable food items through a network of community partnerships in Maui County including the rural communities of Hana, Molokai, and Lanai
  • Serves the working poor, children and youth, seniors, the homeless, and anyone who is at risk of going hungry


SafeLink Wireless Program (SWP)
P.O. Box 220009, Milwaukie, OR 97269
  • Provides a free cell phone or SIM Card and free cellular service (unlimited text messages and 350 minutes every month) for income eligible persons
  • Eligible consumers are those whose income is at or below 135% of the federal poverty guidelines or receiving assistance through Medicaid, SNAP, SSI, FPHA or Section 8, Veterans Pension and Survivors Benefit, or Tribal programs
  • Applications may be downloaded or completed online
  • Documentation of participation in one of the public assistance programs listed above or proof of income must be uploaded, mailed, or faxed
  • Monthly service allowance is for 12 months and must re-qualify once a year thereafter


Social Security Income (SSI) Program
  • Designed to help aged, blind, and disabled people, who have little or no income
  • Provides cash to meet basic needs for food, clothing, and shelter
  • Applicant must fill out the online disability report to get the process started; and
  • Call 1-800-772-1213 to schedule an appointment with a Social Security representative to complete the process
  • Applicants may also visit the local Social Security office to apply


Social Security Survivor’s Benefits
  • Provides you, your spouse, and other eligible members of your family with benefits when you retire, if you become disabled, and when you die
  • If your spouse or parent passed, you may be eligible to receive benefits based on their earnings
  • Must provide original death certificate of parent or spouse, social security number for yourself and the deceased family member, your birth certificate, marriage certificate, divorce papers, dependent children’s SSN/birth certificates, or deceased person’s most recent W-2 forms and name of your bank and account number
  • Apply by phone or visit the local Social Security office


Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits (formerly known as Food Stamps)
  • Provides support to Hawaiʻi’s needy households and to those making the transition from welfare to self-sufficiency
  • Persons receiving SNAP benefits will be issued a Hawaiʻi Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) Card—a debit card that allows clients to access their SNAP benefits at food retailers
  • DHS Higher Education Foster Board Allowance payments do not count as earnings in determining household eligibility
  • Visit websites for more information or contact Aloha United Way specialists by dialing 2-1-1. Aloha United Way 211 Information and Referral line is now the primary point of entry for the SNAP program statewide


Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) (formerly known as Aid to Families with Dependent Children)
  • Time-limited welfare program for adults with children to promote self-reliance, responsibility, and family stability
  • Provides monthly cash benefits to families for food, clothing, shelter, and other essentials
  • TANF has strict income and asset limits linked to the federal poverty level for size of family
  • Requires participants to be part of the First-to-Work (FTW) Program to receive monthly cash assistance
  • FTW provides case management, employment, and support services through job readiness training, employment placement, vocational education, and skill building
  • DHS Higher Education Foster Board Allowance payments do not count as earnings in determining household eligibility
  • Households are allowed to receive TANF cash benefits for a maximum of five years in their lifetime



Alu Like, Inc., Hana Lima Scholarship Program
2969 Mapunapuna Street, Suite 200, Honolulu, HI 96819
  • $1,500 scholarship for students participating in a vocational or technical education program for occupations that can provide a "living wage"
  • Scholarship goes towards tuition and fees, books, and other required tools and uniforms
  • Hawaiian descent and a resident of Hawaiʻi
  • Enrolled at least half-time in a vocational degree or certification program in one of the approved educational institutions in Hawaiʻi—students pursuing a major in Liberal Arts are NOT eligible for this scholarship
  • Maintain a 2.0 or higher grade point average (GPA)
  • Received a high school diploma or equivalent
  • Not currently receiving any Kamehameha Schools financial aid for post-secondary education


Chafee Education and Training Voucher (ETV)
  • Awards of up to $5,000 per year to purchase items needed for attendance to college / vocational school (e.g., tuition, dorm fees, books, student loan repayments, and living expenses)
  • DHS must have had placement responsibility under HRS §587A when the youth aged-out or was placed in Legal Guardianship with a relative or Adopted from CWS after 16 years of age
  • At least 18 and under 22 years old (eligible until 23rd birthday, if receiving ETV at age 21)
  • Must have high school diploma or equivalent
  • Receipts for large expenditures must be saved and submitted to DHS upon completing the semester that funds were granted
  • Must apply for FAFSA and at least two scholarships, maintain a 2.0 GPA, and must be attending a not-for-profit school


Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
  • Pell Grant (up to $5,775 per year for 12 semesters)
  • Offers Direct Unsubsidized Loan and Direct Subsidized Loan
  • Federal Work-Study provides part-time jobs for students with financial need to earn money to help pay for college
  • Need to sign up for a Federal Student Aid (FSA) ID (username and password) at
  • Priority deadline is March 1st; students may still apply after the priority deadline—release of funds may be delayed
  • Must have a high school diploma or a GED diploma
  • Youth adopted after their 13th birthday or youth who reached their 18th birthday under Voluntary Foster Custody, Foster Custody, Permanent Custody, or Legal Guardianship qualify as an independent student
  • No parental income or tax information required
  • Verification of foster care status must be submitted to the college’s Financial Aid office


Hawaiʻi Community Foundation (HCF)
33 Lono Avenue, The Kahului Building, Suite 390, Kahului, HI 96732
  • Offers a variety of scholarships to support students who are pursuing degrees from colleges and universities, as well as those obtaining career and technical education at a community college
  • Must complete online application
  • Provide most recent grade transcript from school's registrar's office
  • Submit FAFSA Student Aid Report (SAR)
  • Complete two personal statements
  • Provide other supporting materials as required by HCF


DHS Higher Education Board Allowance Payments
  • $776 per month ($9,312 per year) for a total of 60 months OR until student’s 27th birthday, whichever comes first
  • DHS must have had placement responsibility under HRS §587A when the youth aged-out or was adopted or placed in legal guardianship
  • Initial application must be filed after student’s 18th birthday online at ShakaTown
  • Must attend an accredited institution of higher education
  • Apply for FAFSA and at least two scholarships
  • Must have a high school diploma or equivalent
  • Student allowed to attend college for two half-time semesters
  • To remain eligible, student must maintain a 2.0 GPA and participate in an Independent Living Program
  • To receive payments during the summer, student must be either volunteering, interning, or working at least 60 hours per month—submit documentation and verification to CWS


Kamehameha Schools (KS): Nā Hoʻokama a Pauahi (NHAP) Scholarship
Maui: 210 Imi Kala Street, Suite 203, Wailuku, HI 96793
Moloka’i/Lana’i: 612 Maunaloa Highway, Building B, Kalama’ula, HI 96748
(1-800-842-4682, Press 2)
  • Need-based scholarship for full-time students pursuing an undergraduate or graduate degree at an accredited post-high institution in the United States recognized by KS
  • Non-traditional students enrolled half-time at a Hawaii institution may be considered
  • Annual award with a maximum award amount of $8,000
  • Financial need determined through the College Scholarship Services (CSS)
  • Renewal applicants are given a preference, but scholarship awards are not guaranteed
  • The number of years a student is eligible for an award is limited and based upon the degree the student is pursuing
  • Must be a Hawaii resident and register three generations of Hawaiian ancestry at the Hoʻoulu Hawaiian Data Center
  • Enrollment in a classified, degree seeking program or Teaching Certificate program required
  • Students must complete the scholarship application online and mail required documents to KS
  • All NHAP award recipients must perform 50 hours of community service each academic year
  • Meet maximum funding guidelines


Ke Aliʻi Pauahi Scholarship
567 South King Street, Suite 160, Honolulu, HI 96813
  • Preference given to those of Native Hawaiian ancestry
  • Must be a classified undergraduate or graduate student enrolled full-time, in a two- or four-year degree-seeking program demonstrating interest in Hawaiian language, culture, and history, and a commitment to contribute to the community
  • Each scholarship has unique eligibility criteria; some scholarships require additional materials to be submitted with the online application


National Foster Parent Association (NFPA) Youth Scholarship
  • Offers scholarships to graduating high school seniors or students getting their GED who are either the foster youth, adopted youth, or biological youth of NFPA members who wish to further their education, including college or university studies, vocational / technical school, or junior college
  • The foster/adoptive/birth parents must be or join as a member of NFPA
  • Complete the online application and submit all supplemental materials on or before the deadline
  • Submit a minimum of two letters of recommendation from: foster parents, social workers, residential center, school official (principal, teacher, counselor, etc.), employer, etc.
  • Submit an essay answering in 300-500 words on “How my foster care experience has shaped my future goals”


Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA) He Ipu Ka'eo, Resources and Information for Native Hawaiians
  • Provides information on scholarships, financial aid resources, and student support services to Native Hawaiian students seeking post-secondary education, both college and career training programs
  • OHA hosts annual Native Hawaiian Scholarship ʻAha (from October through December) statewide to connect Native Hawaiian students with financial aid help and information


Orphan Foundation of America (OFA)/Casey Family Scholars
  • Provides tuition grants as well as book money, living stipends and emergency funding for the unexpected expenses that could derail the most dedicated student on a tight budget
  • Provides academic coaches, personal mentors, care packages and internship opportunities
  • Average scholarship award is $3,500; maximum scholarship award is $10,000
  • Must have been in foster care for one consecutive year at time of 18th birthday or high school graduation OR been Adopted / taken into Legal Guardianship out of foster care after your 16th birthday
  • Must be accepted into / enrolled in accredited post-secondary program (community college, university, vocational school or technical institute)
  • Must be under age 25 by March 31st


Pāʻia Youth & Cultural Center (PYCC) Scholarship Fund
65 Puna Road, Pa‘ia, HI 96779
  • Provides PYCC members with funding for education and training that lead to meaningful careers
  • Open to active members of PYCC who is either a high school senior, has a GED diploma, or is currently in their first year of college
  • Applicants who wish to attend vocational or trade schools are encouraged to apply, as well as those who wish to attend a college or university
  • Each candidate must submit an application and be personally interviewed
  • Applications are released annually in either February or March


University of Hawaiʻi System Scholarships (UHSS), Office of Student Affairs
2444 Dole Street, Bachman 109H, Honolulu, HI 96822
  • UHSS are open to students who are admitted as a regular student attending any of the ten campuses of the UH System
  • Apply for UHSS through the STAR UHSS online application
  • Submit most recent official transcripts
  • Submit two letters of recommendation
  • Apply for FAFSA
  • Submit personal statement (answering specific questions)
  • Submit essays (optional, but strongly recommended)


Victoria S. and Bradley L. Geist Foundation Scholarship
827 Fort Street Mall, Honolulu, HI 96813
  • Awards scholarships to applicants who are currently in or formerly have been in the State of Hawaiʻi foster care system at least one day since age 14
  • Award amount varies depending on the amount of credits taken, type of college attending, and offers merit-based award increases to students in good academic standing
  • Complete application online through Hawaiʻi Community Foundation's website
  • Submit two personal statements
  • Submit most recent official high school or college transcript
  • Letter from CWS SW verifying foster care status in Hawaiʻi