Putting Ohana at the center: Hookupaa conference 2017

As we gear up for the Travois conference, we are getting our annual reminder of how much work it takes to arrange a quality event.

We are so lucky to have Eden Rensing, Beth Kapp and Shannon McGraw to lead the effort. I got another reminder of the powerful impact a great conference can have this week at the Hookupaa Community Development and Finance Conference in Honolulu.

I spent some time walking through a New Markets Tax Credit 101 with nonprofit, business, health and education leaders from Native Hawaiian communities.

We owe our ability to work in Hawaiian communities to our great friends at Pacific Growth Associates. Bobby Hall (pictured below) kicked off the conference by sharing his experience at PGA with bringing affordable capital to Native communities.

We love Hookupaa because it gets us outside the classroom and into the field. We toured a number of potential projects in communities around Oahu.

As a political junkie, I got a special treat to sit next to retired U.S. Senator Daniel Akaka (pictured below) at lunch one day. Sen. Akaka was the first Native Hawaiian to serve in the US Senate, was a World War II veteran and a lifelong champion for Native people. His good friend and colleague, former Hawaii Governor Neal Abercrombie, shared stories of the great work the two have done in communities for decades.

We are looking forward to seeing so many of you in Austin next week, so we can continue to learn from each other.