Kamehameha Schools (KS) is a private charitable educational trust endowed by the will of Hawaiian Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop (1831-1884), the great-granddaughter and last direct descendant of King Kamehameha I. During her lifetime, Princess Pauahi witnessed the rapid decline of the Hawaiian population. With that decline came a challenge to preserve the Hawaiian language and culture she held dear. The princess knew that education would be key to the survival of her people, so in an enduring act of aloha, she left them a precious gift upon her passing – 375,000 acres of ancestral land. She instructed the trustees of her estate to use the land to educate her people. Today, her endowment supports an educational system that serves thousands of Hawaiian learners in Hawai‘i and across the nation.
The mission of Kamehameha Schools is to improve the capability and well-being of Hawaiians through education. They achieve their mission by operating an educational system serving over 6.900 students of Hawaiian ancestry at K-12 campuses on O’ahu, Maui and Hawai’i island, and at 31 preschool sites statewide. They also extend their educational reach into the community to serve over 40.000 additional learners annually through a range of programs and community collaborations.
These efforts include community charter school support and literacy enhancement programs for public school children, making KS the largest private contributor to Hawai‘i’s public school system. Their educational outreach also includes preschool, K-12 and post-high scholarships enabling Hawaiian learners to attend educational institutions outside of the KS system.