donates $6.4 mil
The site will be used as anBy Russ Lynch
education center for young
First Hawaiian Bank today donated its 58-acre Waianae employee recreation complex to the Queen Liliuokalani Trust in what the bank said may be the biggest corporate contribution ever to a charity in Hawaii. The bank said the property has been appraised at $6.4 million.
The trust said it plans to use the facility to develop a leadership education center for young people of Hawaiian ancestry.
In 1971, John Bellinger, then-chairman and chief executive officer of the bank, acquired the land in Keaau Valley and First Hawaiian spent about $2 million to build an open "long house" meeting center, a swiming pool, volleyball and tennis facilities, and cabins for use by bank employees and their families.
Walter A. Dods Jr., who succeeded the late Bellinger in the top jobs, said he found it difficult to give away the facility because the center has been popular with employees, including him and his family.
"In the end, we concluded that we shouldn't be in the recreation center business at a time when we are trying to watch every dollar of expenses to remain competitive," he said.
First Hawaiian is part of a $15 billion financial giant, BancWest Corp., chaired by Dods and operating on the mainland and Hawaii.
David M. Peters, chairman of the trust's board, said the site is ideal for the development of leadership that has its foundations in cultural values.
The trust was established by Queen Liliuokalani in 1917, shortly before her death, and operates the Queen Liliuokalani Children's Center, providing social services to needy children of Hawaiian ancestry. The trust owns about 6,300 acres in Hawaii and is worth about $325 million.