Big-time public exposure comes to tiny nonprofit
is the recipient of the Ad 2 Honolulu
pro bono public service campaign for 2008-2009.
Never heard of it?
That is likely to change, as Ad 2 campaigns raise the profile of newer nonprofit organizations as well as more mature ones that have fallen out of the top-of-mind spotlight.
Ad 2 is also a nonprofit, an industry group of advertising professionals age 32 and younger. It has earned repeated national recognition for its annual campaigns.
"We're humbled and very excited about being selected," said James Koshiba, a Kanu Hawaii director. "We're grateful."
Competition is plentiful each year as the campaigns include about $1 million worth of exposure through various media and events.
Kanu Hawaii seeks to become a "movement of people drawing on island strengths to make Hawaii a model of environmental sustainability, economic resilience and compassionate community," according to its Web site.
Building Utopia always sounds a bit airy-fairy, but Kanu Hawaii believes positive, communitywide change will start through commitments made by one person at a time.
Its home page cites examples, including vowing to vote, buying local, changing to energy-saving light-bulbs and being kinder to one another in specific ways.
Its 40 founders arrived at the concept in 2005 after asking themselves what they love about Hawaii, about concerns for the future and what they could do about it all.
"We are a tiny organization of three staff people trying to reach thousands ... we can't do that without really excellent communication," Koshiba said.
With a goal of 5,000 by year's end, they have reached more than 4,300 thus far, but they want to reach tens of thousands, if not more.
Being selected by Ad 2 is "a godsend. They're uniquely qualified to help us," said Koshiba.
Kanu Hawaii has received some news coverage and has seen "a dramatic effect on the number of people signing up," however, it would also like to be strategic about how best to connect with different groups, from students to the business community to senior citizens.
Membership is free. The organization is funded by donations and grants, some of which have matching fund clauses so "we're constantly fundraising," he said.
Its name is not pronounced like the word "canoe," as one might think.
Rather, with slight emphasis on the first syllable, kanu is Hawaiian for "to plant," as a seed. Its poetic meaning, however, is "being passed down by inheritance from our ancestors," Koshiba said.
To Kanu Hawaii, the Hawaii we have inherited is our responsibility to steward with foundational island-style values.
is a reporter with the Star-Bulletin. Call 529-4747, fax 529-4750 or write to Erika Engle, Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., No. 7-210, Honolulu, HI 96813. She can also be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org