2017 Nonprofit Award Winners

There is so much good work being done in Hawaii to improve and strengthen communities and advance missions. We celebrate you each daily here at HANO, but for one moment each year, we come together to acknowledge and celebrate these contributions. In 2017, we honored the following awardees:


This award recognizes a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization in Hawaiʻi that has shown a commitment to working collaboratively with other organization(s)—nonprofit, for profit, or government — to scale, leverage synergies and efficiencies, and create greater impact in the communities they serve. We proudly presented KUPU with this award.

“Since our first collaboration with 14 participants on Kaua’i, Kupu has engaged over 2,500 youth statewide and in the Pacific; almost 400 participants placed and serving at 150 conservation sites annually. Kupu’s service-oriented workforce provides additional manpower and support to partners in executing key or large-scale projects that they would otherwise not have the bandwidth to complete. In total, Kupu participants leveraged nearly 10,000 additional volunteers and contributed to a total of 282,166 service hours that supported partner sites across the state.”

–Mahealani Matsuzaki, Kamehameha Schools – Aina Ulu Program


This award recognizes an emerging nonprofit leader in Hawaiʻi who exemplifies organizational and professional excellence, community spirit, innovation, personal integrity and has made an impressive impact on our nonprofit industry. The Emerging Nonprofit Leader serves as an ideal model for other aspiring nonprofit professionals. We proudly presented TRISHA KAJIMURA of Mental Health America of Hawaii with this award.

“Legendary surfer Rell Sunn said real leaders fight hard for the big waves but know when to let one pass and wait for the next one. Trisha is just that kind of smart, strategic and innovative leader. She acts deliberately and inclusively by building consensus. She is convening a working group to organize a Mental Health Awareness event at the capitol in 2018 — and more than one participant notes, “we go where Trisha says to go, we have that much faith in her.” Though she shies from the limelight, seeing Trisha on the cover of Mid-week with renowned artist Solomon Enos on the eve of a major fundraising and awareness event comes as no surprise.

In less than two years at MHA of Hawaii, Trisha has distinguished herself by affirming the organization’s purpose: to promote mental health awareness and to truly help people. Designating her as HANO’s emerging leader for 2017 is a way to honor the great work she is already doing and to provide a spotlight on her service to those in our community most in need.”

–Melissa Pavlicek, Hawaii Public Policy Advocates, LLC


This award recognizes a member of our community who has demonstrated outstanding service and commitment to Hawaii’s nonprofit sector. We are proud to posthumously honor PAMELA BURNS with this award. Among her many contributions to the sector, Pam served as the President & CEO of the Hawaiian Humane Society for 27 years and served as vice-chair and Public Policy chair of HANO’s board.

During her 27 years at the Hawaiian Humane Society, Pam transformed it from an organization with 35 employees and an operating budget of $1.5 million to one with a staff of 80 and an annual budget of over $8 million. Under her leadership, the Society’s Moiliili campus underwent several renovations to improve the care of animals and make the campus more accessible to the community. Among many other changes, she made it easier to adopt a pet, for Pam often told the story of how the Society had once rejected her application to adopt a cat on the grounds that she had a full-time job and was single and no one would be home during the day to take care of her pet. Pam firmly believed that legislation, community education and outreach were all needed to create positive changes in animal welfare. She was instrumental in the passage of many state and county animal-related laws while also advocating an informal grassroots approach to strengthen what she termed the “human-animal bond.”

Pam’s counsel was sought by national and international animal welfare groups, humane societies, veterinarians and even the pet industry. She was Board Chair and Board member the Society of Animal Welfare Administrators, Board Vice President of the National Council on Pet Population, a member of Petco’s Independent Animal Care Advisory Council and President of the Hawai’i Association of Animal Welfare Agencies. She partnered with the Humane Society of the United States and Humane Society International and traveled to Taiwan, New Zealand and South Africa and worked with delegates from Japan, Guam, Saipan, Palau, the Northern Mariana Islands, Marjuro (Marshall Islands), Federated States of Micronesia and American Samoa to lead workshops that trained veterinarians, government officials and pet owners on humane animal care methods and how to successfully advocate for animal protection laws. She was also a Board member of Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Hawai’i, the Junior League of Honolulu, Planned Parenthood, the Volunteer Information and Referral Service and HEMIC, and was a founding member of Hospice Hawai’i and the Hawai’i Alliance of Nonprofit Organizations.