We did it! Changing Lives Challenge

In 2013, Punahou received a $10 million gift from anonymous donors to support the School’s financial aid program. It is one of the most significant philanthropic contributions in the School’s history, and certainly the largest gift ever made outside a capital building campaign.

From that gift, the Changing Lives Challenge was launched, providing supporters of the School the opportunity to maximize the impact of their giving. A total of $8 million of the original $10 million gift was designated to match gifts to endowed financial aid. The result was that each gift or pledge of $25,000 or more to a new or existing endowed financial aid fund was matched, dollar for dollar, extending the individual giving capacity for more than 100 donors.

“This gift marks a milestone in our efforts to make Punahou accessible to more children with the talent and passion to thrive here,” says President Jim Scott ’70, who has made financial aid a priority during his administration.

The donors of the $10 million gift are deeply committed to the concept that diversity of thought can best be achieved through a strong commitment to access, and their gift is a powerful affirmation of Punahou’s aspirations.

The Changing Lives Challenge has already transformed thousands of students’ lives and is helping the School realize its potential as an educational thought leader locally, nationally and globally.

  • 152 Donor families participated
  • $16 Million raised for financial aid
  • 89 New financial aid funds created
  • 29 Existing financial aid funds expanded

*$8 million from participating donors and $8 million in matching funds

“I was a recipient of financial aid, and it allowed me to pursue things that are unique and important. The Changing Lives Challenge enables people like ourselves to give at a capacity that we might not have otherwise been able to.”

Class of 1992 alumnus and current parent
Changing Lives Challenge donor

“I worked really hard to get into this school and I wouldn’t have been able to come here without financial aid. There are so many opportunities here at Punahou, and I’m taking really cool classes that I wouldn’t have been able to take elsewhere.”

Current student, Class of 2021
Changing Lives Challenge aid recipient

“I like the fact that people are talking about financial aid, I like that people are thinking about it and what it means for Punahou. It opens a dialogue and helps bring up important questions. And also, because of the way the matching funds work, this opportunity gets a lot more people involved in the project.”

Current parent
Changing Lives Challenge donor