Foundation History

HMSA has been a part of the Hawaiʻi community since 1938 when teachers and social workers created the organization as a way to take care of each other. Expanding that commitment to Hawaiʻi’s people, the HMSA Foundation was established as a public charity in 1986. The Foundation began making grants in 1998, after HMSA established a $20 million endowment to fund wider investments in the health care system and activities that build healthy communities and prevent disease. In its history, the Foundation has partnered with local and national organizations to better understand Hawaiʻi’s diverse population and to expand service to previously uninsured individuals in Hawaiʻi. Funding initiatives have included targeting obesity, strengthening children’s health, helping our kupuna, and uplifting our Native Hawaiian community as ways to support the wellbeing of the place and people of Hawaiʻi.


About Our Logo

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The 'ie'ie (Freycinetia arborea) was chosen for the logo of the HMSA Foundation by Leinaala Bright, Cultural Health Specialist at the Waimanalo Community Health Center. 'Ie'ie is an indigenous plant found climbing trees, rocks and sprawling on the ground on most of the main Hawaiian islands. The 'ie'ie was used for a variety of medicinal and non-medicinal purposes, including baskets, fish traps, helmets and capes.