Hawai‘i Life principals Matt Beall and Winston Welborn have always supported philanthropic efforts across Hawai‘i. You may be surprised to learn that land conservation is one of our favorite causes here at Hawai‘i Life. For years now, Hawai‘i Life has been deeply committed to helping protect Hawai‘i's special places for future generations to enjoy. As a testament to that commitment, Hawai‘i Life recently appointed a Director of Conservation and Legacy Lands in the person of Beth Thoma Robinson. The goal of this appointment is to generate awareness of the role that conservation plays in Hawai‘i’s future. In addition, Hawai‘i Life is part of a visionary group of donors who helped to consolidate four land trusts into the statewide Hawaiian Islands Land Trust (HILT) in 2011. As a founding member of HILT, Hawaii Life made a multi-year financial commitment to support HILT's efforts statewide, becoming one of the Founding Few.
In 2017, the Hawai‘i Life Charitable Fund also supported HILT with a grant of $5,000. The HLCF is a donor-advised fund of the Hawaii Community Foundation and it is supported primarily through the generous donations of Hawai‘i Life agents and brokers across the state. This grant contributed to HILT's important work protecting Hawaii's precious natural and cultural landscapes.
Hawaiian Islands Land Trust (or HILT)
Hawaiian Island Land Trust was formed in 2011 by the merger to the Kauai Public Land Trust, the Oahu Land Trust, the Maui Coastal Land Trust, and the Hawai‘i Island Land Trust. As one statewide organization, their mission of protecting the lands that sustain us became all the more powerful and attainable. Their focus is on coastal and agricultural lands, in an effort to complement the many existing organizations across Hawai‘i currently stewarding the islands' many watersheds.
According to their website, HILT takes a uniquely Hawaiian and holistic approach to land conservation. HILT conserves "lands that enable Hawai'i's long-term well-being, lands with scenic views, agricultural resources, wildlife habitats, water resource areas, cultural and historical values, and outdoor recreation opportunities."
To Protect The Lands That Sustain Us For Current And Future Generations.
HILT protects land primarily through the use of conservation easements and their vision is an audacious one – to ensure that those lands are held in perpetuity. HILT achieves its purpose through four primary programs:
Land Acquisition and Protection
HILT works with community groups and government partners. HILT focuses on protecting lands with scenic views, agricultural resources, wildlife habitats, water resource areas, cultural and historical values, and outdoor recreational opportunities. To date, HILT has completed more than 40 projects and conserved more than 18,000 acres of lands primarily through fee simple acquisition and conservation agreements with private landowners to protect the lands from development and urbanization, and to preserve the natural and cultural resources on the land.
Land Stewardship and Monitoring
HILT currently owns and stewards five preserves containing more than 389 acres which are open to the public, and each containing unique natural and cultural resources. In addition to HILT’s preserves, the organization monitors and provides stewardship of more than 35 conservation easements protecting more than 17,500 of Hawai‘i’s agricultural lands, watersheds, wildlife habitat, recreational areas, historical and cultural sites, and scenic vistas.
Education and Outreach
More than 2,000 students and visitors each year visit and engage in HILT ’s popular “Talk Story on the Land” program of guided hikes on HILT ’s protected properties. In addition, HILT staff conducts regular volunteer days to engage the community in stewardship projects on HILT properties. HILT also performs outreach to Hawai‘i ’s landowners, business groups, trade associations, organizations to voluntary land conservation.
Policy and Advocacy
HILT is a non-political, non-partisan organization that promotes voluntary land conservation in Hawai‘i. HILT advocates for policies at the national, state, and local level that support local land conservation initiatives including tax incentives and public funding of land conservation.