Pacific Business News After-school program recruits an all-star board

With an impressive group of 16 high-profile board members — including a former Hawaii governor and President Barack Obama’s sister — a new Oahu nonprofit is set to launch its after-school services for middle-school students next month.

The founding board for the local chapter of After-School All-Stars, a national nonprofit specializing in after-school programs for 70,000 middle-school-age children in 13 Mainland cities, was hand-picked by Executive Director Dawn Dunbar.

Finding volunteer board members is difficult as Hawaii’s nonprofit community continues to expand. But Dunbar credits the mission and goals of After-School All-Stars for the membership, which she built within a few months.

“Along the ‘all-star’ theme, this is an all-star board,” said Dunbar, who resigned in March as corporate communications director for American Savings Bank to head the nonprofit. “It was a priority for me to create a local board with a blend of veteran and up-and-coming leaders in Hawaii. Local names give the board credibility, as they’re recognized in the community.”

She said she had known most of the members previously from her five years at the bank and through other nonprofit work, noting that the board will meet quarterly.

“Each one has their own strength of how they can contribute to the organization, whether it’s fundraising, marketing and [public relations], being an advocate for us,” Dunbar said.

For example, the board includes two members with legal backgrounds, several in finance, one in communications, and several in education, including President Obama’s sister, Maya Soetoro-Ng, a history teacher at La Pietra Hawaii School for Girls in Honolulu.

Also on board is former Gov. Ben Cayetano, who Dunbar said will contribute experience with after-school programs, having established the state-funded A+ Program for elementary students at each public elementary school in Hawaii while he was lieutenant governor.

Chairing the board is Brett Brewer, a part-time Hawaii resident who runs an online advertising network based in Los Angeles.

Brewer said he had the idea two years ago to find after-school program options for Hawaii schools after recognizing a lack of opportunities for intermediate-school students.

“From being in other cities where After-School All-Stars programs are in place, I saw principals at schools in Chicago and Boston have four or five after-school programs to bring in and offer their students,” he said. “But on Oahu, there are no options. That’s what sold me.”

Beginning next month, After-School All-Stars will offer three hours’ worth of programming each weekday on the campuses at Dole and Kalakaua middle schools in Kalihi and King Intermediate in Kaneohe.

The organization has held sign-up sessions for its classes, which will cover health and fitness, academic support and enrichment classes, and run in eight-week increments.

With a current staff of four, Dunbar is hiring this week for 10 to 15 part-time instructor positions for each of the three campuses. It has a target of serving between 80 and 100 students per campus.

Dunbar hopes to increase the nonprofit’s $500,000 budget, which comes primarily from federal grants, and add its programs to three to five Hawaii middle schools a year.

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