In January of 2013, Ric Cox inspired by friend Rick Gerding, stood before the Rotary Club of Hanalei Bay (RCHB) proposing a challenge to make a significant impact at Kilauea Elementary School. He asked for his fellow Rotarians to join him in adopting each of Kilauea’s 13 classrooms at $700 a pop; $500 for classroom supplies and $200 that would allow each teacher to take their class on a meaningful field trip. Within just a few weeks all 13 classrooms had been adopted.
The movement did not stop there. Within a few more weeks all 17 classes at Hanalei Elementary School had been adopted, as well as the 6 at Kanuikapono, Anahola’s Public Charter School. This new grassroots movement of community philanthropists partnering together Ric dubbed “Aloha Angels!”
In 2014 all of the 36, K-6th grade classes in the three North Shore public schools were readopted, along with introducing a new program called “iPals4iPads.” The Rotary Club of Hanalei Bay provided 160 Apple iPad Mini’s to Kilauea & Hanalei Elementary Schools. Furthermore, in that same year Aloha Angels and the Rotary Club of Hanalei Bay also created Adopt An After School Club and funded 24 weekly mentoring clubs at Kilauea Elementary School.
2015 was a momentous year in many ways; first, RCHB officially transferred responsibility for the programs that had been launched to Aloha Angels, and a Donor Advised Fund was created at the Hawai'i Community Foundation. Even more importantly though was the dedication of the angels to spread their wings wider and successfully adopt all 229 homeroom teachers at Kaua'i’s 12 public elementary schools, as well as Pu ʻukumu a private school providing education to middle and high school age children.
The icing on the cake that year was 49 Adopt an after school clubs were created at six of these schools on top of everything else. In 2016 all of this was repeated in addition to funding 15 new clubs and purchasing 150 computers so that children had easier accessibility throughout the day to write papers, do research and other assignments.
2017 promised even more growth with new private and corporate donors being added all of the time. Ric’s most lofty and transformative goal, which he called “breathtakingly bold,” was to create a 25 Million dollar endowment that would provide in perpetuity, the revolutionary support to public education that was so desperately needed on Kaua’i.
However on April 13th, 2017 Ric’s journey came to an abrupt end and he became what he had embodied here on earth. The special sparkly white halo Ric gave to those who supported his beloved organization has become a cherished memento to those who have them.
Key philanthropists and friends quickly stepped into Ric’s shoes to ushering in the next chapters of Aloha Angels and our programs are going strong. In 2017-2018, 54 After School Mentoring Clubs were delivered to over 550 children!
Now established as its own 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, Aloha Angels' goal for the 2018-19 is bolder still. We hope after reviewing this information you will become the next angel to lift up all of Kaua'i’s Keiki and ensure the best future possible for them!