Consistent with a long tradition of 501(c)(3) nonprofits, the Hawai‘i Alliance for Progressive Action (H.A.P.A.) has launched -- and is now accepting applications for -- the “Kuleana Academy”, a five-month leadership development and non-partisan candidate training program for emerging leaders in Hawai‘i. 

The Kuleana Academy is designed to educate and train emerging leaders who have a desire to serve in public office. The program will give the participants a well-rounded introduction to the critical issues in Hawai‘i, leadership skills training and base knowledge of the ins-and-outs of campaigning. The Academy is modeled after similar national programs sponsored by other 501c3 organizations.

H.A.P.A. is hosting the program in partnership with other leading public interest organizations including Kuleana Academy Education Alliance Partners: Community Alliance on Prisons Hawaiʻi Americans For Democratic Action, Hawaiʻi Appleseed Center for Law & Economic JusticeHawai‘i Center for Food SafetyHawaiʻi People's FundHawaiʻi SEED Hawaii Thousand Friends, KAHEA, Life of the Land, Maui Tomorrow, and UNITE HERE! Local 5.

The Academy will run from January to May 2016, in three parts:

1) Leadership and Campaign Skills Training. Participants will attend weekend trainings in leadership and personal development, public speaking, and media training, as well as critical community organizing skills, the basics of the legislative process and campaigning skills.

2) Progressive Values and Statewide Issues Workshops. Participants will attend weekend retreats focused on different issues that affect county, state and federal government. Topics may include: Hawaiian cultural values; environment, sustainability and development; labor, workers rights and economic justice; agriculture and food security; civil rights and equality. 

3) Community Based Hands On Experience. Participants will engage in community service projects, mentorship programs with H.A.P.A. and Education Alliance Partners while gaining real world experience in public speaking, writing, campaigning and fundraising.

“We are excited to be part of supporting emerging leaders who want to engage in civic work. There’s a groundswell of interest in transparent, responsive government in recent years, and we want to be part of empowering new and diverse voices in local and state civic leadership,” said Aria Juliet Castillo, Kuleana Academy Program Manager.

The Academy has a minimum goal of identifying, recruiting and training 3 emerging leaders from each county: Kaua‘i, O‘ahu, Maui, Hawai‘i.    More information and the online application is available on the H.A.P.A. website [Link:]

H.A.P.A. will be accepting applications until October 31, 2015. Participants will be evaluated and selected via a process that includes a panel made of H.A.P.A. board members and Kuleana Academy Alliance Education Partners.  Applicants will be chosen by December 1, 2015.    For questions, email Aria Juliet Castillo, Kuleana Academy Program Director at

 The Kuleana Academy is funded via the generous grassroots support of residents through-out Hawaiʻi and trusts and foundations interested in developing new leadership in Hawaiʻi. Please add your support today!