National Wildlife Refuge System

Kīlauea Point Lighthouse Centennial

 The Kīlauea Lighthouse has been restored to its original condition.
Credit: Scott Hanft

On May 1, the Kīlauea Lighthouse on Kīlauea Point National Wildlife Refuge, on the island of Kaua’i in Hawai’i will open for its first public tours in three years. The Kīlauea Point Natural History Association (KPNHA) led the fundraising campaign to restore the 100-year-old lighthouse. During a special ceremony celebrating the restoration and the lighthouse centennial on May 4, the lighthouse will be officially rededicated as the Daniel K. Inouye Kilauea Point Lighthouse, in honor of the late senator. Senator Inouye was a champion for the lighthouse and the refuge.


The restoration fundraising campaign began in 2007 when a consultant identified 20 immediate tasks for the association, from writing a strategic plan and vision and making the case for support to providing job descriptions for board members.  KPNHA executive director Jane Hoffman also sought advice from Friends groups that had conducted successful capital campaigns, including “Ding” Darling Wildlife Society (FL), Friends of the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge (WA) and Friends of the Bosque National Wildlife Refuge (NM). After a feasibility study determined that people would be willing to donate to restore the lighthouse but not the adjacent cottages which were being used as government offices, the lighthouse alone became the campaign’s focus. 


Hampton Hotels presented a $25,000 check for the lighthouse restoration.
Credit: Kilauea Point Natural History Association

The Capital Campaign Committee was co-chaired by a local businessman and a resident of a neighborhood on a bluff overlooking the lighthouse – bridging the two communities most interested in the lighthouse, which draws more than 500,000 visitors a year.  The initial “quiet” portion of the campaign generated more than 10 percent of the $1 million goal, according to Hoffman, as well as strong support from Senator Inouye.


The owners of a local bakery led the campaign to raise $10,000-$50,000 donations from the local business community. “You have to have people who have given at that level asking others to do the same,” advises Hoffman.


A Campaign for Everyone
KPHNA volunteers and members met personally with potential donors seeking contributions ranging from one dollar to $100,000. In addition to appeals to local civic organizations, there was a donation box at the lighthouse and a donation button on the KPHNA Web site.  Anyone giving more than $5,000 would be identified on a plaque near the lighthouse.

And then there was the 2010 Hampton Hotels’ Save-a-Landmark contest.  KPNHA used a Facebook page, postal and email, a voting station at the visitor center and posters around Kauai Island to encourage people to vote online for the lighthouse.  It worked.  The lighthouse garnered 60,000 votes from people all over the world, making it one of five national winners in 2010.


Typically, Hampton Hotels makes a donation and sends employees to work as volunteers on the selected landmarks, but challenging logistics prompted Hampton to give $25,000, presented on National Public Lands Day, September 29, 2012.


The final cost for restoration of the lighthouse was $2 million, with some work still to be completed on the lens.  A five-day celebration is planned May 1-5, funded in part with a grant from the Hawaii Tourism Authority.  And then?  “We need to go after annual giving,” says Hoffman, not missing a beat. “Our membership numbers dropped while people were giving to the lighthouse. But with a newly restored lighthouse and public tours, the future looks bright for growing our membership.”


Details of the Centennial Celebration can be found at: or Contact 808-828-0384 or for more information.


History of Kilauea Point Lighthouse (pdf)



Back to Index

Last updated: March 4, 2014