Kīlauea Point Lighthouse Centennial
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.
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
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.”
History of Kilauea Point Lighthouse (pdf)