Campbell Foundation a boost to 'SOS'
By Wes Nakama
Barely a week after the Hawai'i High School Athletic Association's "SOS" (Save Our Sports) campaign surpassed its original goal of raising $1.2 million for public school athletic programs, a $100,000 contribution is coming its way.
The James and Abigail Campbell Family Foundation will present the check to HHSAA executive director Keith Amemiya at halftime of tonight's O'ahu Interscholastic Association Red Conference championship football game between Kahuku and Leilehua at Aloha Stadium.
The presentation will be televised live statewide on OC16.
The contribution is the largest grant made by the foundation this year and ties for second-highest since the SOS campaign began on July 28.
"When we decide on where to give, we always look at how many people it can affect, and (the SOS campaign) will affect a huge amount of kids," Jonathan Staub, a Campbell Family Foundation board member, told The Advertiser yesterday. "From that standpoint, we look at it as a very good investment."
Amemiya said SOS donations large and small will go a long way toward preserving public school athletics, which last summer suffered an overall budget cut of 36.35 percent compared to 2008-2009. That included a 50 percent reduction in funds for equipment, supplies and transportation.
"Public schools would have to shut down their athletic programs if not for donors like the Campbell Family Foundation," Amemiya said. "Their generosity will help keep 25,000 public school athletes involved in 18 sports. The Campbell Family Foundation has had a long history of supporting public schools on the field and in the classroom. So we are grateful to them, not just for this grant, but also for their continuing support of public education."
The SOS Fund eventually will be turned over to the state's Department of Education, which will then distribute it to Hawai'i's 55 public high school athletic departments based on a formula that accounts for the size of each program and amount of student participation.
When the campaign started in late July, the announced goal was $1.2 million because that was the amount cut from athletic budgets for transportation, equipment and supplies.
The estimated running total, not including tonight's contribution from the Campbell Family Foundation, is $1,221,498.
But the total cuts to public school athletic programs also included more than $700,000 for coaches' stipends, plus tens of thousands for other expenses.
The cuts in money for coaches' stipends has resulted in the elimination of assistant coaches in many programs, to the point where some sports are reduced to one paid position, for a head coach only. Castle's JV football assistants, for example, worked this past season on a volunteer basis.
Amemiya said the campaign will continue for the immediate future since "donations are still coming in," and Staub said the Campbell Family Foundation realized "the need was greater than the ($1.2 million) request."
"We want to help continue to strengthen the program," Staub said.
This past week's contributions included a $5,000 gift from Rick and Mina Humphries and a $100 donation in memory of prep and Pop Warner football coach Mike Marques.
To contribute to the SOS Fund, make a check payable to "HHSAA SOS Account" and send it to HHSAA, P.O. Box 62029, Honolulu, HI 96839, or visit www.sportshigh.com
Read his blog on high school sports at http://preptalk.honadvblogs.com