Brandee Menino, standing, poses with her Ho‘okele Award, a small canoe paddle, with Anne Harpham, past chairwoman of HOPE Services board of directors, left, and Brandee’s mother Virginia Cachola. (Photo courtesy of HOPE Services Hawaii)

Brandee Menino, chief executive officer of HOPE Services Hawaii, an affiliate agency of the Diocese of Honolulu, was one of three women non-profit executives to receive the Hawaii Community Foundation’s prestigious Ho‘okele Award in an Aug. 29 ceremony.

HOPE Services is a nonprofit organization primarily focused on ending homelessness in Hawaii.

HOPE operates outreach programs and resource centers for individuals and families experiencing homelessness, mental illness, and persons moving from incarceration back into the community.

It has eight shelter facilities across the Big Island.

The agency served 1,462 people in 2018 with more than half of them moving on the permanent housing.

HOPE Services was the primary organizer in the community-wide effort that produced emergency housing on diocesan land in Pahoa for those made homeless by the recent volcanic eruptions.

The Ho‘okele Award was created to strengthen nonprofit leaders by providing them with an opportunity to rejuvenate themselves, rather than risk “burnout,” which often affects those in the sector. Each Ho‘okele Award recipient receives $10,000 to be used for their professional development and personal renewal.

Menino, in a news release, said she was “honored and grateful” to receive the award, giving credit to the people she works with.

“I have the privilege of serving our community with an awesome team and committed community partners,” she said.

When asked how she plans to use the award money, Menino laughed, “Well, first, I’ll have to figure out when I can take some time off.”

“I’m thinking of going holoholo with family and friends and create some memories,” she said.

This year’s other awardees are Deborah Zysman, executive director of Hawaii Children’s Action Network, and Jessica Yamauchi, executive director of Hawaii Public Health Institute.

Read the article and watch the video direct through the Hawaii Catholic Herald.