As a renowned surf artist, itâ€™s no surprise that Heather Brownâ€™s passion for nature and sustainability helped her win the $10,000 grand prize for the Verizon 4G For Hope competition on behalf of the Kokua Hawaii Foundation.
As she stood on stage at The Republik in Honolulu, HI, Heather hugged theÂ over-sizedÂ check and expressed her joy for winning the grand prize for a foundation she has been involved with since 2008 when she was one of the poster artists for the Kokua Festival.Â â€œI am so beyond stoked,â€ Heather said as she fought to contain her contagious smile.Â â€œItâ€™s amazing and I know this money is going to a great cause and will teach the kids who are the future of our planet.â€
The Kokua Hawaii Foundation specializes in sustainability in Hawaii and engaging students in an outdoor learning environment that will help them be stewards of the planet.Â Natalie McKinney, Director of Program Development for the Kokua Hawaii Foundation,Â couldn’tÂ e happier with the support and awareness Heather has helped raise throughout the years.
â€œWeâ€™re so honored to have Heatherâ€™s support through a variety of different ways like her environmental initiatives she does through her art and products,â€ Natalie said.
Although Heather won the grand prize, which was decided through an online vote, three other Hawaii celebrities â€œbattled it outâ€ for the past month with the overall goal of raising awareness for their respective causes.Â Each foundation was awarded $4,000.
Kala Alexander, Vice President of the Mauli Ola Foundation, was in attendance on behalf of professional surfer Jamie Oâ€™Brien whoÂ couldn’tÂ make the event.Â The Mauli Ola Foundation began as a group of surfers with the goal of introducing surfing as a natural treatment to people with cystic fibrosis.Â â€œI think Jamie chose Mauli Ola because basically he is Mauli Ola, heâ€™s one of the first surfers that actually helped us do what we do,â€ Kala said.Â â€œWe found that after we teach them how to surf, not only are they smiling more and having fun, theyâ€™re also more motivated to do their treatments.â€
Musician Jake Shimabukuro, regarded as one of the best ukulele players in the world, began the evening with a unique cover of George Harrisonâ€™s While my Guitar Gently Weeps.Â Shimabukuro accepted $4,000 on behalf of H.U.G.S, an organization that provides programs designed to improve the quality of life for families as they deal with the emotional and financial hardships of caring for a seriously ill child.
Actress Kristina Anapau was also awarded $4,000 for Stand Up To Cancer, a charitable organization that encourages teamwork rather than competition to accelerate innovative research among the entire cancer community.
As the four celebrities exchanged smiles, hugs and high fives on stage, it was clear they were representing causes bigger than themselves. The Verizon 4G4 HopeÂ wasn’tÂ â€œcompetitionâ€ as much as it was a collaboration to raise awareness for the more important things in life. Although its culmination is in the past, it will surely benefit the future.