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First Daniel K. Inouye Innovation Award to be presented at annual fundraiser

By Staff | Aug 1, 2013

The late Hawaii U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye (left) chatted with emcees Lindzi Takasaki and Bryce Ribucan on stage during last year’s MEDB Ke Alahele Education Fund Dinner.

KIHEI – Since 2006, the late Sen. Daniel K. Inouye has headlined the Maui Economic Development Board’s annual Ke Alahele Education Fund Benefit Dinner & Auction, an event that raises funds to advance science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education in Maui County.

This year, MEDB will honor the legacy of the late U.S. senator with the presentation of the first Daniel K. Inouye Innovation Award at its annual event set for Saturday, Aug. 24, at the Grand Wailea Resort.

The award will be presented annually to a Maui County project team that demonstrates the most innovative use of STEM tools and capabilities to serve and improve the community.

“This award was inspired by the senator’s unwavering commitment to the application of science and technology to solve challenges around us,” said Jeanne Unemori Skog, MEDB president and CEO.

“We are honored that the senator’s widow, Irene Hirano Inouye, has agreed to let us recognize the senator’s contributions to STEM education on Maui and will join us in presenting the award to this year’s winner.”

Leslie Wilkins, MEDB vice president and director of education and workforce programs, added, “Senator Inouye played an integral role in supporting MEDB’s initiatives to build education-to-workforce programs that seed innovation.

“We are pleased that his legacy will continue through the service projects performed by our youth for their island home.”

The theme for MEDB’s Aug. 24 dinner is “The Future We Imagine.”

At the event, which is expected to draw upwards of 500 people, guests will join in the celebration of Maui County’s students, the next generation of STEM problem solvers.

Guests will see firsthand the STEM projects made possible by MEDB and talk with their creators.

The evening will again offer the popular Apples for Education Silent Auction, a new version of the Robotics Challenge, and Mayor and Ann Arakawa playing game show hosts for the competitive “Are You Smarter Than a STEM Fifth-Grader?” game

The festivities begin at 4:30 p.m., followed by dinner at 6:15 p.m.

Sponsorships are available. Event tickets are $175 per person.

For reservations and information, contact Maui Economic Development Board at 875-2300 or reserve your seat online at www.medb.org.