Funding Duke’s Scholarships

John Hasbrook (left) of SunWest Foods presents Stefan Reinke of the Outrigger Duke Kahanamoku Foundation with a check from sales of its new Old Style Hawaiian Rice | Anthony Consillio photo

Duke Kahanamoku was an amazing athlete, but he also was an amazing person. To perpetuate his spirit and legacy, the Outrigger Duke Kahanamoku Foundation (ODKF) awards scholarships and grants to individuals and organizations, particularly scholar-athletes and groups involved in the “Duke sports” – various water sports and volleyball.

“We want to support the community, primarily students going on to higher education,” explains Stefan Reinke, ODKF president and an avid swimmer himself. “Duke didn’t have a higher education, but it was important to him, and he told people that constantly.

“A scholar-athlete is that person who is focused and dedicated. They care about the community as much as they care about themselves, and they do well in school. And it’s someone with incredible time management.”

The ODKF receives funding from various sources, including royalties, events such as Duke’s OceanFest and the Hawaii Waterman Hall of Fame, and from generous donors and sponsors. Recently, SunWest Foods launched a new product called Old Style Hawaiian Rice, with a portion of its proceeds going to the ODKF. Introduced last November, the company already had presented a check for $2,400 to ODKF earlier this month.

“The Old Style Hawaiian Rice is more like the rice that was milled in Hawaii, back in the day when rice was grown and milled in Hawaii,” says John Hasbrook, vice president of SunWest Foods. “It goes through a special milling process where we take off a little bit of the bran layer, and that allows the rice to cook quicker like a white rice – and it tastes like white rice but has all the nutritional benefits of brown rice.”

According to Hasbrook, Lanakila Pacific has started using this new rice in some of its programs, including Meals on Wheels and its school lunch program, which he notes fits well with the National School Lunch Program’s requirement that all grains be whole grain-rich by school year 2014-15.

Last year, ODKF awarded $130,950 in scholarships and grants to 61 Hawaii athletes and nonprofit organizations. Since its formation in 1986, ODKF has awarded $1.8 million in scholarships and grants to about 1,300 individuals and groups. Deadline to apply for ODKF’s 2013 scholarships is March 1. For details, go to