Pierre Omidyar ’84 recently stepped down from Punahou’s Board of Trustees, after years of offering instrumental service to the School. In honor of his many contributions to Punahou, he was named Trustee Emeritus.
Pierre, who founded eBay in 1995 and served as its chairman from 1998 to 2015, is regarded as one of the world’s leading tech entrepreneurs and philanthropists. Having attended Punahou in the eighth and ninth grades, he served as a Punahou Trustee for 14 years, and was honored by fellow Board members at a recent meeting.
During the celebration, Board Chair Constance Lau ’70 thanked the Omidyar family for providing the lead gift for Punahou’s state-of-the-art Omidyar K – 1 Neighborhood, which opened to students in 2010. The Neighborhood is considered a model of sustainability in regards to facility design.
“Your lead gift not only enabled Punahou to transform our aging – or rather aged – K and first grade facilities into one of the first LEED Platinum facilities in the state, but also allowed us to transform the teaching and learning in our students’ earliest years,” Lau said. “I’m very serious when I say that all of us who have visited the Omidyar Neighborhood have wished that we could be a kid again at Punahou.”
Additionally, during the Ku’u Punahou fundraising campaign, the Omidyar family provided a critical curriculum development grant that helped the School exceed its campaign goals. Pierre also provided valuable input, particularly on strategic issues and governance matters, Lau added. “Always here for Punahou no matter how busy,” she said.
Through his own life experiences and endeavors, he has long served as a role model for students, both as an entrepreneur and as a philanthropist in Hawai‘i and across the globe. Over the past two decades, he and his wife, Pam, have created a diverse collection of philanthropic organizations and initiatives, collectively known as The Omidyar Group. They have contributed more than $3 billion to a wide range of causes, several of which are Hawai‘i-focused to help improve the lives of people and the health of communities throughout the State.
Their $50 million contribution to the Hawai‘i Community Foundation – believed to be the largest single gift from living donors in the State’s history – established the Omidyar ‘Ohana Fund, which recently helped create The Hawai‘i Resilience Fund, which rapidly deploys much-needed resources to address the COVID-19 pandemic.
Punahou President Mike Latham ’86 said the School is deeply grateful for the Omidyars’ insights, vision, and entrepreneurial energy. “Pierre and Pam, together, have made a pivotal and lasting difference in improving the future of Hawai’i and promoting more just, equitable, and humane solutions nationwide,” he said. “They will always be a vital part of the Punahou ‘ohana.”
At his celebration, Pierre said he considers it a privilege to help an institution like Punahou, which has such a big impact on the community. “The care you take for the institution is tremendous. Keep it up,” he said. “I will continue to follow you.”
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