John T. Leong, co-founder and CEO of Kupu and an Obama Foundation Fellow, will share his journey as a serial eco-entrepreneur to start-up Kupu from a garage to now impacting communities throughout the Pacific region and employing hundreds of people annually in conservation service.
Engaging, equipping, and empowering next generation leaders is a foundational necessity to restore our natural resources and also key to building leadership capacity, providing equity and opportunity, and creating resilient communities. As an environmental entrepreneur, Leong has helped develop Hawai'i's green jobs industry, increasing conservation awareness and creating career opportunities in natural resource management and sustainability. In 2007, Leong co-founded non-profit organization Kupu, to cultivate positive environmental impact by focusing on developing Hawai'i's next generation of environmental stewards and community leaders. Kupu's youth conservation and sustainability programs provide environmental and cultural education and experiences, as well as personal and professional development opportunities. Through its innovative programs and partnerships, Kupu has hired and impacted over 4,000 young adults and generated a total of $150 million in economic impact for the state, with a 1 to 3 cost-to-benefit ratio. In 2019, Leong was chosen as one of 20 community-minded leaders around the world for the 2019 Obama Foundation Fellowship. This year, Kupu kicked off its newest initiative Kupu Pathways with Arizona State University and AmeriCorps, offering a clear track to higher education, no matter the individual's financial status or past academic performance, all while giving back to the community and environment. Please join us in learning more about Kupu's approach to this important work.