- Press Release
- August 12, 2022
TMT Launches The Hawaii Island New Knowledge (THINK) Fund
The Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) has launched THINK (The Hawaii Island New Knowledge) Fund to better prepare Hawaii Island students to master STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) and to become the workforce for higher paying science and technology jobs in Hawaii’s 21st century economy. TMT’s founding gift of $1 million marks the beginning of the construction phase of astronomy’s next-generation telescope on Mauna Kea, Hawaii.
TMT’s THINK Fund initiative benefits Hawaii Island students pursuing STEM endeavors with an annual contribution of $1 million over its existing 19-year Mauna Kea sublease with the University of Hawaii-Hilo. Two Hawaii foundations were selected by TMT, Hawaii Community Foundation and Pauahi Foundation, to administer THINK Fund distribution in scholarship and grant making platforms. The two independent foundations are defining their award criteria and decision-making process.
“After many years of planning, the aspirations of dedicated Hawaii community members and TMT are being realized with our THINK Fund program, launched at the start of our construction phase,” said Henry Yang, Chair of the TMT International Observatory Board. “We are embarking on two transformational adventures — exploring the frontiers of the universe and providing educational opportunities for Hawaii’s students, both now and for future generations.”
The Thirty Meter Telescope initiated dialogue on the formation of THINK Fund in 2008 by asking a group of community volunteers to outline the mission, vision, purpose and implementation strategy of an education fund benefitting Hawaii Island students.
The Organizing Committee determined that scholarships, grant making and the establishment of an endowment would ensure the sustainability of improving educational opportunities for Hawaii Island students in STEM disciplines. It further recognized that an emphasis be given to improving opportunities for STEM education for Native Hawaiian students, not as an exclusive preference, but focusing on addressing the needs of Hawaii’s host culture.
TMT’s annual $1 million contribution allocates $750,000 to THINK Fund at the Hawaii Community Foundation and $250,000 to THINK Fund at the Pauahi Foundation. The foundations will administer their respective THINK Funds independently and will have autonomy in administering grant funds, determining scholarship recipients, and the selection and governance of Advisory Committees.
THINK Fund at the Hawaii Community Foundation
Grants are available by application to THINK Fund at Hawaii Community Foundation and will support a variety of Hawaii Island STEM student activities in and after-school, internship programs and teacher-generated STEM classroom projects. Scholarships will support current and future STEM teachers on Hawaii Island as well as students pursuing STEM degrees and training.
THINK Fund at the Hawaii Community Foundation is open to all Hawaii Island students including Native Hawaiians, teachers with STEM classroom projects and organizations providing STEM and internship programs that directly benefit Hawaii Island.
THINK Fund at the Pauahi Foundation
Scholarship Programs will be the initial focus of THINK Fund at the Pauahi Foundation. Grant making is being considered for the future.
THINK Fund at the Pauahi Foundation is open to all Hawaii Island students with a preference given to applicants of Hawaiian ancestry to the extent permitted by law.
THINK Fund Collaboration
THINK Fund was designed as an initiative to encourage and attract other funders who align with the mission and goal to improve STEM education and strengthen Hawaii Island’s workforce, and TMT is serving as the founding member of the THINK Fund initiative. The vision of this collaborative approach is to bring together the island community with funders in a partnership that strives to help Hawaii Island students long term.
What’s Next For TMT?
Construction activities in Hawaii include site preparation and grading.
Offsite work has begun in earnest as well. In China, partners are designing the telescope’s fully articulated main science steering mirror system and developing the laser guide star system. Japan has produced over sixty special zero thermal-expansion glass mirror blanks for the main mirror and is designing the telescope structure in detail. Fabricating the mirror support system is ongoing in India. The adaptive optics facility is in final design and the enclosure is ready for construction in Canada. The primary mirror and mirror control system is in final design in California.
The advancement of TMT to this stage of imminent on-site construction has been made possible by the support of the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. The foundation has spent $141 million to date to fund the design, development, and construction phases of TMT.
Gordon K. Squires
The Thirty Meter Telescope Project (http://tmt.org) has been developed as a collaboration among Caltech, UC, the Association of Canadian Universities for Research in Astronomy (ACURA), and the national institutes of Japan, China, and India with the goal to design, develop, construct, and operate a thirty-meter class telescope and observatory on Mauna Kea in cooperation with the University of Hawaii (TMT Project). The TMT International Observatory LLC (TIO) was established in May 2014 to carry out the construction and operation phases of the TMT Project. The current Members of TIO are Caltech, UC, the National Institutes of Natural Sciences of Japan, and the National Astronomical Observatories of the Chinese Academy of Sciences; ACURA, the Indian Institute of Astrophysics, and the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA) are TIO Associates. Major funding has been provided by the Gordon & Betty Moore Foundation.
The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation (http://moore.org) believes in bold ideas that create enduring impact in the areas of science, environmental conservation, and patient care. Intel co-founder Gordon and his wife Betty established the foundation to create positive change around the world and at home in the San Francisco Bay Area. Science looks for opportunities to transform-or even create-entire fields by investing in early-stage research, emerging fields, and top research scientists. Environmental conservation efforts promote sustainability, protect critical ecological systems, and align conservation needs with human development. Patient care focuses on eliminating preventable harms and unnecessary healthcare costs through meaningful engagement of patients and their families in a supportive, redesigned healthcare system.
With 98 years of community service, the Hawaii Community Foundation (HCF, http://www.hawaiicommunityfoundation.org) is the leading philanthropic institution in the state. HCF is a steward of more than 650 funds, including more than 190 scholarship funds, created by donors who desire to transform lives and improve communities. In 2013, $43 million in grants and contracts were distributed statewide, including $4 million in scholarships. HCF also serves as a resource on community issues and trends in the nonprofit sector.
Established in 2001 by the trustees of Kamehameha Schools as its philanthropic arm, the Pauahi Foundation’s (http://www.pauahi.org) efforts center on building community partnerships and creating educational opportunities that transform lives within the Hawaiian community. The Foundation accomplishes its mission by awarding more than 100 donor-funded scholarships and grants annually.