Leading Change at First Peoples Fund
First Peoples Fund is pleased to introduce Jessica Kaneakua (Kānaka Maoli) as the new Development Assistant! Kaneakua is a community organizer and advocate based in Hawai’i.
“When I saw the opportunity to become the new Development Assistant,” says Kaneakua, “I jumped at the chance!”
In her professional work and community leadership, Jessica seeks opportunities that help build personal and community agency, or “chang[ing] the conditions in which flowers reside so that they may thrive.”
Kaneakua attended Macalester College, where she received a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. “I am a trauma-informed care trainer,” says Kaneakua. “And I look forward to bring trauma-informed care practices to my work.”
Kaneakua is also a board member for the Office of Hawaiian Affairs Native Hawaiian Revolving Loan Fund, which works to improve the lives of Native Hawaiians through financial assistance. “As Kānaka Maoli [Native Hawaiin], I'm drawn to organizations that recognize and perpetuate values and practices that reflect my own,” which is why Kaneakua joined First Peoples Fund. “I am passionate about actively decolonizing so that I may reconnect to my own ancestral wisdom.”
As the new Development Assistant, Kaneakua supports fundraising efforts that lift programs and initiatives at First Peoples Fund.
“I have been following First Peoples Fund for some time. My role will support the Collective Spirit of artists and culture bearers.”
Kaneakua is currently pursuing a Master of Legal Studies in Indigenous Peoples Law through the University of Oklahoma, College of Law. “I look forward to bringing my knowledge and skills from my educational program to First Peoples Fund,” says Kaneakua.