Ed Olson Endows State Director at The Trust for Public Land

March 9, 2016

Prominent local businessman Edmund C. Olson has made a $2 million gift to The Trust for Public Land to permanently endow the position of Hawai'i State Director, it was announced today.

“The Edmund C. Olson Trust Fellow endowment will ensure that the leadership of The Trust for Public Land in Hawai'i is never compromised,” said Will Rogers, President and CEO of the national organization. “This unprecedented gift is an extraordinary testament to the success of our local team in saving some of Hawai'i’s most precious and endangered places for people to enjoy—and to the skills of Lea Hong, Hawai'i's State Director for nearly ten years.

After a long and successful career in contracting and self-storage, Mr. Olson became a major landowner in Hawaii in 2000 with the acquisition of former sugar lands on Hawai'i Island and later, on O?ahu. Since then, he has championed stewarding land for positive change through sustainable agriculture, conservation, clean energy and community. He was first introduced to The Trust for Public Land by former project manager Josh Stanbro (now with the Hawai'i Community Foundation) who convinced him to make a sizable donation to purchase and protect Honu'apo Fishpond and Estuary next to the County of Hawai'i's Whittington Beach Park, in Ka'u on Hawai'i Island. Mr. Olson later joined the board of The Trust for Public Land in 2006. Since then, he has been a key supporter of the protection of Kawa, also in Ka'u, Kauhola Point in North Kohala, and Honouliuli Forest Reserve on O'ahu. He has donated conservation easements dedicating thousands of acres of land that he owns on Hawai'i Island and O'ahu to agriculture or conservation, ensuring these lands will never be developed. And he invested in successful campaigns to establish open space land conservation funds on Hawai?i Island and O?ahu that have generated tens of millions of dollars for land conservation.

“The Trust for Public Land has earned my support,” says Mr. Olson. “They bring national expertise to bear with dedicated local focus to deliver conservation that honors our local culture and ensures that future generations of Hawai‘i’s people will always be able to connect with the land they love.”

Lea Hong, Hawai'i State Director of The Trust for Public Land since 2006 (recently named Islander of the Year (environment) in Honolulu Magazine), says that: “Ed loves the land or 'aina that sustains us. A big mahalo to Ed for this tremendous legacy. I am so pleased and humbled that I and my successor state directors will henceforth be known as the Edmund C. Olson Trust Fellow.”