A trio of local star athletes in Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Marcus Mariota, Indianapolis Colts defensive lineman DeForest Buckner and retired MLB veteran Shane Victorino teamed up with Central Pacific Bank to donate $225,000 towards public high school sports in the 2021 spring season.
Central Pacific Bank contributed $100,000, while Mariota, Buckner, Victorino, and the Wally Yonamine and Freeman Foundations each contributed $25,000. The CPB Foundation is working to raise an additional $25,000 in order to reach its $250,000 goal.
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“The CPB Foundation is proud to support Hawaii public school athletics with a lead grant of $100,000,” said CPB Foundation Executive Director Keith Amemiya in a press release. “In a matter of days, our partners swiftly stepped up to contribute to our $250,000 goal, which is a testament to the overwhelming dedication from all for the Hawaii community.
“Our high school athletes have worked hard to get to this point, and they deserve the opportunity to realize their dreams and compete in a safe environment. The money raised will help bring back seven spring sports: Softball, baseball, track and field, tennis, golf, and boys’ volleyball.”
The OIA and HHSAA did not offer sanctioned sports for the 2020-2021 athletic year. OIA schools are currently competing in spring sports without financial backing.
The funds raised will help the athletic programs of public schools in terms of supplies, athletic equipment, cleaning costs, personal protective equipment, security, transportation, and game officials.
Mariota, Buckner and Victorino all contributed despite graduating from private schools. Mariota attended Saint Louis, Buckner attended Punahou and Victorino attended St. Anthony.
“The most impactful memories that sparked my donation, it was really back in Punahou. We used to have youth camps, the varsity team would host youth camps every year and we would help with the drills. Those memories really impacted my life, being able to get back in high school and having an impact on young kids’ lives that I really told myself when I got to this point I would make a bigger impact. I would definitely give back. Back to Hawaii, the kids in Hawaii. Being able to do that at a young age really impacted me to want to keep doing more,” Buckner said on a media call on Wednesday.
“For me, I grew up on a smaller island. I grew up with a mom and dad that gave their time and effort from every opportunity that they could. As DeForest said, when you get that opportunity, to reach success and what you call success or how people see success Is not just from what your contract says, but the Aloha spirit. I think giving back was always something that was instilled in me growing up as a kid and just like DeForest said, we’re in this position now, it’s not about the financial stuff,” Victorino added. “The financial stuff comes with the growth, being the role models that we get to be to continue the journey, to show the youth in Hawaii and keiki from Hawaii that we walk the same soils. I would support the keiki of Hawaii and give them an opportunity, not just in careers, but lifelong dreams, lifelong stories. My best friend and I, we don’t talk about big league stories, we don’t talk about major league baseball, we talk about playing soccer as little kids and all the things we did so when these opportunities come, it’s super humbling for obviously all of us.”