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Donald and Astrid Monson Education Fund
Donald and Astrid Monson Education Fund
Email: monsonedfund@gmail.com
Mailing Address: Donald and Astrid Monson Education Fund
PO Box 235799, Honolulu HI 96823-3500
The Donald and Astrid Monson Education Fund promotes programs that enhance and improve the general welfare of the general public of the island of O'ahu, protect its natural environment and/or implement plans designed to maintain or improve the quality of life of the community (including sponsoring and coordinating educational programs and events for the general public, of the island of Oahu, Hawaiʻi).
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Media contact:monsonedfund@gmail.com


2023 Donald and Astrid Monson Community Action Award


The 2023 Donald and Astrid Monson Community Action Award was presented on February 24, 2024, to Mary Ann Kobayashi, a retired middle school science teacher who has been a major force in the success of the Genki Ala Wai project.

Education Fund Board members and many project volunteers gathered by the Waikiki-Kapahulu Library, next to the Ala Wai Canal, to honor and thank Mary Ann. She was presented with a check for $5,000 and a monkeypod bowl.

In the ceremony, the Board noted Mary Ann’s commitment to educating future generations with her decades-long active contribution to the project. She has taught countless students, teachers, and community members interested in helping to clean the Ala Wai Canal through bioremediation.

Board members and Mary Ann     Waipahu High School students and Mary Ann

Board members begin the
congratulatory ceremony with lei
and special words for Mary Ann


Waipahu High School students who volunteered
that day pose with the Board and Mary Ann.

The goal of the Genki Ala Wai project is to collaborate with the community to restore the ecosystem in the Ala Wai’s ahupua’a using the product EM (Effective Microorganisma) to make the Ala Wai Canal fishable and swimmable by November 2026.

Since 2019, the inception of the project, 26,000 genki balls have been tossed into the canal. The genki balls have reduced the sludge in the notoriously polluted waters, so much so that wildlife is starting to return. The project is on track to do 8,000 a month to reach the 300,000 goal for the whole canal by 2026.

The award endorsed the hard work of all of the volunteers, from school children to retired electricians to veterans’ groups, by specifically honoring Mary Ann. She has been the tireless leader, the quintessential teacher in advancing this project. She has contributed endlessly, using her resources of time, energy, and funds to teach others about the importance of clean water and the role that bioremediation can play in cleaning our water, our environments, including our households!

Although the many volunteers spend countless hours making genki balls, securing fundings to make them, evaluating the water, and working to involve local schools and communities, it is hard for any single entity to take full credit for the project’s progress thus far. However, on this day we honored Mary Ann for her incredible work and involvement over these years with the Genki Ala Wai Project. Her focus on educating future generations, future stewards of our aina, is priceless. The same can be said for the vision and generosity of this award’s namesake, Astrid Monson. Astrid educated many, including policy makers and other planners, as an outspoken supporter for sound land use planning and care of our island’s environment. She and her husband, Donald, left this legacy where we could annually honor individuals or organizations who have done remarkable work, caring for our island of Oahu. The Education Fund’s Board of Directors know that Donald and Astrid Monson would be amazed and pleased by the work done by Mary Ann and the project’s team of supporters and volunteers caring for our environment.


Board members and friends of the project
prepare to toss previously made genki balls
into the Canal


Tossing the genki balls to
clean the Canal

Board members enthusiastically tossed some of the previously made genki balls into the Canal and some members stayed to help the other volunteers from the Rotary Club and Waipahu High School (and Mary Ann’s many friends) make more genki balls, reaching closer to the project’s goal.

For more details on guidelines, eligibility criteria and other requirements to nominate an Oahu individual or organization, visit the Donald and Astrid Monson Education Fund website at: http://monsonedfund.org/monson.html

Photos courtesy of the Donald and Astrid Monson Education Fund


For more information, click here to leave this site and go to the Genki Ala Wai Project.