By Chad Pata
There is an adage about apples and trees, and there may be no finer proof of the old saw’s veracity than Patrick ’91 and Kris ’91 Kobayashi. Growing up the two of them watched as their parents opened up their wallets and hearts to help their community. “Our inspiration came from our parents, my mom was always very active with alumni events and observing her and how much she enjoyed helping the school made me want to do the same,” says Kris, whose late mother has a fund established by her father Peter Okutani named the Jeanne S. Koike Okutani Endowment in Honor of the Mid-Pacific Class of 1962. “Patrick’s parents Bert and Susan have always modeled generosity, not just financially but through their time, presence and words. They are always thinking of other people and how they can help someone be better or do better. Patrick is cut from the same cloth.”
To help focus their charitable activities they established the Patrick and Kris Kobayashi FamilyFoundation in 2007 which among other things helped bring to bear the Patrick Kobayashi and Family Endowment Fund for Diverse Learners at Mid-Pacific. The family’s $500,000 donation, along with generous contributions from alumni parents Colin and Sandy Denney, alumnus Kenneth Kobatake ’65 and his late wife Sue-Ann, and grandparents Michael and Theolinda Matsumoto, established an endowment that provides perpetual support for Mid-Pacific’s Learning Differences program which identifies, assesses, and helps students succeed in all aspects of school life. “Dr. Turnbull explained the important work that Mid-Pacific was doing in the field,” says Kris. I know what it was like going through school and how Mid-Pacific always supported those with learning differences, but this was taking it a quantum leap forward so we were glad to support it.” This fund allowed the hiring of a full-time learning specialist, who assists 20 percent of the elementary students and their families, a need that became especially acute during the pandemic.
Patrick and Kris met in seventh grade when they both enrolled at Mid-Pacific. They formed a fast friendship with some fellow students, creating a hui that would last a lifetime. Today, they are raising their children alongside many of those same friends. “When I think about Mid-Pacific I think about the friendships that we made and have maintained throughout our lives. Our time there was fun and we felt well supported,” remembers Kris. Post-graduation they both attended Jesuit schools on opposite coasts, Patrick at his family favorite Georgetown (at the time of his admittance he had seven cousins also attending theWashington campus) and Kris at Loyola Marymount in Los Angeles. But a continent between them did not dim the friendship and upon completing their university work, amity turned to romance, and they came home to start a family.
Today besides helping run the family business, Patrick is very involved with the Red Cross and they both help fundraise for Straub Hospital, Hanahau‘oli School and most recently donated over $55,000 toward pandemic-related needs at Mid-Pacific for the athletics program to provide livestreaming systems for remote viewing. Patrick remembers the importance of athletics and its connection to education. “Mid-Pacific gave us the resources and pushed us so that we could attend competitive colleges and get prepared for the workforce,” says Patrick. “I remember all my teachers, some of whom are still there, and how they urged us on to greater heights. We just want to give future generations the same chances that we had.”
Kris and Patrick were recently honored as Hawaii’s 2021 OutstandingPhilanthropists of the Year, a very distinguished group of community leaders, by the Association of Fundraising Professionals Aloha Chapter, recognizing their tremendous generosity, leadership, and inspiration of others. Giving humbly and from the heart, as their parents did before them, the Kobayashis are setting a shining example forMid-Pacific’s next generation of leaders and philanthropists.