The Palama Settlement Board of Trustees is pleased to announce Sam Aiona as the organization’s new Executive Director.
As Executive Director, Aiona will provide strong leadership and vision for the future of Palama Settlement. He will also guide the organization through reassessing its strategic plan, ensuring it continues to provide vibrant programs and essential services that uphold its mission of serving those who have the greatest needs in the community.
Aiona was the former Director of the State Office of Community Services where he engaged with nonprofits throughout the state assisting those who were economically disadvantaged. He most recently served as a loan specialist at the State’s Hawaii Housing Finance and Development Corporation. He previously represented the Makiki district as a State Representative in the Hawaii State Legislature.
“Palama Settlement has a long history of being a safe gathering place for the residents of Kalihi and Palama and we need to continue the tradition of being the hub for this community,” says Aiona. “It is an honor to be selected as the Executive Director and I look forward to serving the people to enrich their lives for generations to come.”
Aiona has worked with numerous nonprofits and previously served on several boards including the Hawaii Public Housing Authority, Catholic Charities Hawaii Members of the Corporation, HOPE Services, and Friends of the Missing Child Center to name a few.
“Today’s world is very different from the times when you could get your teeth fixed for 10 cents at Palama Settlement. We can never go back to those days, but we can still provide for the people of this community as Palama Settlement has done for 125 years,” Aiona said. “The tradition will continue.”
“We are so happy to welcome Mr. Aiona to Palama Settlement,” said Lauren Yoo, president of the Palama Settlement Board of Trustees. “He brings a wealth of experience and leadership to this organization, and we are so excited for Palama’s future.”
Born and raised in Hilo, Aiona has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. He is married to Cherrie Aiona and has two teenage daughters.