The Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement (CNHA) is a member-based 501(c)3 non-profit organization with a mission to enhance the cultural, economic, political, and community development of Native Hawaiians. CNHA is a national network of Native Hawaiian organizations and a strong voice on public policy. CNHA operates a loan fund, delivers capacity building services, fosters leadership development and has convened the Annual Native Hawaiian Convention for 18 consecutive years.

Headquartered in Kapolei, CNHA is a Native Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) certified by the US Treasury department and a HUD-Certified Housing Counseling agency. We provide access to capital, financial education and individualized financial counseling services with a focus on low and moderate-income families. CNHA serves as a National Intermediary, providing grants and loans targeting underserved communities in Hawaii.


Chief Executive Officer
Joe Kuhio Lewis

Lewis is the Chief Executive Officer of the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement,  responsible for the execution of the organizations 6 program areas. He previously served as the  Community Outreach and Engagement Manager at the Office of Hawaiian  Affairs,  responsible  for advancing the organization’s civic engagement initiatives with oversight of a $2.3 million  program budget and 21 staff statewide. Kuhio is a beneficiary of the Hawaiian Homes  Commission Act and past President of the Kapolei Community Development Corporation  (KCDC) where he helped raise over $2 million to support a regional community development  project  –  the Kapolei Heritage Center.  During his tenure, KCDC also brokered one of the largest community  benefit agreements totaling over $30 million.  Kūhiō has also served as  the  President for the King Kamehameha Hawaiian Civic Club.

Chief Financial Officer
Daniel Lee “Kaniela” Sharp

Known to many as Kaniela, Daniel moved to O’ahu from Southern California in 2007. With more than 26 years of experience in organizational and financial management and training, he is currently fulfilling one of his life’s passions in serving the Native Hawaiian people in his capacity as Chief Financial Officer for the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement.

He earned a BS from Texas A&M before being commissioned in the US Marine Corps. As a Captain he served for 10 yrs as an Air Traffic Control Officer where he managed the ATC Facility at MCAS El Toro in Southern California.

Following his time in the armed forces he served for 15 years as the CFO and Operations Manager for an international religious organization.  In 2007 Daniel moved to Oahu where he worked as the Assistant Controller for an international government contractor for the U.S. Defense Department and later the Operations and Fiscal Manager for Hawaii Maoli.  In 2011, Kaniela joined Keiki O Ka Aina as its Controller and Preschool Administrator. He served as the Director of Finance and eCommerce Manager for Hawaii Health Connector in 2014 and later rejoined Keiki O Ka Aina as its Director of Finance until 2016.

In 2016 he started Sharp Business Solutions where he provides executive level financial and business administrative services to small business owners and non-profit organizations.

He is currently engaged to the love of his life the lovely Johnette Kim of Kalihi.

Chief Operations Officer
Kanoe Tjorvatjoglou-Cup Choy

Kanoe Tjorvatjoglou-Cup Choy is a graduate of Kamehameha Schools and holds a Bachelor of Arts in Global Affairs with a double minor in Business and Conflict Analysis &  Resolution from George Mason University. Her career in civic engagement began while working with Crossroads  Campaigns Solutions, specializing in field organizing, staff  recruiting  and  mobilizing  community. She worked on numerous political and issue-based campaigns across the U.S. and continues that work here in Hawaii.  As a 5th generation Nānākuli homesteader, Kanoe is particularly passionate about increasing capacity and civic engagement within the Native Hawaiian community and worked as a Community Outreach Advocate for OHA.  Her engagement with community extends to her personal capacities as a member of the Pearl Harbor HCC and as Secretary of the Native Hawaiian Chamber of Commerce.

Jonette Buza-King


Jonette Buza-King is the accountant for CNHA and also assists the CFO and loan fund program with financial expertise.

Prior to joining CNHA, Jonette worked for Ōlelo Community Media for over 13 years. She worked her way up the organization starting as an Accounting Specialist where she was responsible for effectively managing multiple client accounts. She was then promoted to Media Coordinator and eventually Media Services Manager where she led production operations at ʻŌlelo’s studio in Wahiawa. This managerial role allowed Jonette to engage directly with the community and refine her leadership abilities, guiding and mentoring staff and volunteers to complete projects with various goals and objectives.

Jonette is a long-time resident of Wahiawa and has extensive community experience. She is a current member of ALEA Bridge/Wahiawa Homeless Alliance; current member of the Wahiawa Hawaiian Civic Club; current member of Wahiawa Fresh; former President of the Wahiawa Center for Community Health; former President of the Wahiawa Bobby Sox Softball; and former Vice President of the Wahiawa Lions Club.

Jonette was born and raised in the Kekaha and Waimea communities on the island of Kauaʻi. In her spare time, you will find Jonette relaxing on the beach and spending time with her family, especially her two children, Kainoa and Jazmyn.

Executive Assistant
Kaloku Kahalepo

Kaloku Kahalepo is the Executive Assistant of the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement. She was born in Hawaiʻi but raised mainly in the 9th Island we call Las Vegas, Nevada. She came back to Hawaiʻi six years ago and for the past five years she helped serve the mission of Prince Kūhiō working in the Land Management Division at Department of Hawaiian Home Lands. Not only does she live with family in Kapolei homestead, but she also helps to volunteer in the community for various activities throughout the year. With her background and knowledge, she came to us to help continue to enhance the culture, economic, political, and community development of Native Hawaiians.

Special Projects Manager
Kawena Lei Carvalho-Mattos

Kawena Lei Carvlaho-Mattos is the Special Projects Manager of the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement. Born on Maui and raised in Waimānalo, Kawena is a content creator and storyteller. Following her curiosity for tech, she now leverages social media to communicate with others and how to capture stories in many forms. Her passion lies in learning.

Program Manager
Rona Kekauoha

Rona is the daughter of Arleen “Puanani” (Chong) Lum Lee and the late Bernard “Bernie” Ching. She grew up in Kaimuki and is the second oldest of four daughters. She graduated from ‘Iolani School and the University of Washington. Rona has spent most of her adult life working with students in higher education and has a passion for helping Native Hawaiians. Having spent over 25 years working with traditional and non-traditional college students, Rona knows first-hand that pursuing a post-baccalaureate degree is not for everyone and is excited to be a Program Manager for CNHA’s trades academy. She was previously employed with Kapiolani Community College, Hawaii Community Foundation, Kamehameha Schools, Native Hawaiian Leadership Project, and the University of Hawaii at Manoa. Rona spends her spare time coaching volleyball for Maunalani Volleyball Club but her most prized role is that of mother to four wonderful children. 

Community Relations Manager
Leonani Puailihau


Loan Fund Specialist
Angie Aipoalani


Loan Fund Specialist
Nancy King

Nancy King is our newest funds manager specializing in the community loan fund.

Program Manager
Richard Medeiros

Richard Medeiros is a graduate of Kamehameha Schools and holds a Bachelor of Arts in Politics from Willamette University. Richard previously worked for the Pacific American Foundation as Deputy Project Director of the Ka Wai Ola O Waianae program, as well as Project Director of the AIM for Youth Hawaiʻi Civic Engagement project where he engaged youth and young adults in civic engagement through a partnership between the Pacific American Foundation, CNHA and the Association of Hawaiian Civic Clubs. Richard resides in Nānākuli and currently serves on the Board of Directors for Mohala I Ka Wai.  Richard also is active in the Nānākuli-Maʻili Neighborhood Board on which he currently serves at Vice Chair.



CNHA is member-based nonprofit with a statewide and national network of community-based organizations. We provide a strong voice on public policy, operate a community loan fund, deliver capacity building services and leadership development and promote community based economic development. CNHA focuses on connecting our network to affect positive change in the Hawaiian community and across the state. Our members represent many sectors in community, including, but not limited to, education, small business, homestead associations, civic clubs, health, housing, art, youth programming, and social services.

Benefits of being a member:

  • Scholarship or discounted rates to attend the Annual Native Hawaiian Convention.

  • Access to Hawaiian Way Fund donor services.

  • Opportunity to share your work, events, stories through CNHA’s distribution of Native News Clips.

  • Notifications and participation in federal, state or local policy projects important to your organization.

  • Discounted fees to any CNHA training or capacity building events.

  • Website presence through the CNHA Members Page.

  • Usage of CNHA office space



There is no success without preparation


CNHA has coordinated the Annual Native Hawaiian Convention every consecutive year since its founding in 2001.

The Annual Native Hawaiian Convention is a unique venue that encourages and promotes collaboration among community leaders, cultural practitioners, policy advocates, business owners and agency officials, to further the well-being of Hawai‘i’s Native community.



It is a reminder to us that when we learn and gain ‘ike, we have a kuleana, a responsibility to apply, to use it, to share it with others


Mailing Address:
Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement
91-1270 Kinoiki St., Building 1
Kapolei, HI 96707

Telephone: (808) 596-8155
Toll-Free: (800) 709-CNHA (2642)
Fax: (808) 596-8156

Got a question?

Send us your question/thought here or via email to info@hawaiiancouncil.org