LAHAINA, MAUI  Today, Lieutenant Governor Sylvia Luke joined Ikaika ‘Ohana and Bezos Academy for a blessing ceremony commemorating the construction of a new affordable housing project, Kaiāulu o Kūku′ia, in Lahaina, Maui, which will include a new Bezos Academy preschool. The blessing ceremony, led by Kahu Wayne Higa, brought together project partners and members of the community to honor the land where the project will be housed. The ceremony included remarks from Lt. Gov. Luke, Bezos Academy President Mike George, Director and President of Ikaika ‘Ohana Douglas Bigley, State Senator Troy Hashimoto, and Maui County Deputy Managing Director Josiah Nishita. 

Bezos Academy Maui – Lahaina not only addresses the longstanding need for early childhood support in our West Maui community but also symbolizes the importance of fostering holistic communities for families to thrive,” said Lt. Gov. Luke. “In the aftermath of the Lahaina fires, taking a moment to acknowledge and bless the site before the construction of the Bezos Academy preschool is so important. We hope that one day, this preschool will be a nurturing space where our Lahaina keiki can grow and flourish.”  

Ikaika ‘Ohana is creating affordable rentals for 200 families within the new site. The project’s land is owned by the Hawai‘i Housing Finance and Development Corporation (HHFDC), serving households earning up to 60% of the Area Median Income (AMI). The housing development will be sustainable and energy-efficient, providing cost savings for residents and will include two on-site community centers with kitchens, tech centers, lanai dining, and other services. 

“Ikaika ‘Ohana provides a foundation for growth in the communities that we serve. Part of this commitment includes coordination with local service providers and other strategic partners,” said Doug Bigley, Director and President of Ikaika ‘Ohana. “We are excited to partner with Bezos Academy to bring early childhood education to this community. Housing and education remain two of the biggest challenges for our governments today, and these have become exponential in Lahaina after the Maui fire and COVID-19 pandemic. Ikaika ‘Ohana, alongside Bezos Academy, remain committed to supporting this community in the years to come.” 

One of the community centers will host the tuition-free, Montessori-inspired Bezos Academy preschool for low-income families. Bezos Academy Maui – Lahaina will offer full-day programming, year-round, and capacity for 40 children between the ages of 3-5. The preschool’s Montessori-inspired curriculum focuses on hands-on activities to teach literacy, math, sensory development, social-emotional learning, and more. Bezos Academy hires, trains, develops, and pays talented educators and provides full support for children during their day, including breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks at no cost to the families it serves. 

“We know that across the country, families are struggling to find affordable, convenient preschools for their children,” said Mike George, President of Bezos Academy. “Today, we are honored to participate in this sacred blessing of the future site of Bezos Academy Maui – Lahaina with Lieutenant Governor Luke, Ikaika ‘Ohana and our local leaders, whose partnership and dedication to the families of Lahaina are what made this possible. As the community continues to heal and rebuild, we are more committed than ever to creating strong educational opportunities for students and families.” 

Ikaika ‘Ohana is providing the space rent-free, and Bezos Academy will cover all the costs of operating the school and contribute toward construction costs. Bezos Academy announced their signing of a lease with Ikaika ‘Ohana in September 2023. Affordable housing providers are one of Bezos Academy’s largest category of preschool host partners. 

The school is projected to open in 2025, though construction timelines are still being determined. Families earning up to 400% of the federal poverty level (about $120,000 per year for a family of four) with children aged 3-4 are eligible to apply. Once the school opening date is set, more information and an application for the lottery-based selection process will be posted at    

About Ikaika ‘Ohana 

Ikaika ‘Ohana is a nonprofit affordable housing owner and social service coordination company that works with a vast network of industry partners to develop multi-family, senior and veterans communities. We provide our residents with affordable, decent, safe and community-enriched living opportunities. By bringing together private companies and non-profit organizations, we plan every community to equally meet resident and community needs. We believe in addressing these needs, wherever that may take us. 

About Bezos Academy 

Bezos Academy is a non-profit organization that is building a network of fully funded tuition-free preschools. The preschools offer year-round, full-day programming, five days a week, for children from low-income families ages 3-5 years old. Bezos Academy also provides students with all necessary educational supplies and services to set each student up for success, including Montessori materials, books, arts and crafts, field trips, and meals.  As of November 2023, we have 19 schools operating across Washington, Texas, and Florida, and agreements in place to open locations across these states and others, including Hawaii, Kentucky and Arizona. For more information, visit