Bill Porter, the E-Trade founder who funneled generous portions of his fortune into businesses and nonprofits benefiting organic farming, recreation and community building on Kauai’s North Shore, died Wednesday at his home in Princeville, surrounded by family and friends.
Frank and humble, he worked behind-the-scenes to materialize a wide range of philanthropic visions. Once up and running, he stepped aside, putting others in charge of his ventures so he would be free to start up something else.
“If you say you’re going to do something, you do it; that’s what he was about,” His wife Joan said. “He was about taking responsibility for self. He didn’t care about socializing particularly, he cared about he and I being together and our family and he loved Hawaii. He loved Wai Koa, he loved the land, the beauty, and he was always kind. When he was younger, he was much more focused on needing to get ahead and get the job done, but as he mellowed in older age, he relaxed a little and really focused on giving.”
In his “retirement” on Kauai here is a brief list of Bill and his wife Joan’s projects;
Founded Anaina Hou Community Park, non-profit organizationPledged $13 million to AHCP to build a performing arts pavilion (scheduled to open in fall, 2016)Founded and built Kauai Mini Golf and Namahana CafePledged land and funding to build a playground on Anaina Hou land.Pledged land to Kaua`i Skate Ohana for a skatepark on Anaina Hou land.Founded Pu`ukumu School, a private middle and high school on the north shoreProvided underwriting support for school operations and to keep tuition affordable for all families.Opened their 528 acre property in Kilauea to the public.Maintain stone dam and 4.7 mile trail on Wai Koa for the publicʻs enjoyment.Provide free 20 year leases on their land to organic farmers to farm 1-acre plots.Provide land at no charge to a multitude of local farmers and non-profit organizations.Donated land to Kaua`i North Shore Community Foundation for a dog park on Wai Koa
Their philanthropy outside of Kaua`i:Donated $25million to MITDonated significantly to The Carter CenterJoan Founded the Stillheart Institute in California
Besause of Bill and his unique character we all moved forward a bit.