Fanapi Foundation is a US-based entity whose mission is to raise funds and provide technical assistance to support the underserved indigenous people living in the remote and geographically isolated outer islands (fanapi) in the Northwest region of Chuuk State, Federated States of Micronesia. Founded by Vid Raatior and an all-volunteer Advisory Board, the Fanapi Foundation is a sponsored project of the United Charitable Programs (UCP) – a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, tax ID #20-4286082, headquartered near Washington, DC., whose mission is to develop and support charitable programs with a local, national, or global focus.
The Fanapi Foundation’s mission and vision is grounded on the firm beliefs that our role is to empower the local indigenous solutions of the Fanapi islanders with global resources. We focus our efforts in the areas identified by the local leaders as the top priorities for their people; namely, educational reform, community development, preventative healthcare, and economic empowerment.
Fanapi, [fan-ah-pee], literally translated ”islands of the sand” is the Chuukese name for all the low-lying sandy outer islands located in the Northwest region of Chuuk State comprising of Pattiw atolls, Pafeng atolls, and Namonweito atolls. These isolated islands are arguably the most under-served region in the country of Micronesia. Many young people have left these beautiful islands in search of education and life in the United States. Those who remain continue to practice the traditional cultures and practices.
The inspiration for the Fanapi Foundation came from the local leaders of those fanapi islands (see photo). On July 2-7, 2012, over 60 leaders (school teachers, principals, mayors, municipal council presidents, religious leaders, traditional chiefs, political leaders, and representatives of concerned parents) from throughout the Northwest regions of Pattiw, Namonweito, and Pafeng converged at Northwest High School (formerly Weipat) on Onoun island to participate in the first Northwest Education Leadership Institute sponsored by the Chuuk State School System (CSSS). The goal of that historic gathering was to explore ways to improve the quality of education for students of the Northwest region and to build community support for the Chuuk Educational Reform Plan (CERP).
What transpired at this historic meeting was beyond the usual expectations for the outer islanders; the participants elected to support and expand on the challenge to engage in educational reform by adopting to formulate key steps in building community-based support and ownership of “our own schools” and solving “our own needs.” The delegates unanimously formulated the Northwest Resolution expressing their dissatisfaction with the State’s lack of educational improvement, the need to unify all the public schools into the Northwest Unified Schools (NUS), and the creation of a non-governmental organization called Fanapi Center to be located on the main island of Weno to support educational reform, facilitate community development, coordinate healthcare programs, and develop economic opportunities for the Northwest region.
The keynote speaker at this educational / leadership summit was Mr. Vidalino Raatior, a fellow outer islander, product of Chuuk State’s public education, international educator who currently serves as the Director of the Pacific Islander Student Center at the University of Hawaii at Hilo. In a recognition of one of their own son of the Northwest, the delegation asked him to serve as the lead consultant for the region to help implement their action plans.
Upon returning to the University of Hawaii at Hilo where he serves as the Director of the Pacific Islander Student Center, Vid proceeded to assemble a team of experts to help him found a US-based nonprofit organization to raise funds and provide technical assistance for the local initiatives. On December 5, 2012, the Fanapi Foundation was officially chartered as a sponsored program of the United Charitable Programs (www.unitedcp.org), a registered 501(c)3, non-profit public charity organization based near Washington, DC.
The Fanapi Foundation continues to expand its partnership with local and global organizations, corporations, foundations, and individuals to help advance its mission. We are working closely with the various associations of Fanapi islanders to engage their members to be actively engaged in helping to address the neglected needs in education, healthcare, advocacy, and economic development back in their home islands. The largest groups of fanapi islanders now reside in Hawaii, Guam, Texas, Oregon, Missouri, and Tennessee. Please contact email@example.com more information on the levels of partnerships.