Dec 5 2022

AAPI Series: Funding Polynesian and Micronesian Populations

Grantmakers for Education


December 5, 4:00 pm ET

Join us for our final webinar in our series about education funding centered on Asian American and Pacific Islander communities. In this program, we'll focus on Polynesian and Micronesian communities and learners, providing high-level historical context about this population, exploring how these communities think about the purpose of education, and discussing policy implications that could transform how education serves these students in the future.

While others are welcome to attend, this event is intended for members and education grantmakers. There is no cost to attend this Grantmakers for Education program.

Registration closes 15 minutes prior to the program time. Thank you for your patience; we review each registration in advance.

About the Speakers

John Akapito

John “Jeaf” Akapito
Student Success Coach
National University

John Akapito, who hails from Chuuk, is currently a student success coach and has been a research writing instructor at National University in San Diego. He also serves on National University’s Council on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.

John has been with the National University System since 1995 where he has worked as an admission advisor and coordinator, and manager of the English Language Programs. John also served as the Registrar, Director, and later Dean of Student Services for WestMed College in Northern California.

John Akapito has been involved in the local communities in California. He founded the Micronesian Association of Southern California, has been a member of the Pacific Islanders Festival Association of San Diego, and is currently part of the newly formed FSM Coalition -USA.

John’s credentials include being a qualified interpreter, translator, and language evaluator for the legal systems in several states and various private translation agencies. He is also a member of the National Association of International Educators, and the Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages.

John holds a BA in Communications and a Master of Public Administration both from National University. He is currently working on his doctoral degree in Public Administration at Northcentral University.

Shanty Sigrah AsherShanty Sigrah Asher, J.D.
Community Relations, Pacific Islander Liaison
Office of Economic Revitalization, City and County of Honolulu, HI

Shanty Sigrah Asher is the Pacific Islander Liaison Officer at the Office of Economic Revitalization for the City and County of Honolulu. She also serves as a consultant at the Pacific Resources for Education & Learning in Hawai’i. Previously, Shanty served as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Pacific Affairs at the Department of Foreign Affairs for the Federated States of Micronesia. She is an alumnae of the Executive Leadership Development Program and Asia Pacific Security Studies.

Shanty is a graduate of Malem Elementary School and Kosrae High School and earned both her Bachelor of Science in Pre-Law and a Master of Science in Criminal Justice Administration at Chaminade University of Honolulu. After earning her Juris Doctor law degree from the Thomas Jefferson School of Law in San Diego in 2018, Shanty returned to Hawai’i where she became fully engaged in supporting the Micronesian community.

Shanty’s leadership roles have included serving as a board member for The Legal Clinic, president of the Kosrae Women Association, president of the Asia Pacific American Law Student Association at her law school, and a board member of the National Asia Pacific Islander Prosecutors Association. In recognition of Mrs. Asher’s leadership in the Pacific Islander community in Hawai’i, Governor David Ige nominated her and was subsequently confirmed by the Hawai’i State Legislature to serve on the 12-member Hawai’i State Board of Education. 

Joe Enlet

Joe Enlet
Doctoral Fellow; former Consul General for the Federated States of Micronesia
University of Rhode Island

Joe Enlet is an island boy. He was born and raised on the islands of Chuuk in Micronesia and moved to the U.S. with his family in 2007. After more than a decade of working and serving his community in the Pacific Northwest, Joe has since moved to Rhode Island where he is currently a doctoral fellow at the University of Rhode Island pursuing a PhD degree in Marine Affairs. He is a former diplomat serving as Consul General for the Consulate General office of the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) to the Western U.S.

Prior to his diplomatic work, Joe completed a master’s degree and began a career in Public Health and Community organizing. He was Senior Policy Analyst at the Multnomah County Public Health department focusing on health disparities the promotion of health equity within Pacific Islander communities. Joe has worked as a community organizer and policy advocate for many years within the Pacific Islander community both locally and nationally. He is the immediate past President of COFA Alliance National Network (CANN) a national social justice organization that advocates for islanders from the FSM, Palau, and the Marshall Islands and works on policy issues at the state and Federal levels. He was appointed in 2019 to the Oregon Legislature Taskforce for addressing racial disparities in homeownership. He also served as a Policy Commissioner with the New Portlander Policy Commission and was appointed by Governor Brown as a member of the Oregon Health Insurance Marketplace Advisory Committee. Joe also served on the Washington State Advisory to the U.S. Civil Rights Commission and served on several organization boards and commissions. In 2018, the City of Portland [OR] awarded Joe the Emily Gottfried Human Rights Award. In 2021, Joe served as the Deputy Head of Delegation for Micronesia to the UN Climate Change Conference COP26 in Scotland. While living in the Pacific Northwest, Joe also served Chuuk Logos Community Church in Vancouver Washington as a lay minister. He currently lives in Kingston, Rhode Island with his wife Leen and daughters, Kielain-Grace and Yafa-Lei Hesedia.

Maria Glidden

Maria Glidden
Program Associate
Harold K.L. Castle Foundation

Maria Glidden is the Education Program Associate at the the Harold K.L. Castle Foundation, responsible for supporting the community driven Pilina Fund, our ‘āina based education work across the Koʻolau region and Hawai’i statewide efforts to strengthen public education.

Maria has significant experience working with adolescents through her long tenure at After-School All-Stars Hawaii, where she initially led sites in Nānākuli and Pālolo then advanced to spearhead community engagement and fundraising across the entire organization.

Rachel HoffmanRachel Hoffman
Everett (WA) Public Schools

Rachel Hoffman is the daughter of a Marshallese Mother and Jewish-American father. She grew up in Seattle, Washington, but lives and breathes the Marshallese culture. Rachel serves as an advocate for students and families of color, Elementary School Teacher in a Title 1 school, and Program Director with the Marshallese Association of North Puget Sound (MAPS). MAPS, based in Everett Washington, seeks to meet families’ basic needs, revitalize the Marshallese culture, and create a network of support for the Marshallese people to thrive. Rachel is passionate about students and families having equal access to opportunities and quality education.



Bennie Moses-Mesubed

Bennie Moses-Mesubed
Associate Vice President for Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Belonging
Eastern Oregon University

Bennie is a daughter of the Republic of Palau, an island in the north Pacific within the Micronesian region. As a first-generation migrant college student from a Compact of Free Association nation of Palau, she often experienced imposter syndrome and invisibility in college as many people had never heard of Palau-Micronesia. Additionally, as a young adult, she did not really understand how much she was impacted by colonialism and its influence on her conditioning and mindset. Growing up, she was taught that education was a critical step in ensuring a successful future. Yet, she was not prepared for the many different experiences of exclusion in education that were barriers to having a sense of belonging as a student and a professional. Here cultural history and lived experiences were often not reflected in the course materials and ideological frameworks and not incorporated as valuable insights in discussions, practice to consider or policy development, etc. As an educator, she is passionate in providing space for students to develop an understanding of these experiences to gain a sense of healing, validation and belonging. She hopes to help use the ideology of exclusion in education and racial equity as a framework to help students develop a sense of agency and self-efficacy in their growth journey towards success.

Bennie has been a resident of rural Eastern Oregon and actively advocates for equity and access for our COFA Pacific Islander community in Oregon. She serves as the Associate Vice President for Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Belonging at Eastern Oregon University. In this role, she is the senior diversity officer and a key advisor to university executive leaders in developing, integrating, and implementing diversity, equity & inclusion high-impact practices within campus operations. She also leads campus-wide efforts in developing sustainable diversity-centered initiatives, strategic and programmatic DEI leadership development and engages key stakeholders to develop, implement, and operationalize the University diversity strategic plan as well as provide leadership support for the campus’ DEI Response Advisory Team and Diversity Committee Advisory Committee and oversee the Department of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging.

Prior to Eastern Oregon University, she served as the Dean for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion at Columbia Basin College where she was a member of the President’s Cabinet. She also served in several Oregon boards including the Oregon Governor’s Racial Justice Council, Oregon Commission on Asian Pacific Islander Affairs, Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon, COFA Alliance National Network, Oregon Community Foundation Eastern Oregon Leadership Council as well as local Eastern Oregon boards such as Shelter from the Storm Domestic Violence program and Art East.

Bennie earned her bachelor’s degree in Philosophy, Politics & Economics and a master’s degree in Business Administration from Eastern Oregon University in La Grande, Oregon. She is currently pursuing a doctorate in Adult in Higher Education at Oregon State University. She is passionate about diversity, equity and inclusion as a foundational principle that provides opportunities for all members of the campus to grow and engage in safe, brave, and thought-provoking dialogues that are critical in shaping an equity-centered and inclusive campus community.


The Learner Experience in the Age of Artificial Intelligence
Jun 17 2024

The Learner Experience in the Age of Artificial Intelligence

Join legislators, state, district, and school leaders, business executives, and community partners for a one-day, action-packed summit in the heart...

From Connections to Power to Liberation: Imperatives for Education Justice
Jun 17 2024

From Connections to Power to Liberation: Imperatives for Education Justice

Learn about education victories and ways philanthropy can help to build sustainable power for the education justice movement.