Norm Baker, the “backbone” of a top Hawaii nonprofit, passed away Dec. 11. He was 76.

According to a press release Monday from Aloha United Way, Baker served in leadership roles at the organization from 2004 to 2020.

They included his work as chief operating officer and, on more than one occasion, as interim chief executive officer.

John Fink, the current CEO, described Baker as “the backbone of AUW for nearly two decades.”

Norm Baker
Norm Baker died earlier this month at age 76. Courtesy: AUW

“The thing that struck me most was Norm’s humility and kindness. There was no one like him,” said Fink in a press release. “He knew so much and the few months that I was fortunate to spend with Norm were incredibly enlightening and far too few.”

Baker was a pilot in the Air Force where he flew 326 combat missions and rose to the rank of colonel. He retired from that position as the chief of staff of the Pacific Air Forces at Hickam Air Force base.

His post-military work included serving the Chamber of Commerce Hawaii, Child and Family Services and most recently AUW.

Baker is credited with playing “an integral role” in starting the ALICE Initiative in Hawaii, which examines financial hardship in the islands. It stands for Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed and its work is used to help inform public policy decision making.

Aloha United Way works to advance the health, education and financial stability “of every person in our community,” the group says.

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