More Than Homes: Matt Beall & His Work With Hawaiian Islands Land Trust

At Giveback Homes we love to highlight all the work for social good that we see being done across the real estate industry. In the #MoreThanHomes feature we hear from Matt Beall, founder and principal broker of Hawaii Life Real Estate Brokers, one of the largest and most successful firms in Hawaii.

Hawaii Life is an Inc. 5000 company and  has been acknowledged with awards both in Hawaii and nationally and the brokerage is featured on the HGTV show of the same name. Matt is the Chair of the Board of Directors for the Hawaiian Islands Land Trust, an organization which helps sustain, preserve, and protect treasured Hawaiian sites .


    We asked Matt for his thoughts on giving and the work he is doing with Hawaiian Islands Land Trust.


Philanthropy, giving, is a part of being human. It’s a part of being alive, of being able to consider the future.

If you’re walking down a pristine beach and you see a trashed plastic bottle, you pick it up and take it with you to throw away. But you don’t say to yourself, “I had a great month at work, and I made a lot of money, so I’m going to do this good deed.” Instead, you do it because it’s obvious that it needs to be done.

Granted, not every need is obvious and not everyone is in a position to do what needs to be done. If you’re stressed about how to feed your children tonight or finding a place to sleep that’s dry and warm enough, then the plastic bottle on the beach may not occur as quite so urgent.

But most of us who are in business in the first place have these basic needs met. And the incredible obviousness of what needs to be done is all but ubiquitous. (And those causes and demands of a community which aren’t quite so obvious often find a way to become known, sometimes by a few key evangelists to the cause who tell the story and raise awareness.)

Once we begin to give, to contribute to solving imbalances in our communities, we’re quick to realize how it feels. How human it is. The measure of “how much” or “enough” is only generosity. Being generous feels good. It feels right.

Of course, like so many beneficial things, it requires practice and repetition to master. I don’t know what that mastery looks like. But I do know that I’m in the practice of giving, and that it feels good.

I don’t want to overstate it, either. I’m not attempting to be a saint. It’s enough to say that being generous is rewarding. And it’s compounding, almost addictive. Once we give to the level of generosity, we’re more likely to continue being generous.

At Hawaii Life, especially in the early years of our business, we were not organized in charitable activities. That’s not to say that we didn’t give, we just weren’t very organized about it. A fundraiser here or there. A children’s sporting event. The local shelter dinner or beach clean-up.

Then, we began hosting events like our conferences, The Worthshop Series, or the television show on HGTV about our company. We realized that we had a bigger opportunity to organize our giving.

The business that we’re in is powerful. We help free people conduct what in all likelihood is one of the largest financial and personal transactions of their lifetimes. Those transactions always involve property, land, in Hawaii, which, by any measure, is one of the most precious things on the planet.

Sometimes they’re trading their considerable resources to acquire that land, sometimes they’re trading their land for resources. Nonetheless, this precious land in Hawaii is involved.

There are innumerable political, geographic, legal and even philosophical pressures on those transactions and subsequently on our business. One thing, however, is obvious: land in Hawaii is precious, and limited.


For that reason, we decided to organize our giving, our generosity, towards a land conservation organization: The Hawaiian Islands Land Trust (HILT). HILT has essentially one mission: to conserve land in Hawaii. As a nationally accredited land trust, HILT observes key conservation values in its mission, and has succeeded in conserving over 17,500 acres in Hawaii, in perpetuity.

Hawaii Life originally joined HILT’s “Founding Few” program, designed for donors who would commit to annual giving over a three-year period. Since then, we’ve organized hundreds of memberships on behalf of our clients, and made several other donations along the way.

(Most recently, when I learned that HILT was in need a work truck for monitoring its conservation lands, I donated my big diesel Ford F-250 pickup, which my wife and I had affectionately nicknamed “Big Red”. It was such a pleasure to be visiting Maui and to see Big Red out on the road, on official Land Trust business.)

As we continued to further organize our giving, we created and seeded the Hawaii Life Charitable Fund. The fund is managed entirely by a Board of Directors made up of brokers, agents, and employees from across Hawaii. It’s designed to be completely self-funded, managed and directed. To date, the Hawaii Life Charitable Fund has raised considerable amounts of money and has donated a variety of causes around the State.

We still contribute to various local fundraisers, and local children’s sporting events, and various community needs that are presented to us by the brokers, agents and employees with whom we work. But we focus the bulk of our “corporate” giving toward the Hawaiian Islands Land Trust, while Hawaii Life’s Charitable Fund is organized by the people we work with to create a concerted effort towards other causes that may be more island-specific.


<-- We were part of this project with Hawaiian Islands Land Trust and a bunch of very cool people. Such a sweet spot.


   - Matt Beall





Thanks for sharing your story with us, Matt! To learn more about Giveback Homes and join the movement #forsocialgood go to