For the Greater Good
    In the louche world of talk radio, where the Rush Limbaughs and Howard
Sterns hold sway over the troglodytes of the world, GreaterGood Radio would seem like a losing proposition.

     For the uninitiated, GGR tries to appeal to mankind's desire to succeed rather than its baser desire to celebrate others' failures.

     They interview successful people from all walks of life and talk about what has helped them move ahead, and what we all can learn from their methods.

     This premise has not only allowed them to survive in the talk radio world, but they have just been selected as the Small Business Administration's Journalists of the Year for Region IX, which includes California, Arizona, Nevada and Hawaii.

     "We looked at it as a research project," says Evan Leong, who dreamed up GGR along with his wife Kari, a teacher at Queen Kaahumanu Elementary.

     "We talk to people at their peak in life, or close to it, and correlate similarities - from a senator to a CEO to the director of a community organization - to see what things are prevalent in all of them, and if we took and applied that to our own lives to see if we can have that same type of success. After 130 interviews, you start hearing the same thing over and over again, just with a different story."

     The concept occurred to him after a pair of events, both negative, convinced him that he needed to act outside his own personal best interests and seek out ways to help the community.

     The first incident that put Leong on his path to success was a failed attempt to receive financial support for a scholarship fund
in 2002.

     Leong was coaching pole vaulting at his alma mater, Punahou, and one of his athletes was the daughter of  Duane Kurisu, who owns a piece of everything from this newspaper to the San Francisco Giants. Surely he had enough money to help out with a few grand in scholarships for worthy kids.

     "He told me no, because I used no leverage," remembers Evan."He said if he gave me $5,000 we would give it to a school and it would be gone. But for every $5,000 he spends, he gets $150,000 worth of scholarships."

     Instead of just giving the money away, Kurisu paid people to find scholarships and connect them with needy kids. That way his money got them more than just a year's tuition by finding what was out there the kids couldn't find on their own.

     "When I met Duane I wanted to know what is with this guy," says Evan."He started off dirt poor and now he owns everything in sight. A half-hour discussion with him just totally tweaked out the way we think. He told me he wouldn't do any business unless it benefits this community."

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