The Hawaii Chapter of The Arc was founded in 1954. Over the years, The Arc in Hawaii has advocated for services for both children and adults with intellectual disabilities.
In the 1970s, The Arc in Hawaii was a pioneer in developing community-based homes for persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities. These homes allowed families to take their adult sons and daughters out of the institution and deterred others from entering the institutional system. Thanks to the efforts of community leaders like The Arc in Hawaii, the state closed its only institution, Waimano Training School and Hospital, in June 1999. Hawaii is one of just nine states, including the District of Columbia, to completely close its state-run institution.