Funds for Relief and Recovery Work in Japan
Japan Society has announced four Japanese nonprofit organizations that will receive a total of $1,000,000 in the first installment of funding from the Society’s Japan Earthquake Relief Fund for relief and recovery work in northeastern Japan.
The four organizations – Tokyo Volunteer Network for Disaster Relief, JEN, Entrepreneurial Training for Innovative Communities (ETIC), and the Japan NPO Center – are involved in immediate relief efforts to help victims of the earthquake and tsunamis that struck Japan on March 11, 2011.
“Each organization is on the front lines in Japan and is playing an important role in the relief process,” Japan Society President Motoatsu Sakurai said. “We are pleased to provide financial support to these groups.”
The Tokyo Volunteer Network for Disaster Relief is collecting and distributing emergency relief goods, setting up a base in Tome, Miyagi Prefecture, and will coordinate the work of approximately 3,000 volunteers—including students—who will work in groups of 15-50 for one week at a time to help distribute emergency relief supplies and begin clean-up efforts.
JEN is distributing emergency relief goods in Ishinomaki, Miyagi Prefecture, a remote fishing village hard hit by the tsunami; assessing the health needs of the community, particularly their mental health needs; and implementing a sludge removal program. They are also preparing for the longer term needs of Ishinomaki and other hard-to-reach villages.
ETIC is identifying the most vulnerable—the elderly, disabled, those with special medical needs—and providing them with emergency relief goods, connecting them with social services through partnerships with local organizations, and helping evacuate those whose needs cannot be met locally.
Japan NPO Center is identifying and supporting local community-based, grassroots NPOs and volunteer organizations involved in relief and sustainable recovery work throughout the affected region. Grants, averaging $10,000 each, are meant to reach smaller grassroots organizations with speed and flexibility. In this way, organizations that have close bonds with their communities are supported in amounts appropriate to their size.
Daniel Rosenblum, Vice President of External Affairs at Japan Society, who oversees the day-to-day operation of the fund, said, “Criteria for selection were the organizations’ implementation capability, efficiency, financial strength and transparency.”
“We’ve selected organizations we know well, have good track records, are accountable, and can maximize their impact,” Mr. Sakurai said.
The four organizations are part of the U.S.-Japan Innovators Network, a Japan Society initiative that provides opportunities for innovative and creative American, Japanese, and leaders from other parts of the world to connect and collaborate on pressing social issues, including disaster relief and recovery.
Mr. Sakurai said Japan Society will monitor the progress of the fund recipients while continuing to collect donations, and will post their progress, as much as is possible, on the Society's website.
“Every day the world learns more about the extent of damage and devastation in Japan,” said Mr. Sakurai. “We will make announcements about where additional funds will be allocated in the future as we gauge longer term needs."
Launched on March 12, 2011, the Japan Earthquake Relief Fund has received $2,842,754.60 from over 9,800 donors (as of March 29), including individuals, corporations and foundations. One hundred percent of the tax-deductible contributions to the fund go to organizations that directly help victims.
Depending on future contributions to the fund, new recipients may include organizations specializing in mid- to long-term recovery and reconstruction, as well as additional groups involved in relief efforts.
Those wishing to donate to the fund can go to www.japansociety.org/earthquake or mail a check to Japan Society, 333 East 47th Street, New York, New York 10017; Attn: Japan Earthquake Relief Fund. Checks should be made payable to “Japan Society” and indicate “Japan Earthquake Relief Fund” on the memo line of the check. For additional information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
In a previous announcement, Japan Society pledged half of all admission sales made March 14 through June 30, 2011, to the fund.
In addition, Japan Society organized CONCERT FOR JAPAN on April 9, with all ticket sales going to the fund. Japan Society is an American, nonprofit committed to deepening mutual understanding between the United States and Japan in a global context. Now in its second century, the Society serves audiences across the United States and abroad through innovative programs in arts and culture, public policy, business, language, and education. For more information, visit www.japansociety.org or call 212-832-1155.