The Japan Society announced Wednesday which nonprofit organizations will receive the first allocation of monies collected through its Japan Earthquake Relief Fund. The fund was established in response to the earthquake and tsunami that decimated northeastern Japan on March 11, 2011. As of March 31, the fund has collected more than $3 million from more than ten thousand donors. The Japan Society is also putting half of its ticket and admission sales into the fund until June 30, 2011.
After a vetting process, the Japan Society chose four organizations to receive a total of $1 million. Tokyo Volunteer Network for Disaster Relief, JEN, Entrepreneurial Training for Innovative Communities (ETIC), and the Japan NPO Centerare providing immediate relief for the victims of the Tohoku Earthquake and the subsequent tsunami, and they are all part of the Japan Society’s U.S.-Japan Innovators Network, an effort that connects world leaders who collaborate on social issues.
“Each organization is on the front lines in Japan and is playing an important role in the relief process,” says Japan Society President Motoatsu Sakurai. “We’ve selected organizations we know well, have good track records, are accountable, and can maximize their impact.”
Tokyo Volunteer Network for Disaster Relief
Coordinating three thousand volunteers – including students – the Tokyo Volunteer Network for Disaster Relief is setting up a base in Tome, Miyagi, to collect and distribute emergency relief supplies. The volunteers will work in groups of fifteen to fifty for one week at a time for distribution and clean-up efforts.
This Japan-based NGO is focusing on distributing emergency relief to remote towns such as Ishinomaki, a fishing village in Miyagi Prefecture that was badly damaged. In addition to implementing a sludge removal program, JEN is tending to the health and mental health needs of the community. JEN is working on long-term goals for Ishinomaki and other hard-to-access towns.
A Japanese organization that trains young social and business entrepreneurs, ETIC is establishing a headquarters in Sendai to identify and provide emergency relief goods to the elderly, disabled, and people with special medical needs. They will evacuate those whose needs cannot be met through local social service organizations. ETIC is also planning for the long term by training a younger generation of leaders in Japan in disaster relief and recovery work.
Japan NPO Center
First established in response to the 1995 Great Hanshin Earthquake in Kobe, the Japan NPO Center is identifying and supporting local community-based, grassroots NPOs and volunteer organizations. Partnering with the Civil Society Initiative Fund, the Japan NPO Center is awarding grants averaging $10,000 to smaller grassroots organizations that are providing relief and sustainable recovery work in their local regions.
The Japan Society is continuing to collect donations to its Japan Earthquake Relief Fund, 100% of which will go to organizations that directly help victims in Japan.
“We will make announcements about where additional funds will be allocated in the future as we gauge longer term needs,” says Sakurai, who will monitor the progress of the four recipients and determine what new groups will receive funding in the future.
To make a donation visit Japan Society’s website or send a check payable to the Japan Society and marked “Japan Earthquake Relief Fund” to
333 East 47th Street
New York, NY 10017
Attn: Japan Earthquake Relief Fund