JCCCNC Celebrates Japan Earthquake Relief Fund Volunteers


Brad Yamauchi, a Partner at Minami Tamaki, and a member of the board of directors of the Japanese Community and Cultural Center of Northern California (JCCCNC) spoke on behalf of the firm at a volunteer appreciation luncheon held Dec. 3 for the Northern Japan Earthquake Relief Fund.

More than 100 volunteers attended and received updates on how over $4 million in contributions is being spent in Northern Japan over the long term. With connections to the YMCA organizations in Japan from the 1995 Kobe earthquake relief efforts, JCCCNC was able to immediately obtain and distribute emergency food and supplies to many affected areas through thousands of YMCA and other local volunteers.

The priorities are now shifting to longer term recovery assistance such as mental health programs, shelter assistance, sports equipment and art and educational supplies that help families to get back to normal lives and activities.

The Minami Tamaki law firm played an important role in this effort, sending out requests for donations and with a matching funds campaign raised almost $500,000 from more than 2,000 donors. Lynda Won-Chung and Dale Minami lead the effort with many hours of work by Brenda Jackson, Kim Nieves, Mami Malandra, Cristina Campos and Gail Lang.

The Minami Tamaki fundraising focused on making sure that a high percentage of the donations received were spent on direct services rather than administrative overhead, which JCCCNC accomplished. But the organization has also used about $200,000 of its fiscal reserves to pay for administration of the relief fundraising operations, and is now in need of donations to help offset those costs.

In his presentation, Brad emphasized that donors wanted to donate to organizations with integrity and experience to be confident that donations would be used wisely and effectively. In this regard, knowing that there were hundreds of volunteers helping existing JCCCNC staff to perform thousands of hours of relief work speaks volumes about the JCCCNC membership and its communty support. Donors can be proud of and trust in JCCCNC’s work and integrity.

JCCCNC organized two visits to Northern Japan since the March 11, 2011, tsunami. The most recent was in early November with Kristi Yamaguchi in collaboration with her Always Dream Foundation. That delegation provided a connection to actual beneficiaries of the the donated funds at several events in the loactions most devastated by the tsunami.

Because many fear the radioactivity, residents there face shunning and isolation, the delegation was one of very few that visited Fukushima, the site of the damaged nuclear power station. Paul Osaki, JCCCNC Executive Director, described a touching scene during this visit. A young Japanese girl came up to him, held his hand and with sad eyes looked up at his face for several minutes. Later he was told that her father had died from the tsunami and that he resembled him. Donations and the presence of those who care matters.

Our contributions, whether money or time, are needed for this relief effort and for so many other worthy causes. Thank you all for your contributions that make life better for those in need.

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