Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Two months out, the need remains

Immediate relief efforts for Japan's multiple March 11 disasters, now turn toward preparations for years of community rebuilding both temporal and spiritual. Even for a G-7 country like Japan with substantial global investments, critical world-class exports, leading hi-tech patents, and foreign reserves topping $1 trillion this is no small task. Conservative estimates for the reconstruction from the March 11th earthquake are over $300 billion.

There is the realization that Japan will have to face a new normal.

How can you help? Many international relief organizations retain a percentage of the donations meant for Japan (the American Red Cross reportedly retains 9%) and others have only tenuous ties to Japan’s limited civil society service organizations (nonprofits independent of the government were not possible until 1998 and contributions are not tax-deductible).

You will also find that most of the organizations listed below are contributing to the same NGOs and some even serve on each other’s boards. Some of these NGOs, until March 11, were only focused on international relief efforts. Also, if you would like to have your donation tax-deductible, it needs to be donated to a charity or nonprofit registered in the United States and recognized as such by the Internal Revenue Service.

Here is a listing of organizations with non-profit 501(c)(3) status that are popular among giving Washingtonians wanting to help the Japanese people:

Japan American Society of Washington founded in 1957 hosts the largest spring Matsuri outside Japan of which part of this year profits went directly to Japan’s Red Cross. The Society has collected funds at Metro stops and led the drive in Washington to raise funds for Japan relief with its Stand with Japan campaign with the funds going to the American Red Cross. Its fundraising activities continue in many forms.

Japan Commerce Association of Washington founded in 1988 has over 200 local corporate and individual members that are either Japanese businesses or organizations that work closely with Japan. Most of the Association’s members are the Washington offices of Japan’s major corporations and power companies. The Association has created a foundation to receive funds for the Japanese Red Cross and other relief efforts. Please send your tax-deductible checks payable to The JCAW Foundation with “Donation for Earthquake” in the memo line to the Japan Commerce Association of Washington, DC, c/o Japan America Society of Washington, DC, 1819 L Street NW, Level 1B, Washington, DC 20036.

Sasakawa Peace Foundation USA founded in 1992 has partnered with its sister foundation in Tokyo, The Nippon Foundation, to create the CARE FOR JAPAN fund allowing Americans to donate directly to a range of community rebuilding efforts. The Foundation has nearly 50 years of experience working with civil society organizations delivering social and health services to children, the elderly, the disabled, and the dispossessed, especially after Japan’s disasters. 100% of the donations will go to efforts and institutions involved in-long-term community restoration. Recipents are drawn from The Nippon Foundation’s Campan network of over 9,000 NGPs.

For nearly 60 years, the Asia Foundation has collaborated with private and public partners to support leadership and institutional development, exchanges, and policy research in Asia. Through its Give2Asia program, The Foundation established the Japan Earthquake and Tsunami Fund to raise funds for Japanese NGOs delivering relief services to the Tohoku region. 95% of all funds received will go to Japanese NGOs working to help disaster victims. 5% will go to Give2Asia to coordinate with and support these NGOs.

The Japan Center for International Exchange (JCIE) founded in 1970 to promote dialogue and cooperation among leaders from different sectors of society in Japan and around the world. JCIE has been active in encouraging the development of Japan’s civil society sector. JCIE/USA as partnered with JCIE/Japan and the Center for Public Resources Development (CPRD) to launch the Japan NGO Earthquake Relief and Recovery Fund. Half of the funds raised will go directly to the Center for Public Resources Development’s “Give One” initiative, which raises funds for leading Japanese organizations that are working on the ground to provide immediate disaster relief. The remaining 50 percent will be used to establish a separate fund to support Japanese NGOs engaged in long-term reconstruction efforts, which will be critical in the months and years ahead.

The US-Japan Council (USJC) established in 2009 features an advisory board with a US Senator (Inoyue), a Congresswoman (Hirono), five former US ambassadors to Japan, and four former Japanese ambassadors to the US. Its mission is to strengthen US-Japan relations and nurture Japanese-American affinity to Japan. The Council has devoted all its efforts these past two months to its Earthquake Relief Fund to support immediate relief and the long-term rebuilding of the Tohoku region of Japan. 100% of donations will go directly to Japanese NGOs, such as the Japan Platform (JPF) and the Center for Public Resource Development (CPRD), umbrella organizations for over 150 NGOs.

#QuakeBook: 2:46: Aftershocks: Stories from the Japan Earthquake is neither an American nonprofit nor even an entity. It is an innovative fundraising effort to create a book of experiences and impressions documenting the Quake and Tsunami created by using Twitter and other Internet media. All the writing, graphics, and production work has been donated, and Amazon and Sony distribute it free electronically with your $9.95 donation going directly to Japan's Red Cross. The international media has spread the word. Excerpts are in the Japan Times. Hard copy distribution is expected in early June. Contributing to the book are Japanese throughout the quake affected areas as well as Yoko Ono and sci-fi writer William Gibson. The book cover is available as a poster and can be purchased HERE. 100% of all funds raised will go to Japan’s Red Cross.

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