JETAA USA’s efforts made it into a report that the JCIE (Japan Center for International Exchange) recently posted on their website. Jim Gannon, JCIE Executive Director and JET alum, also served on the JETAA USA Earthquake Fund Committee, helping direct funds and acting as a consultant. JETAA US contributions were used as an example of grassroots, people-to-people ties which mobilized to respond to the Tohoku Disaster.
Trends in US Giving for 3/11
The disaster prompted an unprecedented level of charitable giving within Japan and it also sparked an outpouring of philanthropy from around the world. Still, while private charitable giving from Japan’s neighbors—most notably Korea and Taiwan—reached historic levels, the largest single overseas source of private philanthropy has been the United States. Americans have donated generously after numerous overseas disasters in recent years, but in dollar terms their response to the 3/11 disaster was surpassed only by the outpouring of US giving for the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami and the 2010 Haiti earthquake.
Importance of grassroots ties
The most striking aspect of the US philanthropic response to the 3/11 disaster has been its breadth. Thousands of schools, churches, and community organizations around the United States held fundraising drives to support organizations helping Japan, and more than 120 individual US organizations acted as intermediaries to channel funds to Japanese recipients on the ground. Forty of these groups raised more than $1 million each in donations, and a dozen surpassed $5 million.
Strong people-to-people ties at the grassroots level clearly played an important role in mobilizing Americans. More than 60 organizations dedicated to different aspects of US-Japan exchange raised funds for Japan, collecting a total of $48 million. These include Japan-America Societies around the country, which raised more than $24 million combined, sister city organizations in 44 cities and towns, which gathered $1.7 million for their Japanese counterparts, and American alumni of the Japan Exchange and Teaching Program (the JET Program, which brings young college graduates to teach in the Japanese school system), who raised more than $300,000.
To read the report in full, please visit the JCIE website.