The JETAA USA Japan Earthquake Relief Fund was created in response to the events of 3.11. This was the first time all US chapters came together to fund raise and contribute to a project of this size and importance. For over 25 years, the JET Program has hosted thousands of Americans to live and work in communities all across Japan. In Japan’s time of need, this was our opportunity to give back.
Distribution of Relief Funds and Impact
The JETAA USA Relief Fund raised $88,900 over the course of one year until March 28, 2012. JETAA USA presented this report at the 2012 JETAA USA National Conference in San Francisco with an update on the recipients: Hope for Tomorrow, E-Pa+ch, Taylor Anderson Memorial Fund, Live Your Dream: The Taylor Anderson Story, volunteerAKITA, and Rikuzentakata City. Please visit our Recipients section to learn more.
Recipient Selection Process
After nominations and voting, JETAA US chapters agreed to utilize the JETAA USA Earthquake Relief Fund for education-focused, community-based project(s) and to be done so in the memory of our fellow US JETs who were lost in the disaster: Taylor Anderson and Monty Dickson. This option was chosen with the JET and JETAA mission of grassroots community involvement in mind.
The fund was hosted by JETAA NY due to their status as a legal 501c3 organization and their offer to step up to the plate. Donations were collected from individual donors as well as chapter efforts. The fund was open for one year (3.15.2011-3.28.2012) during which we raised $88,900.
Utilizing our network of US JET alums, an Earthquake Fund Committee was created. Fund Committee members identified and connected with Tohoku communities, establishing projects/ areas of need in which the JETAA USA fund would be most appreciated. The Fund Committee worked diligently to honor JETAA USA’s vote to focus on education-related projects/ needs for the communities JETAA USA could most effectively assist. All individuals who assisted with this project worked as volunteers representing JETAA USA.
The JET and JET alum network proved to be extremely valuable, giving JETAA USA the ability to respond and connect on a grassroots level that could only be the result of the grassroots relationships that JETs foster. The Fund Committee members were also positioned to liaise with local governments, CLAIR, MOFA and NPOs to ensure the funds were utilized for highly effective projects while promoting the core values of the JET Program and JETAA USA. This type of network allowed us to work with nearly 0% overhead and in ways that made our relatively small fund generate considerable and meaningful results.