President’s Message: Sustaining Fund
In late August, the National Executive Board (NEB) met to review programmes; prepare for the upcoming October AGM in Edmonton; and to set the 2012-2013 budget.
The global recession and the volatile economic market is a daily concern to all of us. For volunteer organizations such as the NAJC, the financial situation has become acute. Since 2008, there has been a significant annual decline in the interest income generated by our sustaining fund. We depend on the annual income to cover our administrative costs as well as monies for the National Development Fund; SEAD and CD grants. The proposed budget that will be submitted in October to the NAJC membership reflects the anticipated lower rate of return. As a result, we have cut back on administrative expenditures in order to prevent taking away larger sums of money from standing committee programmes and public grants.
When I assumed the presidency last October, I was shocked to learn that public donations to the NAJC were non-existent!. We have done a poor job of soliciting public funds. With the signing of the 1988 Redress Agreement the NAJC helped the vast majority of Japanese Canadians living in Canada and Japan. Later, working with the Redress Foundation, the NAJC distributed 83 million dollars of seed money (including interest) to local JC communities to ensure the survival and growth of Nikkei culture and heritage. The Endowment Fund was established in 1990 to give young Japanese Canadians funds to assist them to achieve a higher level of development (SEAD) and funds for programmes and projects that assist local communities (CD). To date, 1.150 million dollars have been awarded by the Endowment Fund.
For this coming year, the NEB has set the following priorities:
1. Organization of NAJC files currently held in storage in Winnipeg;
2. Pursuit of government funding to upgrade the New Denver Museum;
3. Digital Storytelling initiative of the Human Rights Committee;
4. Immediate upgrade of the NAJC website;
5. Programming around the 70th anniversary of Nikkei internment;
6. Ongoing monitoring of NAJC expenditures;
7. Sustaining Fund initiatives; and
8. Ongoing governance; review of bylaws and best past practices.
It is evident that the NAJC must appeal to the Nikkei community for donations in order to increase our sustaining fund. In addition, the role of the National Administrator will be expanded in November when they will have the additional responsibility of pursuing external funding sources. We are currently in exploratory discussions with the board of the Hastings Park Foundation to determine how they can assist us in the area of fund-raising.
The National Association of Japanese Canadians has, over the years, gained the experience and credibility with all levels of governments in Canada. As seen with the recent Japan Relief drive, our member organizations mobilized immediately across Canada and raised over one million dollars for Japan. We are the only national Nikkei organization that speaks on behalf of human rights for Canadians and have made the preservation of our culture and history a priority. We are seen by other ethno-cultural organizations as one of the leaders in the advocacy of human rights for all Canadians.
At this time I would like to make a personal appeal to you for a monetary donation to the national NAJC. In addition, if you wish to participate in the community nationally, I encourage you to take out an individual membership. Please visit our website for further information: www.najc.ca
Please make cheques out to the NAJC and mail to:
NAJC, 3rd floor, 207 Donald Street,
Winnipeg, Manitoba R3C 1M5
In closing, I would like to thank Angela Foreman and Pamela Sugiman for their service to the NAJC executive board. We are richer and stronger for their years of service. I applaud their decision to spend more time with their family – Kodomo no tame ni.