Boston Foundation announces new Japan Fund with Japan Society of Boston, Fish Family Foundation to address urgent needs in the wake of disaster

Fund created as a vehicle for local giving to aid those affected by earthquake

Boston – The Boston Foundation has announced the creation of a new fund to raise money to help people in the city of Sendai and in the Tohoku Area of northeast Japan who have been affected by a series of disasters, beginning with a massive earthquake on March 11. The Japanese Disaster Relief Fund represents a collaboration between the Boston Foundation, the Japan Society of Boston and the Fish Family Foundation. 

The fund will be announced today, March 21st, at a Boston Candlelight Vigil for Japan, sponsored by the Japan Society and Old South Church. The vigil will be held at Old South Church in Copley Square from 5:00 to 6:30 p.m. Seating is limited and those planning to attend are asked to register online at www.japansocietyboston.org.

The Japanese Disaster Relief Fund Boston was launched with a leadership gift of $100,000 from the Fish Family Foundation, according to Larry and Atsuko Toko Fish. The purpose of the fund is to provide immediate relief to affected individuals and communities in Northeast Japan, dedicated to the region’s recovery. Fully 100 percent of funds contributed will go toward the relief and sustaining efforts and the fund is designed to be fully expended within two years.

Atsuko Toko Fish will travel to Japan in the coming weeks to visit the affected region. She will report on what she finds there through the website of the Boston Foundation at www.tbf.org or directly, through the www.japanesedisasterrelieffund.org. The new website can also be used to make donations to aid the residents of Japan. The website will be in English and in Japanese.

Larry Fish is the former Chairman of the Citizens Financial Group. Atsuko Toko Fish is a member of the Board of Directors of the Boston Foundation. She was the founder of the Japanese Women’s Leadership Initiative, which is active in Japan and the United States, and is the former Chair of the Asian Task Force Against Domestic Violence. Together, they serve as trustees of the Fish Family Foundation.

“The connections between Boston and Japan are many and deep, and this fund is created to offer an opportunity for those who wish to help the Japanese people at a time of great distress,” said Atsuko Toko Fish. “This is one way Boston area residents can directly and quickly give support where it is greatly needed.”

An earthquake registering an unprecedented 9.0 level of intensity caused a massive tsunami in Northeastern Japan, which in turn caused extensive damage to a major nuclear power facility in the area. The compounded events caused massive damage to communities and the region’s infrastructure and caused thousands of deaths, while fallout from the nuclear reactor has affected the area’s agricultural produce.

Information on the Japanese Disaster Relief Fund can be found at www.japanesedisasterrelieffund.org or through the website of the Boston Foundation at www.tbf.org.

The Boston Foundation, Greater Boston’s community foundation, is one of the oldest and largest community foundations in the nation, with assets of $733 million. In Fiscal Year 2010, the Foundation and its donors made more than $82 million in grants to nonprofit organizations and received gifts of close to $83 million. The Foundation is made up of some 900 separate charitable funds established by donors either for the general benefit of the community or for special purposes. The Boston Foundation also serves as a major civic leader, provider of information, convener, and sponsor of special initiatives designed to address the community’s and region’s most pressing challenges. For more information about the Boston Foundation, visit www.tbf.org or call 617-338-1700.

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