Hamilton CJCC Response to earthquake and tsunami in Japan

Over the past week, many people have been asking the Canadian Japanese Cultural Centre (CJCC) about what they can do to help the victims of the recent earthquake and tsunami in Japan. Many of you want to donate money, but are unsure which organization would provide the best support.

This is also a question that the Canadian Japanese Cultural Centre has struggled with.  However, after a series of consultations, including a broad discussion held at the Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre (JCCC) in Toronto, the CJCC Board is encouraging you to support organizations that are able to address the more immediate needs such as food and shelter.

As a result, the CJCC Board continues to recommend that people donate to the Canadian Red Cross. They, in turn, will send the funds raised to the Japanese Red Cross. The Japanese Red Cross is a highly experienced disaster relief organization with 2 million volunteers. The local volunteers are distributing relief items, making sure displaced people are offered hot meals, clearing debris, providing medical supplies and equipment, and deploying emergency personnel.

You can donate directly to the Red Cross or through the CJCC, which has been authorized to collect donations on its behalf. Cheques should be made out to “Canadian Red Cross” and also specify “Japan Earthquake/Asia-Pacific Tsunami” on the cheque.

Another worthy charity that you may wish to consider is a special, dedicated disaster relief fund created by the Toronto Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre (JCCC) within their JCCC Foundation. Currently, on the advice of the Japanese Consulate, these funds are going to the Japanese Red Cross through the Canadian Red Cross. The CJCC Board notes that directly donating to the Canadian Red Cross may be a faster way to give money for the immediate crisis. For the longer-term needs, as the Toronto JCCC will continue to seek advice from the Japanese consulate, the JCCC Foundation should be considered. Donations can be made online thorough the JCCC website, or by mailing them a cheque made out to “JCCC Foundation” and indicating “Japan Earthquake Relief Fund” on the memo portion of your cheque.

The CJCC is also planning to hold special events to raise funds to support the earthquake and tsunami victims. This includes supplementing already planned fund-raising events (needed to address the CJCC deficit) so that a portion of funds raised will go towards earthquake and tsunami victims, as well as holding special events specifically for this cause. More details about these events will be announced shortly, once plans are finalized.

Frequently asked questions about Japan Earthquake/Tsunami donations

Why donate to the Canadian Red Cross? Wouldn’t it be better to donate directly to the Japanese Red Cross?

The Japanese Red Cross has requested that people donate funds through their local Red Cross. Although no specific reason has been provided, we expect that one benefit would be to reduce their administrative burden.  Instead of having to deal with many thousand small international donations (in varying currencies), the Japanese Red Cross would receive funding transferred in large amounts.

Another benefit is that, if the donation goes to a registered Canadian Charity such as the Canadian Red Cross, it is eligible for Canadian tax credits. This would lessen the financial impact to the donor, which may encourage more generous contributions.

I’m concerned that too much of the donation will be going for overhead and not directly to the people in need. Wouldn’t it be better to send the money directly to Japan?

It is important that the funds to go to a legitimate organization that has the proven ability to see what’s truly needed and the infrastructure to provide it. In this instance, the Red Cross has indicated that less than 5% would be going towards administrative costs. This is well below the average rate for charitable organizations. Administrative costs include the cost to securely process donations, issue tax receipts and report activities to donors, government, the media and the public.

What happens if you don’t specify on your cheque that you want the funds to go specifically for the “Japan Earthquake/Asia-Pacific Tsunami”

Donations that are not explicitly targeted into the Red Cross’s general funds. These funds are also a worthy cause, as they allow the Red Cross to act promptly in any emergency instead of having to wait for funds to come in.

Should we be sending anything else besides money? For example, blankets, medicine, food or other goods?

The Japanese Red Cross Society has said very clearly that if people wish to help the survivors, the best way to do that is by donating money.

This is consistent with the experiences of other charitable organizations. There can be large transportation costs to ship goods, and there can be a fair bit of logistical work to make sure that the donated goods can go to the areas in need. Providing funding allows more local purchases of food and clothing, which are more culturally appropriate and effective.

If I want to make an online donation, how do I do this?

You will need to use a credit card. The link to the Canadian Red Cross Japan Earthquake/Tsunami fund is:

For the JCCC Foundation:

What is the CJCC doing to support the victims of the recent Japanese earthquake and tsunami ?

The CJCC has signed an agreement with the Canadian Red Cross that allows the CJCC to collect funds on the Red Cross’s behalf. Events that were already being planned to raise funds for the CJCC will also include raising funds for the victims of the Japanese earthquake and tsunami. The Centre is also planning to have special targeted events to raise funds for the victims.

This entry was posted in Community News, News. Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.