Kizuna Foundation is a Japanese non-profit organization that was created in response to the needs of the survivors of the Great East Japan Earthquake and the ensuing tsunami that occurred on March 11, 2011.
Just days after the magnitude 9.0 earthquake struck the Pacific coast of northeast Japan, members of our legacy parent, All Hands Volunteers, Inc., entered the impact zone. As one of the first responders, we were able to secure lodging and a base of operations for our volunteer-driven disaster relief work in Ofunato and Rikuzentakata in southern Iwate Prefecture.
In order to support these activities, we created a domestic non-profit entity called All Hands Asia, which would raise over US$1 million in donations from a variety of individuals, corporate entities, financial institutions, charities and individuals. Through the generosity of these donors, we supported over 1,200 volunteers from 30+ countries and their relief work over a seven-month period. Incredibly, over half of our volunteers were domestic Japanese, despite the pervading opinion that Japan does not have a volunteer culture.
None of these accomplishments or our current efforts would have been possible were it not for the strong vision and legacy of All Hands Volunteer, Inc., the kind and generous support of our donors, and the hard work and dedication of our volunteers. We would like to extend our deepest gratitude to them for allowing us to serve the communities so tragically affected by the disaster.
Our Current Mandate
Following conclusion of the project last year, we shifted our focus to the most pressing issue in the region of economic development and new business creation. Accordingly, we evolved the name of the organization to the Kizuna Foundation to distinguish this new phase of recovery, and in recognition of and to pay tribute to the many friends and connections or the kizuna we made through our volunteer projects. Our goal is to continue the work started by our predecessor through needs-based financing.
In consultation with local officials and residents, we began to map out the areas of greatest need and where we could have the largest potential impact. We concluded that our efforts would be best served focusing our attention on three key areas: stabilization and recovery of the fishing industry: the historic economic base; support for education: the future of the region; and introduction of new industry: the engine of growth. We have committed to connect the capital markets, including donor funding as well as financial markets, with the needs of the residents to help in the recovery and to promote areas of economic growth. We endeavor to make our initiatives superlative wherever possible, and encourage our beneficiaries to strive to be first in some category. Accordingly, we are currently working on a number of projects that we feel are representative our vision and mission.