JDRFB Final Report on Tohoku

(March 2013)

As JDRFB completed its activities, a final report was published to capture generosity and support received from all over New England and beyond as well as to showcase great work done in Tohoku by the JDRFB grantees. 




JDRFB Grantmaking Mid-term Report 

(June 2012)







JDRFB Grants

Through an extensive due diligence process, JDRFB has distributed 24 grants to 19 nonprofit and volunteer groups ranging from $5,000 to $100,000, providing direct support to individuals and communities impacted by the disaster in Tohoku.

All these grants were made possible by generosities of individuals and groups such as the Japanese Association of Greater Boston who gave over $177,000 in total. JDRFB is thankful for all the support and donations.


Awarded Grants: Round 4/Final ( - March 2013)

For the fourth/final round of grants, we distributed $59,000 to two project proposals through an extensive review process.   


IsraAID/Taylor Anderson Memorial Gift Fund - Ishinomaki Community Center: $44,000

IsraAID has been bringing critical mental health programs to the traumatized and disoriented tsunami victims living in temporary housing facilities. IsraAID used JDRFB’s grant to establish a new, innovative program, which combines training in post-trauma management with leadership and community building workshops in the temporary housing facilities in Watari, Miyagi. With JDRFB’s second grant, IsraAID, in partnership with the Taylor Anderson Memorial Fund, will set up a community center in Ishinomaki to provide PTSD prevention services. The center will host stress relief activities for temporary housing residents and children-mother support groups as well as a training the trainers program.

Peace Winds America :$15,000

PWA launched the Fisheries Recovery Project to bolster the economic recovery and create jobs in Minamisanriku, Miyagi. This project aims to revitalize the fishing industry through direct support of fishermen and oyster and seaweed farmers. The JDRFB grant has enabled 219 Shizugawa fishermen to participate in the abalone and sea urchin fishing seasons. These abalone fishermen are expected to generate a total income of $1,095,000, or $5,000 per fisherman. The second grant will help construct 40 fishing sheds in four Utasu districts of Minamisanriku. The work shed helps the fishing families rebuild their livelihoods, providing hope and stability. The impact on the fishing community is immeasurable as the families return to fishing and rebuild the economic backbone of Minamisanriku. 


Awarded Grants: Round 3 ( - December 2012)

For the third ground of grants, we distributed approximately $77,000 to four project proposals through an extensive review process.  

ICA Japan: $22,000

A grant of $30,000 was made to ICA Japan from the round one and made great impacts on the fishing industry in Soma, Fukushima. With the second grant, ICA Japan will host several workshops to revitalize the agricultural industry in Fukushima and also to continue to work with the fishermen's association. Attended by approximately 20 stakeholders (fishermen, farmers, middlemen, media lawyers etc), the purposes of the workshop series is 1) to build a vision toward the future, 2) to identify the contradiction which they are facing to achieve their vision, 3) to create new directions that are holding a new strategic planning, and 4) to make a one-year implementation plan.


The Kamaishi Civic Wind Orchestra: $10,000

The Kamaishi Civic Wind Orchestra is a popular community orchestra made up of wind instruments, based in the city of Kamaishi, Iwate. The orchestra performs frequently in Kamaishi and nearby towns. Their concerts have been extremely successful at building community spirit as well as providing first class musical entertainment. With the grant from JDRFB, the orchestra will restore its instruments, musical scores, and other essential materials that have been washed away in the tsunami.


Taylor Anderson Memorial Library/Mangoku-ura Elementary School: $5,000

Taylor Anderson, the young American JET teacher, taught at the Mangoku-ura Elementary School in 2010 and 2011 and was washed away in the tsunami. Her popularity with her young students was widely recognized and she was a beloved figure in Mangoku-ura, Miyagi. The Elementary School has a small, poorly equipped section of the school library dedicated to her, and the JDRFB grant will be used to enlarge the Taylor Anderson Memorial Library by providing top quality American children’s books.


Voluntary Architects Network: $40,000

With a $50,000 grant from JDRFB in 2011, architect Shigeru Ban’s Voluntary Architects Network (VAN) built a temporary-housing project in Onagawa, Miyagi. That project is generally considered the single most successful temporary-housing project in all of Tohoku. VAN has been asked by the town and its residents of Onagawa to design a new train station and a public bathhouse. As a public bathhouse is traditionally a communal meeting place, and there has been a strong need for such a space, a new grant from JDRFB will help VAN build a public bathhouse, which will be a permanent structure connected to the train station. 


Awarded Grants: Round 2 (- Feb 2012)

For the second round of grants, we distributed approximately $440,000 to nine project proposals through an extensive review process.  


BEYOND Tomorrow: $50,000

BEYOND Tomorrow was established in June 2011 to support the young victims of the earthquake and tsunami who, despite facing great adversity and loss, did not lose hope and continued to embrace a dream to give back to society in the future. JDRFB will support BEYOND Tomorrow’s program to provide students in Tohoku an opportunity to travel to the United States in the summer 2012 for a 2-week leadership program to broaden their perspectives globally and learn from American leadership models. 


Dialogue in the Dark: $30,000

In an effort to address the mental health needs of youth who suffered trauma and loss from the disaster, Kodomo Kankyo Kaigi (Children’s Conference) joined with Dialogue Japan Society to implement a unique program “Dialogue in the Dark (DiD).” DiD provides unique and innovative workshops in complete darkness, led by blind guides who are specifically trained and hired for this work. Participants learn to interact and communicate by relying on all senses except the sense of sight; the program achieves a demonstrable therapeutic effect through the “anonymous” open dialogue session. At the 2011 Children’s Conference summer camp, Children of Fukushima voiced their need of “a real dialogue” with adults within the community.  Dialogue Japan Society’s aim is to provide the essential ground for Fukushima ’s longterm recovery – communication among people including children, trust among the community, and empowerment of individuals.
Habitat for Humanity Japan: $50,000 
Habitat for Humantiy Japan (HFHJ) is moving from the recovery to the rehabilitation stage targeting shelter and community revitalization needs.  Through the fund from JDRFB, HFHJ's housing rehabilitation program in Ofunato will assist vulnerable families in conducting repair work, and easing their transition from temporary shelters back to their original homes.  In addition to the repair works, HFHJ will be providing financial information and consulting to families on relocation and available repair options.


Post-Disaster Ecology Project: $40,000

This project is a collaboration of Harvard University, Open Systems, and Miyagi University, a multi-disciplinary group of academics and practitioners committed to the recovery of Tohoku. Given the rapid change in site conditions and recovery process, the project will stem directly from the needs of the community and work closely with the local people to propose a set of land use strategies that returns the inundated lands to a productive, estuarine environment while cultivating profitable aquaculture and agriculture, based on contemporary and traditional practices. By articulating a new land/water interface, this project will provide a triple service: reviving the economy, reconstituting the local ecological habitats while preventing future disasters by deterring people from resettling in these hazard-prone lands.


IsraAID - Kokoro No Care: $48,202

Israaid (The Israel Forum for International Humanitarian Aid) coordinates the efforts of twelve Israeli and Jewish non-governmental organizations, operating in over 40 countries, in the fields of development and disaster relief. IsraAID is in the process of expanding its programs to reach the population affected most by the tsunami: those who have lost everything and are now living in temporary housing facilities. Traumatized and disorientated, these communities are composed of disconnected families from all over the disaster zone.  IsraAID will use the funds from JDRFB to establish a new and innovative program, which combines training in post-trauma management with leadership and community building workshops in the ‘temporary housing’ facilities in Watari, Miyagi. 


Kirarin Kids: $30,000

This project is a collaboration between Durable Social Innovation Asia (DSIA), established in 2009 to provide training to people who would like to engage in social innovations in Asia, and Niiza Child-rearing Network, a well established Japanese NPO in the field of child development.  These organizations will work with an award-winning NPO, Kirarin Kids (Shining Kids) to improve post-trauma child-rearing in the area. Kararin Kids staff will receive specific, post-trauma training in child development skills, and will work with parents to develop and nurture practical support skills. After developing a system of consulting and support through Kirarin Kids in Rikuzen Takada, DSIA and Niiza Network intend to develop a system of consulting and support for teaching therapies in a wider area.


Kizuna Foundation: $100,000

The Kizuna Foundation is a grassroots organization whose mission is to leverage a global network of partners and supporters to aid in the economic recovery and reconstruction of the Tohoku region.  Kizuna is committed to building on these bonds of friendship, or the 絆 (kizuna) we have established, to “Connect the People of Iwate to a Better Future.” JDRFB funds will be used for two critically important projects:  to rehabilitate an earthquake damaged childcare facility; and to restore the harbor area of Koishihama, which, like every village on the Tohoku coast, lost its harbor and supporting infrastructure to the tsunami. 


Madre Bonita: $40,000

Madre Bonita is the pioneer healthcare provider for the mental and physical well-being of postnatal women, providing a  holistic fitness program in multiple locations in Japan. In response to increased and changing needs after the disaster, Madre Bonita is launching two new programs.  The Workshop Caravan is a series of postnatal fitness and mental care workshops designed to prevent postpartum depression, achieve women’s empowerment, improve parent-child relationships, and assist in community building at temporary housings.   The Trainer Scholarship offers professional development for a woman from Fukushima to create sustainable jobs as a certified postnatal care trainer offering fitness classes to the local community. 


Peace Winds America: $49,993

Peace Winds America launched the Fisheries Recovery Project to bolster the economic recovery and create jobs in Minamisanriku, Miyagi Prefecture. This project aims to revitalize the fishing industry in Minamisanriku through direct support to fishermen and fish farmers. The project is a collaborative effort among Peace Winds America, Peace Winds Japan, and the Minamisanriku Fishing Cooperatives. Peace Winds will support the Shizugawa and Udatsu Fishing Cooperatives and their members by purchasing ropes, nets, seeds, oars, fuel and other supplies that create jobs and increase production. In addition, Peace Winds will provide operational support to the cooperatives, including business consultations and subsidies for administrative expenses.



Awarded Grants: Round 1 (March - June 2011)


For the first round of grants, we distributed approximately $400,000 to nine project proposals through an extensive review process. 

Boston-Japan Medical Relief Initiative (BJMRI): $30,000

BJMRI is a volunteer network of Japanese health professionals from Boston, including 20 physicians, specializing in diverse fields including medicine, public health, child mental health care, hospital administration, shipping and logistics, and management consulting. The grant will support the dispatch of health medical professionals to hospitals and other treatment centers in the affected areas. In particular, public health is still a new area of practice in Japan. BJMRI recently completed an assessment to dispatch MDs specialized in public health to the affected areas. Read more about their work.




All Hands Volunteers: $50,000


All Hands Volunteers is a US-based non-profit currently operating in tsunami-affected areas of Iwate prefecture, Japan. Since its founding in 2005 by businessman David Campbell, All Hands Volunteers’ volunteer response model has been deployed 14 times in disasters around the world. The grant from Japanese Disaster Relief Fund- Boston will support their work in Ofunato and Rikuzentaka. In the city of Ofunato, All Hands volunteer team will conduct residential cleanup and restoration, debris removal, and coordinate a sanitization program. In Rikuzentaka, All Hands is partnering with Second Harvest Japan and the government to coordinate distribution of fresh food items. Read more about their work.


Volunteer Architects’ Network (VAN): $50,000

VAN was founded by internationally known architect Shigeru Ban, who has been assisting with temporary shelter design and construction since 1995 after the Kobe earthquake in Japan.  Since then, Ban's team of volunteers has done such work in Turkey, India, Sri Lanka, Rwanda and Haiti.  After the earthquake and tsunami hit Tohoku in March, thousands of victims were sent to evacuation shelters - often a school gymnasium or other single, large rooms which are overcrowded and offer the disaster victims no privacy.  Ban came up with a unique design for partitioning the shelters using recycled/reusable paper tubing and curtains; through VAN, over 1,000 units (at a cost of $200 each) have been installed.  JDRFB's grant is being used to support the partitions in the shelters as the need continues.  However, as evacuees are moved out of the shelters, JDRFB's funding will support VAN's work constructing temporary housing.  Ban has designed multi-unit "townhouses" built with steel shipping containers, in much the same way that he was able to successfully use the containers to build the Nomadic Museum.


Japanese/US Evidence-Based Mental Health Response Initiative (JEMRI): $50,000

JEMRI is a unique collaboration among the Tokiwa International Victimology Institute (TIVI) in Japan and U.S.-based researchers and clinicians with expertise in post-natural disaster mental health assessment, education and response.  Immediately following the March 11th disasters, medical and mental health personnel in Japan identified a huge need for services and treatment for victims of post-traumatic stress; however, local clinicians lack such expertise.  JEMRI was formed in order to bring such information and expertise directly to local practitioners in Japan.  JEMRI team members, from the Medical University of South Carolina, the Charleston VA Medical Center PTSD Clinical Team and Boston University, are providing on-going training to graduate and undergraduate Tokiwa University students and faculty, the Victim Support Center in Tokyo among others.


Health and Development Service (HANDS): $48,750

HANDS is a Tokyo-based NGO that promotes international cooperation in public health and access to basic health services to all individuals.  Following the earthquake and tsuanami in March, HANDS identified an urgent need for services to pregnant women and newborns.  UNICEF is supporting HANDS’ Child Health program for newborns.  With funds from the JDRFB, HANDS will continue its work for pregnant women in Iwate prefecture assessing needs, restarting maternity classes, conducting workshops, and distributing critical information for pregnant women and those with newborns.  Further, they are working to develop a long-term support program for this highly vulnerable population in one of Japan’s hardest hit areas.


Oasis for U Refresh Operation - Total Relief (OFURO): $48,000

OFURO is a collaboration among medical, business and technology professionals working to provide immediate relief in the wake of the March 11th disaster.  In addition to offering medical services/support and relief goods (including food, water and other supplies), OFURO is providing psychological care for victims, sanitation services and facilities, and technological equipment and support needed to improve information gathering and dissemination among relief organizations and government agencies in the affected area.



Institute for Cultural Affairs (ICA) - Japan: $30,000 


ICA is an international aid organization supporting environmental, AIDS and Sustainable Community Development Programs.  To meet the immediate needs of earthquake and tsunami victims, ICA Japan staff mobilized for delivery of food and supplies.  Following a recently completed needs assessment, ICA Japan found that residents outside the shelters still lacked sufficient food and supplies; they also found that schools in Soma were in need of supplies and materials destroyed by the tsunami.  Working with local staff in Fukushima, and with funds from the JDRFB, ICA Japan will continue its work gathering and delivering food and other supplies, with a particular emphasis on meeting the needs of 23 schools in Soma.



MIT Japan 3/11 Initiative: $40,000


The MIT Japan 3/11 Initiative is a collaboration among MIT and universities and NGOs in Japan, with the cooperation of local governments in Minrami Sanriku, Miyagi Prefecture.  Minrami Sanriku is a coastal town that was one of the hardest hit by the tsunami, leaving literally the entire community destroyed.  The Initiative’s two-pronged approach combines a specific community reconstruction project in the town with comprehensive planning and implementation over five+ years focusing on optimal means of rebuilding the town – addressing alternative strategies for disaster-preparedness, sound ecological community building, and sustainability.  The results of the planning will be applicable to other damaged and destroyed coastal towns.  Because of its existing relationship with local NGOs, the Japanese universities and government agencies, MIT will be able to engage local citizens in all aspects of the work.


Habitat for Humanity Japan: $50,000

Habitat for Humanity International has been actively engaged in relief efforts since the March 11th disaster in Tohoku through its Japan office, which for the past 10 years has focused on volunteer mobilization and training.  Working closely with its collaborative partners in Japan, Habitat is conducting a two-phase project over 15 months focusing first on recovery, and then on rehabilitation and rebuilding in areas hardest hit by the earthquake and tsunami.  The JDRFB is supporting Habitat and PeaceBoat’s work in debris removal, cleaning and sanitizing to allow evacuated families to move back into their homes.