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History of Giving

ACCJ Charity Ball: unbridled fun and chance to help local causes

By Barbara Hancock and Kevin Naylor

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Shortly after its founding in 1948, the American Chamber of Commerce in Japan (ACCJ) started hosting the annual Crystal Ball, now known as the Charity Ball. After the inaugural event, the Crystal Ball grew to become the major social event of the year on the expatriate community calendar. Everyone looked forward to it.

The ball was so popular—often attracting over 1,000 guests—that only the largest ballrooms in Tokyo could accommodate everyone.

Throughout the years, the Charity Ball has been graced by some of the most respected U.S. figures in Japan, including every U.S. ambassador, as well as senior officers from all branches of the U.S. military.

In 2001, the ACCJ, like all American organizations, took time out from celebrating to refocus on new priorities in the changed world after 9/11. In 2002, the chamber redirected the social energy of our community by transforming the event into the ACCJ Charity Ball.

We still look forward to the stylish year-end gathering, as a chance to not only celebrate with friends and guests, but also to support the Japanese community at large—the people and organizations that make our lives possible here.

Since the event redesign in 2002, the ACCJ Charity Ball has evolved into a multi-faceted, multi-cultural celebration with a strong focus on “giving back.” We have raised over ¥130 million for numerous charities. Funds have gone toward supporting our local community and, more recently, the Tohoku region as well.

The Charity Ball Committee works closely with the Community Service Advisory Council to help the ACCJ carry out its humanitarian efforts with funds raised at the event. Every year, the council identifies the primary charities to which a majority of the donations are made—a truly difficult task, given the large number of worthy causes under consideration.

Beneficiary charities are chosen with two main principles in mind. First, the donation should be used in Japan, and second, the recipient organization should be small enough so that the donation made by the ACCJ constitutes a significant contribution.

In the past, Charity Ball funds have been donated to a range of organizations, such as those that support:
• Homeless persons (Mike Makino Fund)
• Children and families affected by serious illnesses (Tyler Foundation, A Dream a Day)
• Victims of domestic violence (No no Hana no Ie)
• The disaster-stricken Tohoku region (MIT Japan 3.11 Initiative, Fukushima City Public School System, JKSK, O.G.A. for Aid)
• Children with disabilities (YMCA Challenged Children Project)

Proceeds have also gone to breast cancer research (Run for the Cure), counseling services (TELL), food distribution (Second Harvest Japan), and the fight against human trafficking (Polaris Project).

The ACCJ Charity Ball promises attendees not only the experience of an exceptional gala evening and entertainment, but also the dual rewards of networking with the Tokyo business community and contributing to causes that fulfill our host community’s social needs.

This year’s theme is “The Wild, Wild West,” and the committee is now hard at work organizing what we intend to be a night to remember. Be sure to join us on December 5, at the ANA Intercontinental Hotel.

Wild, Wild West Wine Taste-Off
reward-adWhether you’re a fan of thick-bodied reds, soft buttery whites, or something in between, you are certain to enjoy the ACCJ Charity Ball Wine Taste-Off. Not only will you have the opportunity to sample a variety of wines from your favorite local purveyors, but your vote will also help select the wine to be served at this year’s gala.

Wine enthusiasts and those who simply enjoy a fun, relaxed get-together with friends and colleagues are invited to this evening of delectable tipples, delicious Tex-Mex hors d’oeuvres, and a light-hearted wine competition.

Date & time:
October 1, 7:00–10:00pm
Cost: ¥5,000
Bulldog Tex-Mex BBQ restaurant
2F Akasaka Gessekai Bldg.
3-10-4 Akasaka, Minato-ku, Tokyo

All net proceeds will benefit the organizations chosen as primary charities for the ACCJ 2014 Charity Ball.
Sign up online through the ACCJ’s events page for this not-to-be-missed event!


Barbara Hancock is vice president of Media Sense K.K., and chair of the ACCJ Charity Ball Committee.




Kevin Naylor is a sales director at en world Japan K.K. and is vice chair of the ACCJ Charity Ball Committee.