The Journal The Authority on Global Business in Japan

While there is no shortage of fundraising activities in the Tokyo expat community, the American Chamber of Commerce in Japan (ACCJ) Charity Ball, the chamber’s most philanthropic activity, is an outstanding way for members to give back to the community.

Every year, the Community Service Advisory Council (CSAC), with recommendations from the ACCJ leadership and the Charity Ball Committee, select a group of charities to support. These are our Primary Charities.

While we continue to support recovery and rebuilding efforts in the Tohoku region, we remain committed to supporting local charities, and this year’s are described below.

Mike Makino Fund
The ACCJ Mike Makino Fund for the Homeless is maintained by the chamber for charities that focus on helping the homeless and hungry in Japan.

Through it, the ACCJ has financially supported the onigiri project, through which volunteers distribute rice balls to hundreds of homeless people in Tokyo parks, including those in the Ueno, Yoyogi, and Shinjuku districts.

This year, as in 2014, the fund will support the Tokyo Union Church and the Franciscan Chapel Center—both of which sponsor and support the onigiri project—to feed the homeless temporarily residing in these parks.

The fund also supports the Sanyukai Nonprofit Organization Inc., through which doctors volunteer their services, and the organization provides mental and physical care, as well as food, clothing, and shelter all for the homeless.

Community Service Fund
The Community Service Fund is an ACCJ board-run fund with a mission to administer the contributions of ACCJ members in support of worthy community service projects.

The fund is also used for emergency requests that come in during the year. The projects include activities of the US business, family, and youth communities, as well as of selected Japanese social welfare organizations.

During the past year, the fund was able to support the Special Olympics Nippon and urgent requests from Global Children’s Fund and Lighthouse Japan.

YMCA Challenged Children’s Project–YMCA/ACCJ Ohisama Camp
The YMCA Challenged Children Project was set up in 1987, in cooperation with the National Council of YMCAs of Japan and the Tokyo YMCA.

Funds raised by the ACCJ Charity Ball are used to support the YMCA/ACCJ Ohisama Camp.

This Tokyo YMCA Center program, held in late summer in cooperation with the ACCJ, involves some 40 children with conditions such as Asperger’s syndrome, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, information processing disorders, and other learning/developmental disorders.

The program enables the children to participate in camp activities and enjoy the outdoors.

Taylor Anderson Memorial Fund
The Taylor Anderson Memorial Fund was established in Japan in December 2013 by Taylor Anderson’s parents and supporters.

In collaboration with nonprofit and other organizations engaging in Tohoku recovery efforts, the primary mission of the fund is to help schools, students, and families in the Ishinomaki area recover from the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami.

Lighthouse Japan
Founded in 2004, Lighthouse: Center for Human Trafficking Victims (formerly the Polaris Project Japan) is the only non-profit organization in Japan that specializes in working to realize a society without human trafficking, a modern form of slavery.

Lighthouse runs an anti-human trafficking hotline and provides direct intervention, counseling, and other support for victims of human trafficking. The organization also focuses on awareness-raising and advocacy.

Like a lighthouse that guides sailors to safe harbor in the dark, the organization seeks to serve as a light of hope for human trafficking victims.

Living Dreams
Founded in 2001, Living Dreams’ 2015 challenge is Digital Natives.

Through this, the organization seeks to enrich and enable children through experiential learning, professional development, and the utilization of technological tools to discover and live their dreams.

Living Dreams seeks to become the new standard for 21st century learning and living in Japan’s institutionalized children’s homes.

Programs by the organization include the Designing Artist Academy (a therapeutic program for children dealing with traumatic stress, low self-esteem, and other challenges) and Christmas Wish (a collaborative bridge to bring together the community and the children’s homes).

Barbara Hancock is director and vice president, MediaSense K.K., and chair, Charity Ball Committee.