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8 Principles of Good Disaster Grantmaking

1. First, do no harm.

2. Stop, look and listen before taking action.

3. Don't act in isolation.

4. Think beyond the immediate crisis to the long-term.

5. Bear in mind the expertise of local organizations.

6. Find out how prospective grantees operate.

7. Be accountable to those you are trying to help.

8. Communicate your work widely, and use it as an educational tool.

Responding to the Earthquake & Tsunami in Japan

Last Updated: August 18, 2011, 5:21 pm ET

IRS Announces Qualified Disaster Treatment for Japan: On April 5, 2011, the IRS designated the earthquake and tsunami in Japan as a qualified disaster for federal tax purposes. This notice enables employer-sponsored private foundations to assist certain victims in areas affected by the Japan earthquake, and enables recipients to exclude qualified disaster relief payments from gross income. Read the notice and full announcement from the IRS.

To assist its members—particularly those corporate foundations—with the implications of this designation, the Council prepared a brief guide. Also see the Council’s Legal FAQs on Disaster Grantmaking.

Here is the latest roundup of information for grantmakers in the U.S. seeking to give to relief efforts in the wake of the 8.9 magnitude earthquake in Japan off the coast of Honshu (230 miles northeast of Tokyo) that occurred at 2:46 pm Friday March 11, 2011 local (Tokyo) time.

We will continue to monitor the recovery progress and provide updates to information as it becomes available on this page.  For questions, or to provide information on disaster grantmaking efforts you are aware of, please contact Andrew Ho, manager, global philanthropy, at disasterresponse@cof.org

Situational Report

Philanthropy's Response

Resources for donors in the United States

Specific NGOs and Philanthropic Intermediaries for donors in the United States

Information on Japanese Foundations and Charitable Organizations

Council Members in Japan

Japan Recovery Update:

Japan’s government aims to complete earthquake reconstruction in the next 10 years to help the nation recover from March’s record earthquake.

Finance Minister Yoshihiko Noda stated that most of the rebuilding will be completed in five years. The government plans to spend 19 trillion yen ($243 billion) over that period. (Bloomberg News, July 25)

The article "Tsunami Survivors Rebuild as Japan Battles Debris" provides additional context to the rebuilding efforts.

Situational Report Resources:

Philanthropy’s Response
To date, Council members have contributed and pledged over $18 million to support relief efforts in Japan. Here's what Council members have told us they are doing in response to the disaster. Send updates on your efforts to disasterresponse@cof.org, and we’ll include them here.

  • The Corning Incorporated Foundation has approved a $1 million grant in support of disaster relief and rebuilding efforts in Japan. Additionally, the Foundation will match U.S. employee contributions to certain aid organizations, up to $100,000 in the Foundation’s first challenge grant since Hurricane Katrina.
  • The Motorola Solutions Foundation is donating $300,000 to the Red Cross relief efforts and matching an additional $100,000 in employee donations. As of March 24, employees have donated $89,000. Motorola Solutions is also donating communications equipment to assist in relief and to reconnect communities.
  • The Levi Strauss Foundation’s initial $50,000 donation to the Red Cross on the day of the earthquake has been followed by $100,000 to the Central Community Chest of Japan, part of the United Way worldwide network, and $50,000 to the Japan Multicultural Relief Fund, an organization chosen because of their focus on reaching the most vulnerable and marginalized populations. Each of these organizations is providing immediate aid and will help with long-term rebuilding efforts.  The Foundation is also matching employee donations to the Red Cross globally.
  • The California Community Foundation (CCF) in Los Angeles has established a new charitable fund, The Japan Earthquake and Pacific Tsunami Fund, to provide financial support to major U.S.-based nonprofit organizations engaged in emergency efforts in Japan . CCF is contributing $100,000 and accepting donations from CCF fund holders as well as tax-deductible contributions from the general public.
  • The John and Editha Kapoor Foundation will match the funds raised from JNK Concepts' two Phoenix-based Japanese restaurants - Roka Akor, and the other, Nobuo at Teeter House, that is co-owned with Chef Nobuo Fukuda, will donate a percentage of their revenues starting Thursday, March 17 and ending Thursday, March 31 to the Red Cross. 

  • MetLife Foundation will contribute 100 million Yen (approximately US $1.25 million) to support the work of the Japan Red Cross Society and other relief organizations.  The Foundation also will contribute up to an additional $500,000 to match associate contributions to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.

  • Siemens AG will match the employee contributions from all Siemens donation appeals worldwide up to more than 100 million Yen. (approximately US $1.25 million)
  • Bank of the West is contributing up to $200,000 to help the victims of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan. This support from Bank of the West is part of an integrated response to the disaster on the part of the Bank’s parent company, the BNP Paribas Group, which has committed more than $1.2 million to help the survivors of the disaster, including a $100,000 donation from Bank of the West’s sister company, First Hawaiian Bank. 
  • Best Buy Co., Inc., has made a $500,000 donation to support the immediate response efforts to the earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan last week. The contribution was made to the American Red Cross to help advance their short-term relief and long-term rebuilding infrastructure in Japan.
  • AXA Equitable contributed $250,000 to the American Red Cross’ Disaster Responder Program, enabling immediate relief efforts to begin.  An additional grant of $100,000 is being made by the AXA Foundation, directly to the Red Cross’ Japan Earthquake/Pacific Tsunami Relief Fund.  On a global level, AXA Japan announced a JPY 50 million ($619,000) relief donation for the community and is dispatching support teams to help re-establish service in the affected area.  AXA Group has established a donation fund to contribute to the recovery effort, with a commitment of $1 million.
  • The Western Union Foundation announced a $50,000 contribution to the international nonprofit organization Mercy Corps in support of Peace Winds Japan, their local partner. The Western Union Company has set up a special account to enable consumers in the U.S. to support disaster-relief efforts in Japan. Consumers can donate to Mercy Corps by sending a no- fee money transfer using the Western Union® Quick Collect® service (code city: Japan Relief, CO) through a participating Western Union Agent location. Individuals can send up to $5,000 over the next 30 days, concluding April 14, 2011.
  • The State Street Foundation’s Disaster Relief Emergency Assistance Fund will make a $500,000 grant to the Red Cross to assist in the relief and recovery efforts in Japan In addition, the Foundation has set up a special $100,000 matching gift program for employees that will be administered by Give2Asia.
  • Mitsubishi Electric Corporation announced today that Mitsubishi Electric Group companies will donate a total of 500 million yen (~US$6.2 million) to aid and support victims affected by the Tohoku Pacific Earthquake that struck on March 11, 2011. The Mitsubishi Electric America Foundation is coordinating the employee matching gift program and other relief efforts in the United States with plans to support the American Red Cross and Save the Children.
  • Toyota Motor Corporation in Japan will be donating 300 million yen (about $3.75 million) to support relief and recovery efforts from the devastating earthquake and tsunami.  In addition, we have heard from many employees in North America who plan to make personal contributions to the Red Cross to show support for their colleagues in Japan and the people who have been hit so hard from this disaster.  Toyota operations in North America will match all employee giving to make the support go even further.
  • Amgen announced a $1 million donation to Japanese disaster relief efforts. Amgen and the Amgen Foundation will donate the funds to both Direct Relief International and International Medical Corps to bring basic needs and vital health services to those affected in Japan. In addition, the Amgen Foundation will open its staff disaster relief program, allowing staff across the globe to donate funds to identified support agencies, and the Amgen Foundation will match all donations dollar for dollar.
  • General Mills will contribute $650,000 to the Red Cross to support immediate disaster relief efforts. The General Mills Foundation will also provide a dollar-for-dollar match of employee and retiree contributions to the Red Cross, up to $100,000.
  • Medtronic is pledging a total of $1 million (U.S.) in direct grants, employee matching grants and product donations to support near- and long-term relief efforts in Japan following the March 11 earthquake and resulting tsunami.
  • American Airlines is offering AAdvantage members can receive a one-time award of 250 AAdvantage bonus miles for a minimum donation of $50, or 500 AAdvantage bonus miles for a donation of $100 or more to the American Red Cross Japan and Pacific Tsunami Fund.
  • Mattel and the Mattel Children’s Foundation earlier this year made a $750,000 commitment to support the disaster relief efforts internationally of the Red Cross and Save the Children. We continue to work closely with those organizations and monitor their efforts as they address the needs of the children and families impacted in the region. In addition, the Mattel Children’s Foundation will open its Matching Gifts program to match any individual employee donation made to a disaster relief organization, dollar for dollar. Internationally, we will match the collective relief donations of our colleagues by office or subsidiary.
  • Union Pacific will match employee gifts dollar - for -dollar to select charities providing relief services in Japan.
  • Bank of America Charitable Foundation announced a 100 million yen ($1.22 million) commitment to aid victims of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan. This includes a 50 million yen grant to the American Red Cross (ARC), which is partnering with the Japanese Red Cross Society to help meet the immediate needs of survivors. As relief efforts evolve in the coming weeks and months, the remaining 50 million yen will be directed toward long-term recovery, including the rebuilding of homes, schools and other critical infrastructure. In addition, Bank of America will match employee pledges to the ARC “Japan Earthquake/Pacific Tsunami Relief Fund” through the bank's Matching Gifts program, and will not limit its overall company donation.
  • The Intel Foundation has committed $1M in grants for relief and recovery in Japan. In addition the Foundation is matching employee donations (currently over $600K) with a 1:1 match, up to $2,000 per employee. Intel Corp is responding with equipment and technical expertise to help connect refugees with their families and NGOs.

Resources for donors in the United States:


Specific NGOs and Philanthropic Intermediaries for donors in the United States:

  • Caritas: The international organization said Monday that its Japanese branch is working with the Catholic diocese in the Sendai area to see how it can help. Caritas doesn't plan a large response to the initial disaster, but will help where needed. They plan to focus their efforts on the rebuilding phase.
  • CAFAmerica works with a number of international emergency response and relief organizations who are providing services and support for the communities impacted by this tragedy. These include the IFRC, Oxfam UK, Doctors Without Borders, Second Harvest Japan, and Christian Aid.
  • Give2Asia launches the Fund for Japan Tsunami & Earthquake to respond to the needs of survivors. Donations will primarily go toward short-term to long-term recovery projects undertaken in the affected communities. We are working with our local advisors based in Tokyo to assess the current situation and to obtain more information on the needs of survivors.
  • Hands On Tokyo (HOT) engages volunteers in Tokyo to address critical needs in both Tokyo and other areas of Japan affected by disaster. At this time, HOT and its volunteers are working closely with survivors in both the Fukushima and Sendai areas to deliver items of critical need. Financial and product donations are highly sought to help ensure that the daily deliveries contain items of import to those displaced by the recent tragedy.
  • International Medical Corps: An International Medical Corps emergency response team is on the ground in Japan and is coordinating with local officials to support response efforts and fill critical gaps. The team is assessing post disaster conditions and prepping critical supplies for delivery to the earthquake zone. They will focus their efforts on earthquake and tsunami affected communities that have not yet been reached. The team will also offer logistical support as needed to local authorities based on International Medical Corps’ experience in disaster response including following the 2004 Southeast Asian Tsunami and the 2010 Haiti earthquake.
  • Japanese Red Cross Society: Your gift to the American Red Cross will support our disaster relief efforts to help those affected by the earthquake in Japan and tsunami throughout the Pacific. On those rare occasions when donations exceed American Red Cross expenses for a specific disaster, contributions are used to prepare for and serve victims of other disasters.
  • MercyCorps:  Mercy Corps is working to help survivors of Japan's earthquake and tsunami with our longstanding partner, Peace Winds. On Sunday, Peace Winds conducted assessments in two devastated cities in northeast Japan, Ishimaki and Kesennuma. On Monday they'll helicopter 30 family-sized tents for homeless survivors in Kesennuma, plus materials to construct a 100-person balloon shelter. Your donation will be used to meet immediate and longer-term needs of earthquake survivors.
  • Save the Children: Save the Children, which has worked in Japan since 1986, opened its first in a series of Child Friendly Spaces in Sendai City on March 16th.  The organization has a fundraising goal of $20 million, and its strategy in Japan includes providing Child Friendly Spaces, getting children back to school, and making cash grants to local community organizations that are helping tsunami-affected children. 

Information on Japanese Foundations and Charitable Organizations

Council Members in Japan



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