November 30, 2011
Each year at our Autumn Festival the Aquarium honors an individual or organization within the Asian community for promoting cultural awareness and outstanding community service. In November 2011 the Aquarium presented the Heritage Award to the U.S.-Japan Council for its important efforts in helping the victims of the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan.
The Aquarium’s vision is to conserve nature by celebrating and connecting our diverse communities to one another and the ocean. The devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan gained the attention of the world with a reminder that nature is a powerful force and that humanity needs to come together to help one another in times of disaster. The U.S.-Japan Council illustrated that commitment by hosting a series of fundraisers, providing 100 percent of the funds raised to the victims, and ensuring organizations on the ground in Japan received the money. To date, the council has raised more than $2.3 million for its Earthquake Relief Fund, with the goal of providing immediate relief and supporting the long-term rebuilding the Tohoku region of Japan. The U.S.-Japan Council has also created an online resource, the U.S.-Japan Relief Network, providing information about fundraising initiatives and events across the country.
U.S.-Japan Council staff, members, and board members even traveled to Sendai to assist in relief efforts and learn about next steps to recovery. Their stories, as well as news and updates on various recovery efforts in Japan, are collected on the U.S.-Japan Council’s website at usjapancouncil.org.
Bryan Takeda, the U.S.-Japan Council’s West Coast program director in the organization’s Los Angeles office, accepted the award on the council’s behalf.