Archive: Grants Program 2015

Japantown Foundation Grants Program 2015

The San Francisco Japantown Foundation awarded a total of $55,000 in grants to nonprofits in 2015. See the announcement.

The San Francisco Japantown Foundation was formed in December 2006 through generous endowments by Kintetsu Enterprises of America, Jack Hirose, Hats and Amey Aizawa, Union Bank, and Minami Tamaki LLP. The Foundation’s mission is to support cultural, community and educational activities for San Francisco Japantown. The Foundation has provided more than $600,000 in funding since 2007.


The San Francisco Japantown Foundation’s mission is to support cultural, community and educational activities for San Francisco Japantown. We are dedicated to preserving and honoring Japantown’s history, to welcoming and serving its residents, visitors, businesses, congregations and community organizations, and to supporting the growth and development of the community’s Japanese cultural theme. In particular, we support activities that reflect the Japanese American experience, and activities that engage Japanese of all generations and other supporters of Japantown.

Our 2015 grants program provided (a) direct unrestricted grants for organizations; and (b) planning grants for organizations focused on enhancing an existing structure of building in Japantown, or creating a product or service that would advance Japantown.

Organizations awarded a planning grant have an opportunity to collaborate with the Foundation potentially resulting in additional funding of up to $15,000.

These unrestricted grants may be used for a variety of purposes, including but not limited to administrative costs, program expenses, or salaries. We awarded grants to organizations that demonstrated the value of their organization to the Japantown community, the effectiveness of their services and/or activities, and their financial sustainability. We do not fund startup projects or organizations founded after January 1, 2014, or to pay for past debts or current operating deficits.

Below is the grant criteria we shared with applicants.


  • Eligible organizations must be a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization, or a fiscally-sponsored project and have been in operation or fiscally-sponsored before January 1, 2014.
  • Eligible organizations must demonstrate a current and historical relationship with Japantown, or provide services to the San Francisco Japantown community.
  • Previous recipients of Japantown Foundation grants must submit grant reports before being eligible to apply for 2015 funding.


Applicants may request up to $10,000. The Japantown Foundation may award grants in amounts lower than requested based on funding availability.


Proposals will be reviewed against the following criteria:

  • Important Community Issue – Organization can demonstrate that it is supportive of cultural, community, educational activities and preservation activities for San Francisco Japantown.
  • Program Impact – Organization can clearly articulate what it is trying to achieve for the Japantown community or neighborhood.
  • Program Impact – There is a clear plan for achieving the organization’s objectives.
  • Program Impact – Organization can demonstrate a clear impact as illustrated by previous accomplishments.
  • Financial Health – Organization has the financial capacity to support its continued impact.


  • Re-granting (i.e., redistribution of these funds to other organizations)
  • Endowments or reserves
  • For the benefit of specific individuals
  • Major capital improvements including capital campaigns, construction or renovations (minor capital improvements required to implement programs are allowable). Planning grants can relate to capital improvements, but the planning grant itself cannot be used for capital expenditures.
  • Activities that promote religious beliefs
  • Past debts or current operating deficits


  • June 19: Grants program for 2015 approved by board of directors and grants program committee appointed
  • June 23: Foundation announces details of 2015 grants program
  • June 29: Foundation starts accepting applications online.
  • July 31, 5:00 p.m. PT.: Applications due
  • August 15 September: Grants program committee submits recommendation to board
  • August 21 September 25: Japantown Foundation board meeting; committee recommendation reviewed, amended if necessary, and approved
  • August 26 Week of September 28: Grants announced


The following items and questions will be included in the application. We will accept applications via PDF, but only on request. We prefer applications be submitted online. Applications completed via PDF will be accepted by fax or postal mail, but must be received (not postmarked) by the deadline of July 31, 5:00 p.m. PT.

Organizational Profile Information

  • Organizational data such as location, type of entity, types of services, number of full and part-time staff, number of volunteers, date of incorporation, and mission statement.

Community Impact

  • Describe how your organization serves the Japantown community and/or neighborhood.
  • How does your organization reach out to and involve its constituents (community members and/or people you serve) in the work of your organization? (for example, customer feedback, community forums, participation in planning, representation on the board of directors, etc.).

Organizational Impact

  • What are the results your organization is trying to achieve for the Japantown community and/or neighborhood?
  • What strategies and/or activities does your organization use to achieve these results?
  • Describe the results your organization has achieved over the past year (or previous program/fiscal year) for the community/communities you serve?
  • How much did your organization do or accomplish?
  • How well did your organization conduct activities and/or provide services?
  • What difference did your efforts make for the community you serve?

Financial Health

  • How does your organization financially support its activities and infrastructure? Please list your organization’s sources of income or revenue.
  • Optional: What are the main challenges and opportunities, both programmatic and financial, facing your organization today and in the next year? Please describe how your organization intends to address any challenges.


  • One-page board or leadership group list with affiliations
  • Current year’s operating budget
  • Previous fiscal year’s operating budget
  • If you are using a fiscal sponsor, please also attach a letter from your Fiscal Sponsor’s indicating that the project is in good fiscal standing


Recipients of a standard grant must provided the Foundation with a report on how the grant impacted one or more of the following: (1) How your organization has helped Japantown because of our funding; (2) How did your organization use the funding? Please provide an accounting.

Recipients of a planning grant must provide the Japantown Foundation with a report that includes the scope, schedule, and cost of the proposed project.


For questions about the San Francisco Japantown Foundation grants program, email board member Keith Kamisugi at

Updated June 29, 2015


In August 2013, the board of directors of the San Francisco Japantown Foundation approved $35,000 in grants to 11 nonprofit organizations.

  • Asian Pacific Islander Legal Outreach ($1,000)
  • GenRyu Arts ($1,000)
  • Japanese Cultural and Community Center of Northern California ($5,000)
  • Kimochi, Inc. ($5,000)
  • Kokoro Assisted Living, Inc. ($1,000)
  • National Japanese American Historical Society ($5,000)
  • Nichi Bei Foundation ($5,000)
  • Nihonmachi Little Friends ($5,000)
  • Nihonmachi Street Fair ($1,000)
  • Parent Teacher Community Council of the Japanese Bilingual Bicultural Program ($1,000)
  • Sakura Matsuri Inc. ($5,000)

These organizations demonstrated the value of their organization to the Japantown community, the effectiveness of their services and/or activities, and their financial sustainability.

Our 2013 grants program differed from previous years in two ways: (1) we provided direct grants without requiring a matching fund requirement; and (2) these grants are not designated for specific projects or programs, allowing recipients to use the funds for a variety of purposes (with some restrictions).