Forum: The Role of the Global Community in International Disaster Responses: Lessons from US-Japan Cooperation on 3/11

April 21, 2016

Co-organizers: JCIE and Japan Society

JCIE and Japan Society hosted a forum to reflect on the US response to Japan’s 2011 earthquake and tsunami and how we can improve disaster philanthropy so we can better respond the next time a massive disaster strikes overseas. Americans donated roughly $750 million for Japan. Drawing on their role in this effort, the 35 participants from humanitarian organizations, foundations, and US-Japan groups joining the forum listed up steps that could help donors with future responses—including a single common application form for grant-seekers, efforts to build institutional ties among nonprofits before disasters, a greater reliance on intermediaries with local roots like community foundations, better donor coordination, and collecting data on funding flows. The recommendations were compiled in a report.


Welcome Remarks

  • Motoatsu Sakurai, President, Japan Society
  • James Gannon, Executive Director, JCIE/USA

Session 1: Taking Stock 5 Years Later

What happened in terms of US efforts to help Japan with 3/11, and what challenges did US groups face in supporting the response? What did US groups do right, and what would they do differently next time?

  • Charles Aanenson, CEO, Peace Winds America [Chair]
  • Betty Borden, Director of Innovators Network, Japan Society
  • Atsuko Toko Fish, Trustee, Fish Family Foundation, Founder, Japanese Women’s Leadership Initiative
  • Randolph Martin, Humanitarian Consultant; former Director of Partnerships, Mercy Corps

Session 2: Building on the 3/11 Experience

What lessons should we draw about how to provide effective and responsible philanthropic support when there are major international disasters? What can organizations funding disaster responses do to share information more effectively? How can they institutionalize patterns of cooperation in preparation for the next disaster?

  • James Gannon, Executive Director, JCIE/USA  [Chair]
  • Yuji Suzuki, Secretary General, Sanaburi Foundation
  • Flozell Daniels, Jr., President & CEO, Foundation for Louisiana
  • Lawrence T. McGill, Vice President, Knowledge Services, Foundation Center