Japan Relief & Recovery Grant Database
Overseas Grantmaking for the Great East Japan Earthquake


This searchable database includes listings for roughly $1 billion in international grants and donations by overseas organizations to Japanese nonprofits and others for the disaster response following the Great East Japan Earthquake. The data was gathered by JCIE staff as part of our Survey of US Giving, conducted from 2012 to 2016.


Frequently Asked Questions

1. What organizations and grants are included in this database?

This database compiles information on private overseas giving for the Great East Japan Earthquake, specifically focusing on 1) organizations based outside of Japan that have made grants and donations to Japan-based organizations or that have raised funds to work directly in Japan, and 2) organizations in Japan that have received their support. The purpose of this is to shed light on the international interactions and partnerships that have been forged during the disaster response and on the nongovernmental organizations that have been most directly engaged in the relief and recovery effort.


2. Why isn’t my organization listed?

The database provides comprehensive coverage of the US organizations that have given directly to Japanese groups, and it includes nearly 400 donors or responders and more than 420 recipient organizations, mostly Japan-based groups. But, with so many different organizations involved, it was inevitable that we would miss some important grants.

In a broader sense, though, the database also leaves out many organizations due to the way it was designed. One reason is that the database was initially created with information collected during a survey of US-based organizations responding to the disaster. As a result, its coverage of non-US donors is more anecdotal than its coverage of US donors.

Also, in many instances, funds passed through multiple organizations before being sent to Japan, then through multiple intermediaries in Japan before being used in the disaster zone, but the database focuses primarily on the point at which funds were transferred from an overseas group to a Japanese one. It would be a gargantuan task to try to get accurate information about the interactions at every point in the chain of funding so, with limited time and resources, we have had to focus our data gathering.

To give an example, an American school group collected funds and gave them to the local Japan-America Society for inclusion in their larger relief fund. Some of these funds were, in turn, regranted to JCIE for disbursal to Japan. JCIE then sent funds to a Japanese intermediary organization, which was set up to forward them to six of Japan’s leading disaster relief organizations that were working on the ground. In some instances, the disaster relief organizations were partnering with small, local organizations, so they then shared small portions of the funds with them, too. Since the database focuses just on the international connections—that is, the transfer of overseas funds to a Japanese responder—the database is likely to only have information on JCIE’s grant to the Japan-side intermediary organization and will omit most of the other times funds changed hands on their way to the disaster zone.


3. Why do most of the listings involve US funders?

This database grew out of an effort to survey giving by Americans, which involved significant time and effort over the course of more than one year. US giving for the disaster was much larger than that of any other country, so the database does succeed in covering a large segment of overall overseas giving. Nonetheless, the fact is that there was an extraordinary outpouring of generosity from countries around the world; as one indicator, more than 100 Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies donated to the Japanese Red Cross. We just did not have the resources to compile an equally comprehensive set of data on private giving from all of the organizations around the world that have mobilized for the disaster response.


4. What is included in each grant type?

Individual grants are categorized as follows, and most span multiple categories.

Immediate Rescue & Relief – A wide range of activities undertaken during the emergency phase of the disaster to assist survivors, clean up the wreckage, and restart basic services

Economic Development – Various efforts to restart local economies, including business revitalization initiatives, employment promotion, and efforts to encourage entrepreneurship

Health/Physical – Interventions to provide health care and rebuild health systems, including initiatives to measure and mitigate the health effects of exposure to radioactive contamination

Psychosocial – A wide range of initiatives designed to help improve the psychological health of survivors, including professional counseling, more general “kokoro no care” activities designed to improve psychological wellbeing and help survivors adjust, suicide prevention, peer support initiatives, etcetera

Children & Mothers – Initiatives targeting expectant mothers, young children, and mothers with young children, including maternal and child healthcare, counseling, childcare, etcetera

Senior Citizens – Projects that deal with the wide array of issues impacting senior citizens

Disabled – Initiatives that deal with the special needs of physically and mentally disabled people in the disaster zone

Community Ties – Efforts to rebuild and leverage local community ties, including initiatives to build community centers, support community groups, integrate displaced people into new communities, and restart local festivals and other activities that help bind communities together

Nonprofit sector and Volunteerism – Initiatives with a distinct component that aims to strengthen the underpinnings of the philanthropic and nonprofit sectors, build up the institutional capacity of individual organizations, or promote volunteerism.

Education – Programs to support formal and informal education at the primary, secondary, and university level

Arts and Culture – Efforts to promote or preserve artistic and cultural heritage as well as those that utilize arts and culture as an entry point for initiatives to rebuild community ties, improve the psychological wellbeing of survivors, revitalize local economies, etcetera

Housing and Infrastructure – Programs related to the physical aspects of rebuilding homes and communities, including architecture, city planning, construction and management of temporary housing settlements, and the rebuilding of transportation systems and other infrastructure

Other – This covers a wide range of initiatives that do not fit neatly into other categories. Prominent subsets include initiatives to promote disaster preparedness and disaster education as well as animal rescue and welfare programs.


5. Where does this information come from?

The core data comes from a survey of roughly 1,100 US and Japanese organizations involved in the disaster response that was undertaken during the period from January 2012 to March 2016, and we then added information about funding from other countries as well. Information is based on self-reporting by overseas and Japanese organizations after we contacted them by phone and email, as well as from publicly accessible information from English and Japanese websites, annual reports, press releases, and grant reports.


6. How can I find out how much money each organization gave or received?

Out of privacy concerns, we have omitted the grant amounts. Much of this information is publicly available, though, and you can often obtain it by visiting the websites of the individual organization, which are usually included in their entries.