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3/18/2009

Ways to support JANM

Times are tough all around right now, but it's particularly a bad time to be a non-profit. Non-profits tend to be among the hardest hit, because people will usually cut back on donations before luxury items, and of course, essentials. An estimate at the end of last year predicted that at least 100,000 non-profits nationwide will disappear over the next two years due to the financial crisis.

There are less grants and corporate sponsorships available. Foundations and individuals are also giving less or not at all. It's pretty bleak out there. I work at the Japanese American National Museum where we've recently had to cut our public hours and some services because we've had to make drastic cuts to staffing. I've talked to people at other non-profits and I hear the same difficulties everywhere...everyone is struggling to survive right now, trying to figure out how to hang on until things improve.

I've worked at JANM now for almost 14 years. When I started, we only had the Historic Nishi Hongwanji building. The space where the Pavilion building is now was just a parking lot. I was there when we opened the Pavilion in January 1999. I can't believe it's already been 10 years! I am so very proud of what we have accomplished in that time...over 25,000 students visit us every year and learn about the JA experience--from the struggles of the pioneering Issei, through the WWII years of camp and the 442/100/MIS, and into resettlement and redress. So many educators have attended workshops that extend the messages of diversity as an integral part of democracy. Exhibitions and public programs, our collections, our websites, and so much more...I really fear losing all of this.

The majority of our funding each year comes from individual gifts, both large and small. Although we do get grants to support special projects, they generally won't fund much staffing or things like utilities and basic operating costs. So, memberships, donations, special events like our Annual Gala Dinner, and other forms of giving are what keeps us running.

If you support the work of the Japanese American National Museum, and want to help ensure that we are able to continue the work that we do (school tours, exhibitions, public programs, conferences, educator workshops and programs, preservation and access to our vast collection--the largest of its kind in the world, our resource center, our web projects, and so much more), we really, really, REALLY need your support now.

Ways you can help:

Lexus tickets
On Sat, April 25, at our Annual Dinner, we will be selecting the winner for a Lexus Opportunity Drawing. This year, you can win a 2009 Lexus GS 450h. It's a very nice looking hybrid, so also saves on gas too! (I'm not a car person, so won't attempt to present details...go to the Lexus site: http://www.lexus.com/models/GSh/). Lexus tickets are $25 each, or 5 for $100 (buy 4, get 1 free!).

If you're interested in purchasing Lexus tickets, go to the Museum's front desk or go to http://www.janm.org/events/2009/dinner and download the order form and mail it in. If you want to be nice to me, write my name on the form (Vicky Murakami-Tsuda) so I can get credit. =)

Other ways to help
Not interested in winning a Lexus? There are other ways you can help, some even don't require you to open up your pocketbook! Some examples are using GoodSearch.com and programs like eSCRIP. Another is a special limited offer gift of a poster of Giant Robot Issue 57 featuring artwork of President Barack Obama on the cover on donations of $40 or more.

We're always in need of volunteers. Our many dedicated volunteers are what have enabled us to accomplish all that we do. They work as docents and greeters. They help out in the Store (both in the front and behind-the-scenes). They help us with our collections and in our resource center. They help with maintaining our facilities, mailings, public programs, and a myriad of other tasks. They help us with our websites and support so many of our projects. With the cuts to our staffing, our volunteers are even more critical than ever.

Visit http://www.janm.org/ways-to-help/ for info on these and other ways to help.

Don't forget to support your other favorite Little Tokyo non-profits too!