Nichi Bei Foundation receives large grant from The Henri and Tomoye Takahashi Charitable Foundation

The Nichi Bei Foundation — an educational nonprofit organization dedicated to keeping the Japanese American community connected, informed and empowered — recently received the largest grant in the three-and-a-half-year-old organization’s history.

The Henri and Tomoye Takahashi Charitable Foundation has generously contributed $98,000 to the Nichi Bei Foundation to help continue its publication of the Nichi Bei Weekly, to assist in creating a plan to increase membership, to help pay for contributing writers, to aid development and to purchase new telephone equipment. A portion of the grant will be set aside for investment.

“At many times during our startup, we’ve faced some daunting financial difficulties, and every time our community has responded,” said Nichi Bei Foundation President Kenji G. Taguma, emphasizing that the Foundation was established without large seed funding, but with an inspiring grassroots community movement. “And in some of our darkest hours, The Henri and Tomoye Takahashi Charitable Foundation has emerged as a guiding light, a true savior, with their extremely generous contribution that will help ensure the viability of the Nichi Bei Foundation. Mrs. Tomoye Takahashi has emerged as our heroine, for understanding our important role in the community and overwhelming us with her generosity.”

The reasoning behind the surprisingly large grant was explained in the award letter. “The Committee spent a considerable amount of time reviewing the application submitted by the Nichi Bei Foundation as we believe that the presence of a regular periodical is very important to the Japanese American community to inform them of community events and other important issues that may affect their daily lives,” wrote Takahashi. “We are all in strong support of your organization and hope that this additional support can offer you the ability to strengthen the capacity of your organization to continue your work in the years to come.”

Taguma noted the historical connection between the Takahashis and the Nichi Bei, as the late Henri Takahashi was a vital member of the editorial staff of one of the Nichi Bei Weekly’s predecessors, the prewar Nichi Bei Shimbun.

“We are so very humbled by The Henri and Tomoye Takahashi Charitable Foundation’s support, especially in a moment of such dire need,” said Taguma. “Not only did they literally save the last San Francisco Japantown-based Japanese American community newspaper, but they also ensured that we will be on a path to stability. We have truly benefitted from their generosity, and we can’t thank them enough. Their support has been truly inspiring, and encourages us to carry on.”

The Nichi Bei Foundation rose out of the ashes of the Nichi Bei Times as it was closing in the summer of 2009.

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