May 29, 2020

March 2020 Mini Grants


Sakura Kai

Sakura Kai in El Cerrito, CA received a grant to purchase Taikos to be used in their Taiko Class.

Sakura Kai Senior Center needed new equipment to expand its taiko program which provides opportunities for seniors to both stay physically fit and provide an educational component to the community. In 2005, the group obtained a grant to purchase eight small wooden and eight small plastic drums for 16 students. Fast forward 15 years and taiko has become increasingly more popular as an artform and means to stay physically fit. People who are retired and looking for a new hobby are interested in learning taiko. Sakura Kai has had a waiting list of seniors who are eager to learn taiko. This group allows students to learn and practice at a comfortable pace and makes allowances for those with disabilities. Rather than continually turn away new students, a new beginning class has been created for enthusiastic students. However, the lack of equipment makes it difficult to teach successfully. With our Grant, they will purchase three wooden drums to be used by our new beginning students. This will allow them to grow our program and have more drummers available to perform at community events. There are many opportunities to perform at schools, senior centers, and other events where we can showcase that active seniors are still contributing to the community at large.

Learn more about Sakura Kai at

Photo courtesy of Sakura Kai.

Go for Broke

The Go for Broke National Education Center in Los Angeles received the grant to update their website.

The Go For Broke National Education Center (GFBNEC) website is over five years old utilizing out-of-date design, programming and technology. In order to fully learn about GFBNEC’s important mission, programs and even to make a donation, visitors must click-through different pages and buttons. Additionally, the design alone presents GFBNEC in an less compelling and contemporary way without clear presentation of our messaging or call to action copy. During COVID-19 crisis, the limitations of their site was significantly noticeable as they were unable to immediately present a good collective and organized virtual educational experience. They need to design a thoughtful, concise and simple content-sharing website so that they can better educate, engage and expand their visitorship. They have a part-time IT/Webmaster (16 hours/week) who staff must rely on to make any website changes. This project seeks to hire a professional website designer to develop a timely working plan and help create the framework to change over their site, in particular a better integration of our educational programming and resources like our exhibitions, events, artifacts, Hanashi Oral Histories, Monument Name Locator, Medal of Honor Virtual Showcase, as well as our online store and online payment options. The goal is to strengthen their capacity and ability to share the legacy and valor of our Japanese American WWII veterans to new, diverse audiences through more meaningful virtual experiences.

Learn more about Go for Broke at


Kizuna in Los Angeles received the Grant to establish the initiative “Kizuna Connect” to bring educational and culturally relevant programming to children age four to twelve and community engagement to adolescents and young adults.

Using tools including Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Zoom video conferencing, and other online platforms, they will provide content focusing on Japanese culture through picture book readings, letter exchanges with seniors, simple science experiments, craft ideas, and cooking videos. The spread of COVID-19 and the subsequent “Stay At Home” order for the state of California created a need for online engagement and programming in our community. Since LAUSD and many other school districts have closed, parents are homeschooling their children for the first time while simultaneously working from home. While many educational platforms are offering free content and lesson plans, the parents are also looking for culturally relevant content. Many of their families attend Japanese school and participate in community cultural events. Staying at home means that their children are missing out on formative Japanese and Japanese American community experiences. With our Grant to Kizuna, they will utilize their skills in curriculum development and their knowledge of the social media landscape to address this need in their community. Kizuna believes that by creating online spaces for our community to connect virtually, they will keep their bonds strong and provide each other the support they need.

Learn more about Kizuna at