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The JACL National Board convened at its headquarters in San Francisco on Feb. 7. Photo by Susan Yokoyama

National President David Lin stresses the importance delivering action, gaining membership numbers and the challenges ahead of increasing income to further enhance trust and confidence in the organization.

 By P.C. Staff

SAN FRANCISCO — An optimistic 2015 is the picture painted by the National JACL at its recent board meeting at national headquarters in San Francisco on Feb. 7.

“We have great news on the table, but we have challenges ahead of us,” said National President David Lin. “That requires collaboration between all of us. I want to leave you with a great sense of accomplishment, but I don’t want to sugarcoat anything. It’s going to be a tough year, and we have to get everyone excited, engaged and motivated to deliver.”

Among National JACL highlights in the coming months are a JACL contingency along with original Selma marcher Todd Endo and sister organizations to participate in next month’s 50th anniversary of the Selma to Montgomery March, which was led by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., as well as a completely redesigned JACL website that will be fully updated and cohesive with the organization’s media outlet the Pacific Citizen.

In addition, JACL Executive Director Priscilla Ouchida has been selected as a member of the 2015 Japanese American Leadership Delegation, sponsored by the U.S.-Japan Council. She is among 10 delegates who will travel to Japan from March 6-14. The JALD provides “Japanese American leaders with the opportunity to become acquainted or re-engaged with Japan and participate in discussions related to the role that Japanese Americans can play in addressing key issues that face both countries, now and in the future.”

In Ouchida’s absence, NCWNP Regional Director Patty Wada will serve as executive director.

Regarding its current financial status, Secretary/Treasurer Matthew Farrells reported that total revenue for 2014 (based on unaudited financial statements) was $2.56 million. Although the total was down 17.3 percent from the previous year, the amount was attributable to a lower gain on investments. On a positive side, public support increased from 2013’s $396,928 to $645,373 in 2014.

Regarding net income, JACL beat its plan by $45,000 or 23.5 percent in 2014.

“There was a strong overall market performance in 2014, which was one of the drivers of a larger increase in net assets,” said Farrells.

Farrells also reported that the National Council voted on Jan. 19 to lift the hiring freeze of the business manager position, as longtime business manager Clyde Izumi will be retiring at the end of February.

JACL ended 2014 ahead of budget overall, according to Farrells, and aims to improve on a balanced budget over the next biennium as well as improve the P.C.’s revenue and general operations expenses.

JACL National was also pleased to announce the hiring of Toshiko Hasegawa as its new fund development manager. Hasegawa, who will be based in Seattle, Wash., will work with Ouchida to secure co-sponsors and finalize convention partnerships.

This year’s National Convention is set to take place in Las Vegas, Nev., at the Monte Carlo Resort and Casino in July.

And on the membership home front, Membership VP Toshi Abe stressed the importance of building membership numbers. EOY numbers for 2014 indicate 8,318 total memberships (10,042 total members, down from 10,693 in 2013).

Abe reported that JACL is trying to provide more benefits to its members and is holding membership webinars to share feedback with the chapters on what might spur an increase in numbers.

“We have significant risk in the membership numbers,” said Lin. “We need to work hard.”