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Full-Steam Ahead for JACL National as 2021 Approaches

By November 20, 2020January 6th, 2021No Comments

The organization meets virtually as it discusses organizational plans for the new year.

By P.C. Staff

Although still not able to meet in person because of the ongoing (and worsening) COVID-19 pandemic, the JACL National Board met virtually on Nov. 14 to solidify plans for the upcoming new year.

In attendance were several newly appointed National Board members, including Secretary/Treasurer Matthew Farrells, VP of 1,000 Club, Membership and Services Saki Mori and former JACL National President David Lin, who returns to a leadership role as vp of planning and development. All three individuals were named to the board by National President Jeffrey Moy and approved during a recent board conference call.

The JACL utilized technology to hold its virtual National Board meeting on Nov. 14. (Pacific Citizen photo)

With the JACL National Board now complete and in place for the next biennium, Moy proceeded to welcome updates following a presentation by JACL National Legal Counsel Brandon Mita on “Nonprofit Board Governance and Your Duties as a Board Member.”

Executive Director David Inoue then discussed JACL’s recent organizational activities, including its work with NCAPA partners to follow up on the electoral process to begin identifying potential appointees to recommend to the incoming Biden administration across all levels of government, as well as supporting the Japanese American Confinement Education Act, introduced recently by Rep. Doris Matsui (D-CA) and Rep. Rob Bishop (R-UT) that will reauthorize $38 million in funding to support education programs on the Japanese American incarceration experience.

In his report to the board, Inoue stated, “The next two months and upcoming year will be very crucial to engaging our membership on our policy priorities to ensure we make progress. The JACE Act, HR 40 and Neighbors Not Enemies Act are three prime pieces of legislation where Japanese Americans and JACL can make a powerful impact. As we continue to find our footing as a membership and chapter-driven organization during COVID, how we engage our members will be especially important.

“We want to emphasize how important our chapters are,” Inoue concluded. “We need to uplift our chapters and the work that they do and engage our members because that’s what keeps us alive and active and moving forward.”

VP of General Operations Marissa Kitazawa gave an update on the big question of the day: the status of the 2021 National Convention.

JACL had to forego its planned Las Vegas Convention this year and instead held a virtual gathering due to the pandemic. With the administration of an approved vaccine still potentially months away and with coronavirus cases spiking to new records across the nation, holding an in-person meeting this summer remains highly uncertain.

To discuss all options, the board passed a motion suggested by Kitazawa to create a special committee to potentially implement ways to conduct business virtually, as the health and safety of its staff and members is its No. 1 priority.

Inoue also stated that a final convention decision needs to be made in early January.

“We need to decide sooner rather than later if we are going virtual to make it easier to negotiate with the hotel (Bally’s Hotel and Casino). … The sooner we decide, the more flexibility the hotel will have in shifting things to where we can carry things over into 2022,” he said.

Among other highlights:

  • Secretary/Treasurer Farrells reported that JACL’s net asset base continues to grow, resulting in $358K over 2019 through Sept. 30, with total assets of $14.28M.
  • Deficit has been reduced since the end of Q2 and through Q3. Will continue to drive toward further reductions into year’s end.
  • Membership revenue was strong for the period, 17 percent above budget and 12 percent above 2019, period over period.
  • 2021 will bring a more realistic budget regarding revenue expectations for the P.C., and more staff resources will be allocated on fundraising and development activities.
  • According to Membership Coordinator Phillip Ozaki, new JACL members lean female (60 percent vs. 40 percent male) and under age 25, but still 33 percent are 40-plus.
  • Students are 43 percent of new members, followed by regular/individual at 39 percent and couple/family at 13 percent.
  • Half of all members are from California, but 1 in 8 are from other regions (NCWNP 32 percent, PSW 17 percent, PNW 13 percent, EDC 12 percent, MDC 12 percent, IDC 11 percent, CCDC 2 percent, National A. 1 percent).

The next National Board meeting will be held in March 2021.