By David Lin, National President
Happy New Year! Shin-nen akemashite omedeto gozaimasu! Welcome to the New Year’s issue of the Pacific Citizen!
It has been a tremendous honor and privilege for me to serve as the JACL National President since July 2012. Leading this prestigious organization for the past two and a half years has been an extremely rewarding experience for me, both personally and professionally. I have learned so much from the JACL members, staff and board members during this period. I have also seen so much progress being made to improve the organization’s financial stability and effectiveness. But most importantly, I have seen our members, staff and board coming together and working toward creating a better JACL for tomorrow, one step at a time. It is that unwavering commitment and dedication to the JACL that has set this organization apart from others. For that, I am grateful to you for all that you have done, and I am proud to be part of this great organization.
I am very excited as I look forward into 2015, and I see many great opportunities for us to take the organization to a whole new level, building upon the successes and momentum that we have achieved in 2014. In 2015, there are three major areas that I intend to focus on:
- Continuous improvement to achieve greater operational efficiency and effectiveness. We have been working toward greater operational efficiency and effectiveness with a more streamlined and accountable organizational structure. We have recently realigned the project assignments of the National Staff given project evolution and staff movement. The Pacific Citizen(ITAL) launched its redesigned website late last year, positioning itself very well as the premier communications vehicle for the JACL. We are also in the process of refreshing the National website so that it will deliver timely content and enhance engagement with JACL members.
- Continued focus on improving financial results. Kudos to everyone, we have been able to manage our national budget in an effective manner while accomplishing established business objectives. The financial forecasting process that we instituted has proved to be of great value to our ongoing financial management. At this moment, we are still in the midst of finalizing the 2014 financial results, but I am confident that our 2014 results will be favorable. On an on-going basis, we need to continue to manage our expenses prudently and look for new funding sources to ensure we are on a solid financial foundation. We will also continue to place great emphasis on membership by renewing current members and recruiting new members. Membership is the lifeblood of the JACL, and we must do well to sustain and grow the organization.
- Enhance external partnerships and elevate JACL’s standing in the community. Another critical initiative that we will place even more energy and focus on is building stronger relationships with external partners and stakeholders.
Under the leadership of Executive Director Priscilla Ouchida, we conducted a very successful youth exchange program, the Kakehashi Project, which we partnered with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan and the Japan Foundation. We brought 92 youths in four groups to Japan in 2014. I know that this program was extremely well-received by all youth participants, and it was truly a win-win for the JACL and our partners. We certainly hope to have similar opportunities like this in the future to engage and energize our youth members and our entire organization. In 2015, we will also partner with the Smithsonian Institution to co-host the Day of Remembrance events in Washington, D.C. Again, it’s a great opportunity for us to educate external partners and the general public while elevating our standing in the community.
In closing, I want to take this opportunity to acknowledge the outstanding work of our staff and the National Board for the past year. In my opinion, JACL has one of the most talented, experienced and dedicated staff and National Board of any Asian American community-based organization. They work hard every single day to make JACL an even stronger organization.
With that, my heart-felt thanks to the JACL staff under the leadership of JACL Executive Director Ouchida and Pacific Citizen Executive Editor Allison Haramoto, and all my fellow National Board members! I also want to thank all of our members and supporters for your dedication and commitment to the JACL. I am grateful for all that you do, and I look forward to an exciting and successful 2015!