Latest UpdatesUS foundation for supporting – women leaders Fish Family Foundation establishes representative office in Tokyo

Mar 16, 2020

The Fish Family FoundationExternal site: a new window will open. (the Foundation) is a Boston-based foundation that ignites and accelerates women-led social change in Japan. The Foundation was founded in 1999 by Atsuko Fish and her husband Larry Fish to formalize the family’s tradition of responsibility to improve its community, and it currently focuses on aiding immigration, at-risk youth, and people struggling with mental health.

In the wake of the Great East Japan Earthquake in March 2011, the Foundation created the Japanese Disaster Relief Fund – Boston (JDRFB) and raised approximately 1 million dollars (approximately 100 million yen). JDRFB distributed grants to 19 nonprofit organizations working directly in the Tohoku region, and these grants provided leverage to help these grantees raise additional funds of at least 6 million dollars.
In recognition of her contribution to promoting US-Japan friendship and advancing Japanese women’s leadership in the U.S. and Japan, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan awarded Atsuko Fish with the Foreign Minister’s Commendation (2012). She was also conferred by the Emperor of Japan the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette (2018).
The White House also named her a recipient of the Champion of Chang Award (2013).

Currently, the Foundation operates the following three programs and is recognized both in Japan and the U.S. for its network of women leaders including social entrepreneurs and social sector executives.

Logo of Japanese Women’s Leadership Initiative (JWLI)
  1. Japanese Women’s Leadership InitiativeExternal site: a new window will open. (JWLI)
    JWLI brings emerging women leaders, referred to as Fellows, from Japan to Boston to receive four weeks of hand-on experience and training, in partnership with Babson College, which has been named #1 for Entrepreneurship for 25 years by U.S. News & World Report. JWLI transforms its Fellows into action-oriented leaders, with confidence to lead, skills and knowledge to manage and plans to bring about social change in Japan.
Logo of Champion of Change Japan Award (CCJA)
  1. Champion of Change Japan AwardExternal site: a new window will open. (CCJA)
    CCJA recognizes unsung heroes. Established in 2017, CCJA sheds light on Japanese women leaders who work tirelessly to address the most pressing needs in their communities. Selected from over 100 nominations, a grand champion is announced among finalists at an award ceremony in the fall every year. The grand champion receives a cash prize of 10,000 dollars and a crystal bowl, both generously donated by Tiffany & Co.
Logo of JWLI Bootcamp
  1. JWLI BootcampExternal site: a new window will open.
    Originated from JWLI’s four-week training program in Boston, the JWLI Bootcamp offers a three day program on entrepreneurial leadership that instills management skills, an action-orientated mindset, and knowledge on creating social change in Japan. The program specifically targets women leaders and social entrepreneurs outside Tokyo and other major cities. The inaugural 2019 Bootcamp was held at two locations: Nagoya, Aichi and Ishinomaki, Miyagi.

The Fish Family Foundation opened a representative office in Tokyo in December 2019, its first overseas base. Working closely with its U.S. headquarters, a Japan program manager operates the Foundation's programs.

To assist with the establishment of its base in Japan, the JETRO Invest Japan Business Support Center (IBSC) provided temporary office space, consultation on legal, tax and labor matters and information on regulations and the legal system. It also introduced service providers (an administrative scrivener, tax accountant, service office, real estate agency, bank and PR company) and local governments.

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