Japanese Social Services (JSS) is dedicated to supporting the Japanese-Canadian and Japanese speaking communities across the Greater Toronto Area and beyond, providing counselling and various support programs. We assist and empower individuals in fulfilling needs and leading lives that are meaningful to them.

JSS is a registered charitable organization. (Charitable registration number: 13338-8710-RR0001)

Mission

To support, encourage and empower these in our community with professional and culturally appropriate services.

Vision

  • JSS will encourage a barrier-free community with freedom from poverty, alienation, abuse and discrimination.
  • JSS will support community members to reach their full human potential.
  • JSS will encourage integration of community members into the wider community.

Values

  • Equity
  • Empowerment
  • Community
  • Advocacy
  • Cultural Sensitivity

Crafting our Strategic Plan

In the spring of 2020, JSS began our strategic planning process, identifying our priorities for the organization now and into the future. We gathered information based on a survey of staff and board members, various existing organizational documents including those related to finances, as well as a scan of existing services and groups that support the Japanese communities or that provide similar services. Our goals were to develop a shared understanding of the general directions and the priority areas for the organization that will allow us to continue to grow as an organization and to enhance our services. 

Our Strategic Plan is developed in the following context:

  • JSS has provided services for over 20 years, supporting some of the most vulnerable individuals in our community. We continue to see a strong demand for our services, especially given the current pandemic.
  • JSS has played a unique role as the only charitable organization dedicated to providing social services to the Japanese and Japanese-Canadian communities in Ontario.
  • Despite the recognized need, our resources are increasingly limited, and declining revenue sources in the past few years have led to reduced staff hours and services.
  • Our counselling services and programs for our clients have been run by professionally trained staff and have received a high level of client satisfaction. After the pandemic forced office closures, we have successfully transitioned to the virtual mode of service delivery. These services and programs are the core of what we do.

Based on the information we gathered, followed by a series of discussions among staff and the board, we have determined the areas identified below as our strategic directions for 2021-2025.

We believe that they represent our most pressing areas of focus and ones that, when implemented successfully, will position JSS as a high performing and well recognized organization that is responsive to the community and client needs.

Many of the areas identified below are interrelated, and one area may support another, or in some cases one or more focus areas need to be addressed together. While they are separately presented in this document, it is important to understand how they relate to one another.  

Strategic Priorities

Enhance Financial Sustainability

While fundraising is a priority in many most non-profit organisations, we have identified enhancing financial sustainability as our most urgent and critical strategic focus at this time.

Increasing revenue sources is essential for JSS to continue to exist in the current fiscally challenging environment. Further, we are aware of unmet needs in our community, and a solid and sustainable financial position will allow us to adapt and expand our services to support the most vulnerable.

JSS has been supported by grants from the government and the generosity of our supporters. Of the current annual budget of approximately $140,000, the two primary government funders are the City of Toronto (approx. $32,000 annually) and the Japanese Government through the Office of the Consulate General of Japan in Toronto ($41,625 in 2020) account for  roughly half of our operating budget. Most of the other half of the revenue is made up of donations from foundations and individual donors. Our fiscal situation is precarious, as most of our sources are on a yearly basis with no long-term commitment. A particular concern is with donor funding that has been on a decline for the last few years, which resulted in a reduction in staff hours and services 2019.

In our strategic planning discussions, we have identified some of the ways in which we seek new supporters and funding sources.

  • Develop annual fundraising plans.
  • Explore a new donor base: some of our long-time supporters have been the Japanese Nisei Community (2nd generation Japanese Canadians). With the aging of this generation, we need to build new supporters, including more recent Japanese immigrants.
  • Reconnect with previous donors, and retain relationships with existing donors.
  • Explore the possibility of corporate giving/matching programs. Seek external (non-board) members from the community to leverage support.
  • Continue with existing fundraising activities (bake sales, Natsumatsuri summer festival, etc.). These should continue as it is also important to keep our profile in the community.
  • Seek grant opportunities while acknowledging the limitations as a relatively small, ethno-specific organization.

Increase Recognition in our Community

The purposes for raising awareness about JSS and our services are two folds:

  1. We need to make sure that we are accessible to those who are in need of our services as new immigrants and visitors arrive.
  2. We want to make JSS more broadly recognized, as this would help in our fundraising efforts as we reach out to potential supporters and donors, especially among established Japanese speaking immigrants and new Canadian populations.

We will advance this agenda by doing the following:

  • Renew website – to make information easily accessible to those who need it: service users, existing and potential donors and anyone who is interested in learning about what we do. The website updates also include some technical upgrades for easy online payment methods.
  • Strategically use JSS newsletter and other communication tools – the newsletter is one of the principal avenues to promote awareness about JSS and its services. The template and guideline for the newsletter were renewed in the fall of 2020 for improved user experience for our subscribers, including our service users, volunteers, supporters and donors.
  • Review and explore the need for a branding strategy including a new logo design.
  • Seek new collaboration and partnership avenues – JSS has always worked with partners including JCCC, Momiji and the Office of the Japanese Consulate General of Toronto. We will continue to seek avenues for collaboration with these and other groups and organisations to enhance our services and broaden our reach. 
  • Actively manage donor relationships – to ensure that the donors know what we do with their support, to ensure transparency and accountability
  • Increase transparency so that existing donors can see our activities and provide reassurance that we are doing good work with their money

Be the Organisation that the Community can Count on

JSS has served as the community’s safety net for over twenty years, supporting those who experience various barriers and challenges. We fill the gap when the mainstream Canadian support system cannot serve them. Our clients are also often referred by other organisations such as the Japanese Consulate General of Toronto and agencies supporting Japanese students and visitors. We have done our work with a relatively small team of staff with a volunteer Board of Directors and no Executive Director. As we navigate the current challenges, we will further develop our organizational capacity to deliver high quality, client-centred services that meet the needs of our community. In concrete terms, we strive to achieve the following:

  • Ensure resources are allocated to where they are most needed, including staff time and other operational needs.
  • Invest in staff to deliver high quality, professional and client-centred services
  • Continue to deliver counselling and programs remotely using modes that are accessible and appropriate for the participants wherever possible.
  • Review our services and unmet needs in our community to ensure we continue to be relevant, responsive and accessible
  • Promote an open and collaborative relationship between staff and the Board to advance our mission and organizational goals as a team effort
  • Seek a sustainable governance and organisational structure by reviewing our current bylaws, policies, compliance requirements
  • Build strong leadership that can advance strategic priorities within the Board and staff

History

2000  The name “Japanese Family Services” is officially changed to “Japanese Social Services” (JSS). JSS resumes full-time operations.

1998  Japanese Family Services resumes part-time operations.

1996  JFS closes for about one year due to sudden and severe funding cuts.

1990  JFS registers as a non-profit organization.

1989  JFS is incorporated.

1989  Results of a needs assessment conducted for the Japanese speaking community in Toronto indicate a need for professional social services in Japanese.

1988  Japanese Family Services of Metropolitan Toronto(JFS) holds its first Annual General Meeting.

1987  A group of human service professionals begins meeting on a regular basis in order to establish a community agency to aid Japanese-speaking people.

Financial report

Board of directors

NameRole
Yuka Sato-Atiyota President, HR Committee Chair, PR Committee
Harumi YamamotoTreasurer, Fundraising Committee
David IkedaAdvisor
Yuko Sorano Program Committee Chair, Fundraising Committee
Yoko ReynoldsPR Committee, IT Support and Website Management
Bruno SavoieFundraising Committee, Legal Support