PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE: Updates from David Ikeda
David Ikeda, JSS President
As I write this message it is mid-February and like most I am anxious for winter to end. And what strange winters we are having, with record Arctic like cold periods followed by record warm ones the following week, and then back again to the snow and cold.
Events at JSS seem to be following a somewhat similar pattern, if I can call it that. Towards the end of 2018 we were in a financial crisis. Donations were down and I did not put in the needed effort into fundraising that our organization needed. Because of that, the board made the painful decision to cut back on staff hours and reduce office and program expenses to the barest minimum.
And yet at the end of 2018 in the midst of the painful winter we received miraculous $10,000 donations each from long time friend of JSS Marty Kobayashi and former board member Haruo Sato. Added to that were record donations to our Holiday Drive.
I should also mention that we have received much needed donations for our programs Konnichiwa, friendly visits to isolated seniors by JSS volunteers, and the Single Mother Support Group. The latter is fully funded by longtime supporters Dr. and Mrs. Mernagh The former is mainly funded by an anonymous donor; and I mean that literally since the name on the cheque is “Anonymous”.
So thank you to the many supporters whose generosity large and small help us to keep doing what we are doing. And we are heartened also by the support given us by our program users and counseling clients. Throughout the summer and fall of 2018 we conducted a “Strategic Plan” with a third party external non-profit organization. Surveys were conducted and our organization both structurally and financially were analyzed. Over a hundred former users participated in the survey with many making positive comments on how JSS helped them. In other words the responses were much better than I had anticipated.I am speaking personally here, because I never participate in surveys. Ever. So getting the positive feedback where 90 percent of the participants said they would return to JSS for services was heartening to say the least.
But, we cannot rest on our laurels. There is still much work to be done. The board of directors is busy drafting a plan to put the strategic plan into action. And we are redoubling our fundraising efforts. Our largest fundraiser, the Toronto Challenge is coming up on June 9. IF you can. please support us by making a pledge to our board members, staff and volunteers who will walking or running the one to five kilometer races on that Sunday. More information will follow so please check our website and Facebook page for updates. Like you we can’t wait till it’s spring.