The Sanaburi Foundation was established on June 20, 2011 under the auspices of its parent organization, the Sendai Miyagi NPO Center, in response to the unprecedented disaster that occurred on March 11, 2011.

“The Tohoku region suffered widespread damage and destruction as a result of the earthquake, tsunami and the accident at the nuclear power plant. Official efforts and market-based activities are not enough to accelerate reconstruction and rebuild sustainable communities in the region,” said Prof. Seiichi Ohtaki, a founder and chairperson of the Sanaburi Foundation. “In response to the wide range of issues faced by people in the affected areas, we need to create an innovative community-based financing mechanism that supports various community development initiatives and is rooted in our civil society.”

The Sanaburi Foundation is the first community foundation in the Tohoku region. We are working to raise money from domestic and international sources for reconstruction and community development in areas affected by the disaster. These funds are being disbursed as general and capital grants as well as “donor-advised” funds. By contributing assets to create charitable funds at the Sanaburi Foundation, donors can directly support the initiatives of local non-profit organizations, small and medium-sized enterprises and social entrepreneurs, thereby providing effective solutions for community needs and making positive changes in the society.

The Sanaburi Foundation builds on the extensive local knowledge and experience in systems for the provision of funding support gained through the Sendai NPO Center’s partnership funding activities since 2001 to address community issues and act as a local intermediary organization. The foundation brings together individuals, nonprofits and businesses offering support with others in the region carrying out activities that require support. Our aim is to create a new channel of funding for community activities for recovery.


Mission and Vision

Our Mission

To encourage and strengthen relief and reconstruction efforts that measurably improve the quality of life and the prosperity of the Tohoku region, which was severely affected by the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear accident.

Our Vision

The Sanaburi Foundation is committed to:

• Increasing donor and civic engagement by addressing core issues and problems that are critical to the quality of life in the Tohoku region

• Making grants or loans in response to locally assessed needs

• Encouraging, promoting, and facilitating collaborations and partnerships among concerned individuals, nonprofits, government and businesses in order to help build a sustainable community and to bring about positive social change in the region

Strengthening local actors committed to reconstruction and community development in the affected area by providing information on financial and other resources to help secure their community activities


What is a Community Foundation?

A community foundation is a public charity institution serving people who share a common interest: vitalizing communities and improving the quality of life in a given place. Unlike most corporate or private foundations, community foundations target a geographically defined territory, typically a city, district, province or region. Community foundations have expertise in the areas they fund and make competitive grants directly to local nonprofit organizations or social businesses using the revenue generated by their endowments.

Community foundations manage a number of endowments and funds created by individuals, nonprofits and businesses. Handling all the financial and administrative processes associated with its funds, such as accounting, reporting, investing and grant-making, community foundations help donors focus on their philanthropic objectives with minimum management costs and duties.

In general, community foundations do not limit their focus areas as far as they meet the public needs. Donors can establish a fund at a community foundation by contributing a variety of assets and may also recommend that grants are distributed, in their name of the fund or anonymously, to qualified nonprofit groups and others. Community foundations can also assist individuals, nonprofits and corporations to determine the best place for their donations to be granted to meet their charitable goals.

There are several community foundations in Japan that are attracting growing attention, but they are less widely recognized than in the United States and other countries where community foundations are regarded as viable instruments of civil society. The Sanaburi Foundation is the first community foundation set up by local community leaders in the Tohoku region.