UI joins effort to raise funds for earthquake through Japan House
URBANA – The University of Illinois has launched an effort to raise money for disaster relief efforts in Japan following the earthquake and tsunami there last week.
Money from the UI's Illinois-Japan Disaster Relief Fund, established within the UI Foundation, will go directly to recovery efforts in Japan, said Roger Laramee, assistant dean for advancement in the UI College of Fine and Applied Arts.
"We just want to help as many people as we can," Laramee said.
The foundation will be consulting with the consulate general of Japan in Chicago and the Japan-Illini Club on which organizations should receive the money raised by the university and the community.
Kimiko Gunji, director of the Japan House, which is part of the College of Fine and Applied Arts, said in the last week she has received over 100 "heartfelt" messages from students, faculty and staff and members of the community "asking me if they can do anything and if the Japan House was doing anything."
"I've already received an outpouring of concern from many in our community and I know that we all stand ready to help as best as we can," she said.
She has been in contact with friends and family and was relieved to find out they are OK, although stories of dwindling food, water and gas are becoming common, Gunji said.
"It's heartbreaking to see the destruction, and I'm grateful Kimiko's family and friends are OK. But we know that a lot are not," said Tim Nugent, a UI professor emeritus and donor to the Japan House.
"It's time for us to step up and help out," he said.
The UI has about 100 students from Japan enrolled at the Urbana campus and many active alumni living in Japan. The Japan-Illini club, for example, donated $100,000 for the Japan House, Gunji said.
"The Japan-Illini have been so generous to us. This is the first opportunity to return that generosity," Laramee said.
Gunji said she has been in contact with members of the Japan-Illini Club "and they are gracious for what we are doing."
More information is available at http://www.faa.illinois.edu/japanrelief. A click-to-donate link will be available soon.
If you wish to send in a donation via check, checks should be made payable to the UIF-Illinois-Japan Disaster Relief and mailed to the Japan House, 2000 S. Lincoln Ave., Urbana, IL 61802.
The Japan House can be contacted at 244-9934.
The Japan House was established in 1975. Its mission is to introduce Japanese arts and culture, promote the U.S.-Japan relationship and promote tolerance for all cultures and peace. A spring open house will be from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, April 9. Activities on that day include a garden tour, tea ceremonies and presentation on Japanese sweet making.
Tea ceremony set
Kimiko Gunji, director of the Japan House, will dedicate a tea ceremony to the victims of the Japan earthquake and tsunami this Saturday.
The ceremony will be at 1 p.m. Saturday at the Japan House, 2000 S. Lincoln Ave., U.
After the tea dedication, free tours of Japan House will be offered until 5 p.m. Donations to the Illinois-Japan Disaster Relief Fund will be accepted at that time.