Bain still Stands For Japan – an update on our fundraising impact 3 years post-tsunami

On March 11, 2011, a powerful earthquake hit northeastern Japan and triggered a devastating tsunami.  The earthquake and resulting tsunami caused widespread damage, including a nuclear meltdown at one of Japan’s main power stations, and resulted in thousands losing their homes, their livelihood, or worse – their lives.

Effects of the 9.0 magnitude earthquake spread around the globe, from Hawaii’s beaches to Antarctica’s ice sheet and beyond. And its personal impact was felt by us all.  Bainies around the world rallied to help our Tokyo brothers and sisters, and launched a global initiative entitled “Bain Stands for Japan.”


The Bain Stands for Japan initiative was a global relay-type event to show solidarity across our offices, and to raise additional funds beyond personal donations and other office-level fundraisers to help with recovery and relief efforts. All told, 38 of our offices spanning 14 different time zones participated in a 22 hour continuous fundraiser and raised 23M Yen ($230K.)  Of that, a majority went directly to disaster relief efforts. The remaining funds (9M Yen/$90K) were entrusted to the Tokyo Bain Cares team to select a local NGO to support.  The team decided to donate with an eye to the future – investing in Japan’s youth.

The money was donated to a unique scholarship program that one of Bain Tokyo’s NPO clients, Bridge For Smile, launched after the disaster.  The program is designed to encourage the children who live in foster houses in Tohoku (northeast Japan) to pursue a higher level of education (i.e., college/university) and provide them with some financial and emotional support while in school.  This is particularly important due to the staggering statistics regarding enrollment in higher education as well as the children affected by the tsunami:

–       The percent of high school students going to college/university from Tohoku (42%)   was already lower than the national average (53%) before the tsunami

–       In foster houses, the percentage was even lower – with only 10-20% pursuing higher education, and 40% of those dropping out before graduation often due to lack of financial sustainability

–       A majority of the 400K+ children affected by the tsunami were concentrated in Tohoku

There was clearly a strong need for this program to support the Tohoku foster children – with the wish that the first successful graduates could provide hope and encouragement for other foster students going forward.  We hope to be contributing to some of the first success stories.  As of today, four students who graduated from foster houses in Tohoku are studying exclusively based on Bain’s support – and each is pursuing a meaningful career path with the intent of giving back:

–       Kirby, set to graduate in Spring of 2016, plans to be a nurse

–       Yuki, set to graduate in Spring of 2015, plans to work in a foster house

–       Ley, set to graduate in Spring of 2016, plans to be a public official

–       Fumi-kun, set to graduate in Spring of 2018, plans to be a geoscience researcher

BSFJ slide

We have remaining funds that we’ll be donating to support future students.  Our hope is that these Bain-supported students will be a beacon of light to others in foster homes and that their impact will help with the continued rebuilding in Japan.

If you have suggestions of other ways to support the students, or if you want to send them messages of encouragement, please reach out to Shintaro Okuno, a partner in Tokyo.

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