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Businesses, clubs host numerous fundraisers

By Erin Thompson HAGÅTÑA, Guam (Pacific Daily News, May 4, 2011) – Nearly two months after the March 11 tsunami and earthquake devastated Japan, Guam residents have raised close to US$1 million to support relief efforts in the country and the funds keep pouring in.

Yesterday, representatives from four Guam companies presented US$85,000 to the Japan Club of Guam during a press conference at the Hyatt Regency Guam.

Raised through the Unite for Japan fundraising campaign supported by Docomo Pacific, Ken Corp., the Pacific Daily News and MCV Broadband, the funds represent direct donations from the businesses as well as funds given by the larger island community.

"It's been awesome the participation that we've had. Not only from just the companies, but from our employees, and then from the people of Guam," said Jay R. Shedd, president and Chief Executive Officer of Docomo Pacific.

Shedd said in addition to raising funds through text messages, the company donated 15 percent of sales from its prepaid services for the Unite for Japan cause, and Docomo employees pitched in with more grassroots efforts such as through bake sales and roadside waves.

"People were just giving and giving and giving," said Shedd.

The companies that make up Ken Corp. which includes five island hotels came up with a host of creative solutions for raising funds such as concerts, a Chamorro dance event and a charity golf tournament, said Hayato "Jack" Yoshino, president of P.H.R. Ken Asset Management Inc.

To help support the campaigns through media awareness, MCV Broadband donated US$30,000 worth of television commercials, and the Pacific Daily News also offered up promotional support.

In addition, the Pacific Daily News and Gannett Foundation have donated US$5,000 to the American Red Cross Guam Chapter to help with relief efforts in Japan. The foundation is the nonprofit arm of Gannett Co. Inc., the parent company of the Pacific Daily News.

The US$85,000 raised through Unite for Japan will go to the Japan Red Cross to support direct cash contributions to families recovering from the disaster, said Toyohito Yoneyama, president of the Japan Club of Guam. Since the March event, the Japan Club of Guam has received more than US$600,000 from approximately 500 island donors, all of which will go toward disaster relief efforts. Even bank transfer fees have been waived for the donations, said Yoneyama.

And the support continues.

Unite for Japan organizers said they expect the campaign to continue toward the end of the year.

Other organizations, such at the Guam Chapter of the American Red Cross, will also continue to raise funds.

So far the chapter has raised approximately US$300,000, said Chita Blaise, chief executive officer for the local chapter of the American Red Cross. The American Red Cross national office has donated US$133.5 million to support relief efforts in Japan, she said. She also noted that the organization is also raising funds to support the recent devastation from tornadoes in the U.S. mainland.

This Saturday, University of Guam (UOG) students will hold a benefit concert for Japan. Sponsored by UOG's Fundamentals of Marketing Class and Entrepreneur Society, the event will take place at the Father Duenas High School Phoenix Center.

Tickets are US$15, and attendees will receive a "Pray for Japan" wristband, and be entered into a raffle with the chance of winning a US$5,400 scooter raffle prize, donated by Guam Harley Davidson.

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