JCCC Update from the Board and Management
I hope that you and your family and friends are doing well.
Since the JCCC closed its doors on March 16, we have been working on a survival plan to carry us through until December 2020. In order for the JCCC to achieve this plan we are borrowing $700,000 to meet our cash flow needs.
We are appealing to the Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre community and friends directly, to help us to get through this difficult time.
With sincere thanks on behalf of the JCCC in advance, the best way to help is to go online to the JCCC website and donate what you can on a monthly basis for the next 12 months or a one-time gift.
What Challenge is the JCCC facing?
The JCCC operates as a not for profit cultural organization on a break even budget annually with almost $2 million in costs for the building and staff alone not including other expenses.
With no positive cash flow as a result of the shutdown we took aggressive steps to reduce operating costs in the building, but we largely preserved employment and believe that it is important to support our staff now and going forward through this uncertain environment. The JCCC has 16 full-time staff and operates with 1,100 volunteers.
I am one of those volunteers as is every member of the board of directors.
The greatest challenge facing the JCCC is not so much the current shutdown, but in the months following the re-opening of the economy. Society will be balancing the risk factors of social gathering prior to feeling confident and safe that vaccines and therapeutic treatments for COVID-19 are widely available.
The JCCC revenue model is highly dependent on activities and space rentals that support large gatherings of people for cultural or martial arts classes, trade shows, meetings and other functions. The slow return of those activities increases and extends the JCCC’s financial challenge and a return to normal is not projected until we are well into 2021.
Adding to the financial pressure, we cancelled our largest fundraising events during this shut-down including the:
- Annual bazaar in May;
- Sakura Gala in May;
- Toronto Japanese Film Festival in June;
- Natsu Matsuri and Obon Festivals in July;
- Postponement of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics (the JCCC was to be a major venue supporting a festival like viewing pavilion in partnership with CBC Sports).
Space rentals for third party events have been replaced with refund requests for bookings into the Fall.
The timeframe for recovery is uncertain.
What Steps Has the JCCC Taken to Date?
The JCCC has pursued all applicable government programs for emergency assistance, any deferred tax, bank interest, insurance options, and other negotiated payment terms to extend outstanding payables.
The recent extension of the Canadian Emergency Wage Subsidy Program for a few more months will be helpful to extend our time horizon to manage the borrowed funds into early 2021.
Unfortunately with no work available, we gave sixteen part-time hourly employees their Record of Employment to allow them to take advantage of any other government support available to them at this time.
In order to build up a cash reserve to fund the JCCC for the next several months, we have taken a small business loan for $40,000 from the Canada Emergency Business Account, borrowed $160,000 from pledges made to our capital account that was set aside to build a new Taiko Studio this year that we have had to put on hold, and borrowed $500,000 interest free from the JCCC Foundation. We also launched a short-term Emergency JCCC Relief Appeal, which, thanks to the generosity of many supporters of the JCCC, has raised over $75,000.
Our dedicated staff remain busy with managing the various operational responsibilities at the centre and maintaining contact with our members particularly our seniors, customers and vendors.
In addition, we are adjusting centre programs for online access and making procedural and physical changes to the building to reopen the JCCC with the highest standards for health safety and guest enjoyment.
All are working hard to develop new ideas and opportunities to prepare the JCCC for a new normal.
What Does the Future Look Like for the JCCC?
The JCCC has some breathing room to operate until the end of 2020 and into the start of 2021 using the newly borrowed funds. These loans will be added to the $1.3 million that the JCCC still owes the bank for the construction of 6 Garamond Court.
In total we invested $17 million in our new centre and we had been diligent in paying off our debt when this pandemic hit.
The JCCC financial model developed over the past 20 years relies on three main revenue streams:
- Cultural/martial arts programming, events, sponsorship
- Short and long-term Space rentals/leasing
- Annual community donations and support directly from the JCCC Foundation.
The JCCC now needs to take two key steps to weather the storm and secure its future.
Short-term, expanding our reach to develop online revenue models will reduce our dependence on large physical gatherings, and financial support from the community will provide some relief.
In the long term, our goal remains to build up the JCCC Foundation for the purpose of sustaining JCCC operations and programming far into the future.
JCCC Foundation (JCCCF)
The JCCC Foundation’s ability to lend money to the JCCC has saved the day during the COVID-19 crisis and has proven how critical the Foundation is to safeguard a sustainable future for the JCCC.
An interesting historical perspective on the JCCC Foundation – with the current loan, the JCCC is now being actively protected by the spirit of its community ancestors (Issei-first generation arrived 1877-1907, and Nisei- second generation born 1918-1947).
In 1996 we purchased the new centre at 6 Garamond Court and started renovations.
We committed to the early founders of the JCCC at that time that all proceeds from the sale of the original centre at 123 Wynford Drive (built by the Issei and Nisei in 1962), along with any major gifts received from their estates, would be forever preserved in the new JCCC Foundation and would not be used to construct the new centre.
The Foundation was designed to make an annual contribution to the JCCC of less than its’ investment returns to assist the JCCC operations while continuing to grow the Foundations assets.
While we never reached the original goal of funding the Foundation to a level that could support the operations of the JCCC at a self-sustaining level, the Foundation assets have been carefully managed, and now form the base from which we’ve been able to borrow to deal with the current crisis. Times like this have shown how critical it is to the long term success of the JCCC to continue to build the Foundation up over time.
The long term plan to grow the Foundation to a level where the annual contribution from the Foundation to the JCCC combined with smaller annual donations directly to the JCCC covers one third of our annual $3 million total operating costs.
The goal of the Foundation remains to support the JCCC and its programming for generations to come.
Your Support is Needed for this Emergency Relief Appeal.
The best way to help is to make a monthly pledge for the next year, or a single donation to help us get through this uncertain time.
The first $30,000 of your new pledges will be matched dollar for dollar by Naotoshi Seko and his wife Noreen Kuroyama. Thank you Nao and Noreen.
Please make your donation: SUPPORT JCCC
Of course you can also make a contribution to the JCCC Foundation to build our future by reaching out to Kathy Tazumi email@example.com
I sincerely thank you for supporting the JCCC and for bringing to life our motto of “Friendship through Culture”.
Please stay safe and healthy and enjoy the summer.
On behalf of the JCCC Board of Directors