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Douglass School students play on a giant world map created by the World Game Institute (WGI), a Hitachi Foundation grant recipient.
The WGI is a U.S. research and education organization that provides materials through which children can learn while playing. ©Mitsuya Okumura
In the 1980s, when the U.S. - Japan relationship was tense due to economic issues, Hitachi was not immune to the problem.It became essential to consider the responsibilities that accompanied the growth of business in the United States. Thus, in 1985, proposed by Katsushige Mita, the fifth president of Hitachi, Ltd., Hitachi established The Hitachi Foundation in Washington, DC to better fulfill its responsibilities as a good corporate citizen in the United States.
The Hitachi Foundation was established to contribute to American society. Governed by a Board of Directors composed of highly accomplished Americans, the Foundation's broad purpose is to enhance the well-being of disadvantaged people and communities in North America and to generate knowledge that defines and advances the practice of good corporate citizenship.
Mita served as Honorary Chairman and The Honorable Elliot Richardson, former U.S. Attorney General and Secretary of the U.S. Department of Commerce, became the Foundation's founding Chairman of the Board. Mita was succeeded by Tsutomu Kanai in 2004 and Richardson was succeeded by Joseph Kasputys in 1998. Dr. Kasputys, who served on the Foundation Board since its inception, had provided vision and inspiration for two decades. He stepped down in 2005. His successor, Dr. Bruce MacLaury, president emeritus of the Brookings Institution, follows in this tradition of accomplished leadership. The Foundation is managed by an American staff. Delwin Roy, the first president & CEO, was succeeded in 1998 by the current president & CEO, Barbara Dyer.
The founding chairman Richardson was convinced that local, national, and international problems could only be solved by partnerships among the government, private, nonprofit, and community sectors. The Hitachi Foundation became a catalyst for creating and guiding such partnerships. The Foundation's three programs, in place by 1987, are: the Business & Community Grants Program; the Yoshiyama Award for Exemplary Service to the Community; and the Hitachi Community Action Partnership.
The Foundation's programs reflect a cross-section of ideas and practices that are at the center of the corporate citizenship field. Entering its 21st year, the Foundation intends to blend community strengthening with business' responsibility to society, generating practical knowledge and new approaches.
Hitachi views the Foundation as a pioneering and exemplary model for corporate social contributions. Today some Hitachi Group companies are trying to promote programs similar to those of the Foundation in regions around the world.
This program provides grants to business-community partnership programs addressing the issue of economically and socially isolated people. This program focuses, for example, on education and training programs that allow people with little employment opportunities to develop work skills and gain employment.
Recipients of the 2005 Yoshiyama Award
The young award recipients were lauded for their outstanding contributions to their communities, including the promotion of human rights. The 10 recipients stand with The Hitachi Foundation's former Board Chair Joseph E. Kasputys (front right) and President & CEO Barbara Dyer (front left).
This program honors high school seniors from across the United States for their outstanding service to their communities. This award was established with funds donated by Hirokichi Yoshiyama, the fourth president of Hitachi, Ltd., upon his retirement as Hitachi chairman. Since 1988, the Yoshiyama Award ceremony has been held 18 times and recognized 176 high school seniors. This program is intended to provide recognition and encouragement for the young award recipients and to inspire others to create a better society.
Hitachi Community Action Partnership
Hitachi Community Action Partnership Activities An employee of Hitachi America, Ltd. reads aloud to first-graders at a public elementary school. Story time is an opportunity not only to tell children tales but also to strengthen the ties between the children and adults.
This program provides a means for 21 Hitachi Group companies in North America to be actively engaged in their communities. Coordinated through Hitachi employee Community Action Committees (CACs), the Group companies plan donations and volunteer activities that help the communities where Hitachi employees live and work. The Foundation provides matching funds, and with Hitachi America, Ltd. provides guidance and technical support to the Group companies and their CACs.
Chairman of The Hitachi Foundation Board
"Thanks to the generous support of Hitachi, Ltd., both through financial contributions and enthusiastic participation, The Hitachi Foundation continues the course set by its predecessors. Our future challenge is to develop and publicize actions and ideas that give context to the phrase ecorporate social responsibility.' In particular, showing new ways in which businesses can exercise their abilities and make a social contribution beyond the power of government and social organizations alone."
Daphne Walker (currently Chief Magistrate Judge)
Recipient of the 1990 Yoshiyama Award
"Of the various awards I've received, the Yoshiyama Award is still special to me. When we received the award, they told us we should start thinking about what people would remember us for. That's what I stay focused on." Daphne Walker keeps a picture of the Yoshiyama Awardees in her office to remind her of her purpose. Daphne promoted social exchange with children in disadvantaged communities. In 2004, she was elected Chief Magistrate Judge for Georgia's Clayton County-the first African-American to hold that post.
(Published in July 2006)