Annual Board and Advisory Committee Joint Meeting Held

FUTI Annual Board and Advisory Committee Joint Meeting, October 1 (Sunday), 12 pm-5pm

  • Board members present: Masaaki Yamada (chair), Koichi Hamada, Yuichiro Kuwama, Norio Matsuki, Shigenori Matsushita, Nobuko Sakurai
  • Advisory Committee (AC) member present: Kenzi Karasaki (via telecommunication), Hisashi Kobayashi, Geeta Mehta, Iwao Ojima, Yuriko Suzuki, K.Y. Tung
  • Other present: Masako Osako

FUTI’s Annual Board and Advisory Committee joint meeting was held at the UTokyo New York office in New York, commencing at 12pm on October 1, 2017.
After welcome greetings, Mr. M. Yamada (chair) introduced Mr. N. Matsuki, Executive Vice President of the University of Tokyo and two new ex-officio members of the Advisory Committee, Ms. Y. Suzuki (President of Satsukikai Amerika) and Mr. K. Karasaki (President of San Francisco Akamon-kai).
Ms. Osako, acting Secretary, presented the minutes of the Annual Board meetings held on October 1, 2016 and April 23, 2017. The minutes were unanimously approved by the Board.

  • UTokyo Today

Mr. Matsuki provided updates on various topics related to UTokyo, including the subjects: (1) the university at its 140th anniversary, (2) recent designation as one of the “National Universities of excellence” (指定国立大学), (3) the recent declining (46th) position in the Times Higher Education Raking, and (4) the completion of the university library’s annex in July 2017. After the present status of the university, Mr. Matsuki stressed President Gonokami’s aspiration/hope that the UTokyo will contribute to the future of the globe and the mankind in a significant way.(See slides “Recent Developments at UTokyo” [in Japanese])

  • Financial Statements for FY 16/17 and Related Items

Mr. Kuwama, Treasurer, reported the highlights of financial results for FY2016-17.

  • Revenues
    • Total Revenues amounted to $199K for the fiscal year ending June 2017 [noted as FY 2016/2017(Ending June)] whereas it was $318K in FY 2015/2016 (ending June) and $117K in FY 2014/2015 (ending June). This year’s decline from the last year was due primarily decreased grant from Ito Foundation U.S.A.
    • Total Revenues for FY 2016-17 include:
      • Contribution from Ito Foundation USA in the amount of $110K (compared to $200K last year)
      • Trust distribution of $35K from Shintech
      • Contribution of $54K from general public (in the absence of major donors unlike last two years)
  • Expenses: Scholarships and grants
    • Scholarships/grants were given in the following categories:
      • FUTI summer global leadership scholarship in the amount of $61K
      • FUTI grants to two universities in the total amount of 18.5K
      • Scholarship under the Ito USA -FUTI program in the amount of $138K
  • Other Matters
    • Operating reserve amount at $230K is satisfactory. Current “Operating reserve” to “annual budget” ratio of approximately 100% is within the recommended ratio range of 50% to 100%.
    • Mr. Kuwama reported that for FYE 6/2017 donations from UTokyo alumni in general contribution [“小口”] (that excludes large donations of $20k to $30k) totaled $37.6k which was in line with the result of previous five years (2012-2016).

Board members thanked Mr. Kuwama and approved the analysis.

  • Scholarship Programs in the Context of FUTI’s Overall Financial Plan

Dr. Matsushita explained the Public Support Ratio (33.3%) issues involved in FUTI’s requests for donation from Ito Foundation U.S.A. (the Foundation). After discussing several options, the participants agreed with the following conclusion.
The Board will review the financial plan of FUTI in relation to the public support ratio and make a decision each year as to the solicitation of gift from the Foundation. The recommended strategy includes i) to keep the ratio higher than 1/3 as long as possible, and ii) hopefully to make the ratio gradually improve through FUTI’s effort to increase general public donations at all categories (that is., small, medium to large donations).

  • Research/Training Grants

Mr. M. Yamada provided updates on FUTI’s grant programs including an overview of the 2017-2018 recipients, the Columbia-UTokyo program and the Yale-UTokyo exchange of scholars under Yamakawa Kenjiro Memorial Lecture series.

  • Outstanding Operational Issues for FUTI and New Directions

Mr. Yamada began this segment of the meeting by saying “giving as many as 30 scholarships in 2017, FUTI is experiencing a growing pain and needs some operational adjustments.” Several operational issues were discussed including the following:

  • Treasurer’s Functions and Related Matter

In view of the growing size and complexity of FUTI’s operations, the board recommended that FUTI requests Amy Iwazumi to handle certain book keeping and record keeping tasks, while Mr. Kuwama would continue to handle certain responsibilities which he is best suited to perform. In addition, Mrs. Sakurai kindly offered to help Mr. Kuwama for writing thank-you letters to donors.

  • Accounting Firms

Mr. Yamada reported that in early September a few FUTI staff visited two accounting firms. FUTI is in the middle of evaluating these and other firms in terms of the depth of their expertise in non-profit accounting, the quality of customer service, and costs. FUTI hopes to make a decision shortly on the accounting firm.

  • Outstanding Issues on Scholarship Programs

On the basis of a suggestion made by the Ito Foundation U.S.A., Mr. Matsushita proposed to establish an Ito Foundation USA-FUTI Ikuei Scholarship (IF Ikuei Scholarship)—provisional name –within the existing Ito Foundation USA-FUTI scholarship program. The proposal was approved by the Board.
The proposed concept includes the following features:

  1. Program size – one winner in 2018;
  2. Award duration – one semester or more in an undergraduate or master degree program at a US university (support being limited to a maximum of two years);
  3. Selection criterion – the applicant’s economic situation will be taken into consideration;
  4. Selection criterion – priority will be given to those who had not had an opportunity to study aboard (this preference is likely to exclude “super elites” who can easily obtain scholarships from other sources);
  5. Selection criteria – the applicant’s intention/determination to contribute to society and the realistic feasibility of his/her plan will be a major element of consideration;
  6. Eligibility: The program will be open to the students and alumni of UTokyo and any other universities in Japan;
  7. An interview with finalists will be required.
  • Report by the AC Committee

Mr. H. Kobayashi, chair of the AC Committee, expressed his pleasure for having two ex-officio members Y. Suzuki and K. Karasaki join the FUTI Board/AC meeting. He remarked “I hope that their involvements will help their organization members better understand FUTI’s activities and needs.  We would like to have the presidents of other UTokyo alumni groups in the U.S. to join the Advisory Committee as new members.” Mr. Karasaki commented that (1) membership qualifications for his association is flexible and is not confined to alumni of UTokyo—anyone who is interested in the university can become a member, and 2) that he will start soliciting donations to FUTI among his group’s members.

  • General Discussion

  • The establishment of a communications committee or working group was discussed. The Board was conceptually in favor of such an establishment, but its exact name, the scope of its responsibility, and the reporting line within FUTI were not finalized.
  • The annual Board meeting is likely to take place in late September or early October 2018. The exact date will be confirmed within a few months.
  • Appointment of Directors and Officers, Advisory Committee Members and Award Committee Members, etc.

The Board unanimously approved the following appointments:
President/Director of University Relations
Masaaki Yamada
Yuichiro Kuwama
Secretary (Acting)
Masako Osako
Koichi Hamada, Sumiko Ito, Shigenori Matsushita, Nobuko Sakurai,
President Emeriti
Hisashi Kobayashi, Junji Masuda
Advisory Committee Chair
Hisashi Kobayashi
Advisory Committee Members
Shunichiro Kishioka, Takeshi Komoto, Geeta Mehta, Iwao Ojima, Yasuo Okamoto, Ko-Yung Tung, Kenzi Karasaki, Yuriko Suzuki
Scholarship Committee Chair
Shigenori Matsushita
Scholarship Committee Members
Hisashi Kobayashi, Iwao Ojima, Masako Osako, Nobuko Sakurai, Masaaki Yamada
Jimukyoku cho (Managing Director of Operations)
Masako Osako

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