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<br />City Council Memorandum <br />TO: HONORABLE MAYOR AND CITY COUNCILDATE: May 24, 2011 <br />FROM: MAYOR’S OFFICEITEM NO: <br /> <br />WARDS: ALL <br />SUBJECT: MAYOR’S MAY 5-6, 2011 VISIT TO DELIVER CITY OF RIVERSIDE RELIEF <br />CHECK FOR $500,000 TO SISTER CITY SENDAI, JAPAN <br />ISSUE <br />: <br />That the City Council receive an update on Mayor Ronald O. Loveridge’s visit to the City of Sendai <br />to present Riverside’s relief check for $500,000. <br />RECOMMENDATION <br />: <br />That the City Council receive and file this report. <br />BACKGROUND <br />: <br />On March 11, 2011 at approximately 2:46 p.m. Japan time, a magnitude 9.0 earthquake struck <br />the coast of Japan, 80 miles east of our Sister City Sendai. An ensuing tsunami devastated the <br />coastline obliterating many Sendai neighborhoods. More than 28,000 people are reported dead <br />in Japan, with tens of thousands more rendered homeless. <br />In meetings held on March 14 and March 21, community leaders decided that Riverside would <br />offer help in the form of cash, an offer that was reinforced by a letter received March 20 from <br />Sendai Mayor Emiko Okuyama requesting monetary help; that the money would be collected by <br />the City in a special Sendai Relief Fund (SRF) account; and that 100 percent of the funds <br />gathered would be directly given to Sendai Mayor Okuyama for use in relief efforts. A website to <br />facilitate community donations was set up at relief. <br />On March 22 City Council unanimously approved transfer of $100,000 from the General Fund to <br />the SRF. The Council also agreed to stretch the City’s fundraising goals for the City to <br />$500,000, and the overall goal including other efforts such as the Red Cross to $1 million. <br />Currently (as of May 18, 2011), the SRF lists $547,668.68 in funds raised. This total represents <br />contributions from 5,000 to 6,000 donors ranging from the International Brotherhood of Electrical <br />Workers to the Japanese American Citizens League, and school children from Riverside, Hemet <br />and Victorville. <br />To ensure that contributions qualified under the tax-exemption laws of the United States and <br />Japan, Mayor’s Office worked with Mayor Okuyama to identify Sendai Social Welfare Council <br />(SSWC) as an appropriate organization to receive relief funds collected by Riverside. SSWC <br />coordinates the volunteer force that is assisting with earthquake and tsunami relief efforts. <br /> <br />