CCJA was established by Atsuko Fish and the Fish Family Foundation in early 2017
to shed light on Japanese women leaders who work tirelessly
to address the most pressing needs in their communities.
The Fish Family Foundation (the Foundation) is a private family foundation in Boston. The Foundation was established in 1999 to formalize the family’s tradition of responsibility to improve its community and to share the joy of giving with future generations. The Foundation currently focuses on aiding immigration, at-risk youth, and people struggling with mental health.
Atsuko Toko Fish retired as a U.S.-Japan cross-cultural consultant, and is currently involved with various social innovative movements as a philanthropist. Atsuko is a founder and a trustee of the Fish Family Foundation. Atsuko also founded The Japanese Women’s Leadership Initiative (JWLI) in 2006. In the wake of 3.11, Atsuko established the Japanese Disaster Relief Fund – Boston (JDRFB) to support immediate relief in the affected regions of Tohoku. JDRFB raised approximately $1 million and distributed 24 grants to 19 organizations and projects working directly in Tohoku. It has been reported by the grantees that JDRFB’s $1 million grants were leveraged to have $6 million of economic impact. In 2013, the White House named Atsuko a recipient of the Champion of Change Award in recognition of her accomplishments for empowering women in both the U.S. and Japan. Atsuko then established the Champion of Change Japan Award (CCJA) in 2017 as a symbol of hope to unsung heroes, women leaders who work tirelessly to address the most pressing issues in their communities. To accelerate social change outside metropolitan areas, Atsuko launched the Bootcamp in June 2019, a three day program on entrepreneurial leadership that instills management skills, an action-orientated mindset, and knowledge on creating social change.In November 2018, the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette was conferred by the Emperor of Japan in recognition of her contribution to the advancement of women’s leadership.
JWLI is a two-year executive leadership development program that invests in emerging women leaders from across Japan and transforms them to be action-oriented leaders. Through a four-week training period in Boston, Fellows will acquire confidence to lead, skills and knowledge to manage, and create a plan to make social change. The four weeks include participation in a five-day intensive entrepreneurial management program at Babson College and visits to successful social sector organizations in Boston to learn their best practices on management and leadership. During this time, the Fellows will also develop their Action Plans to be implemented in Japan. Upon returning to Japan, they will work towards achieving their vision with individual mentors, leveraging the experience and learning they acquired in Boston. jwli.org
The JWLI Bootcamp offers a three day program on entrepreneurial leadership that instills management skills, an action-oriented mindset, and knowledge on creating social change. The Bootcamp transforms its participants into action-taking leaders and accelerate social change in local communities. Starting 2019, it will be held in regional cities such as Ishinomaki and Nagoya, where training opportunities are limited. As a follow-up, three participants from each location will be selected to pitch at Venture Cafe Tokyo, giving them exposures and opportunities to expand their networks, funding access, and resources. The pitch event will also help the participants to reinforce their learning.