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Chief Executive Officer

Japanese American Service Committee
Illinois, United States
Salary Not specified
Closing date
May 11, 2024
JASC History

The Japanese American Service Committee (JASC) has served its community with great care and integrity for 77 years. JASC was founded by community members, with support from prominent local academics, in late 1945, and incorporated as the Chicago Resettlers Committee in 1946 in conjunction with the closing of the Chicago office of the War Relocation Authority. The organization’s initial focus was on jobs and housing for the tens of thousands of Japanese Americans arriving in Chicago from incarceration camps. By the mid-1950s, the organization was renamed as the Japanese American Service Committee reflecting its shift to providing social services. JASC supported seniors with the building of the Heiwa Terrace Retirement Community and the Keiro Long Term Care Facility, as well as creating its Home Support Services and Adult Day Services. Since then, JASC’s programs have evolved to encompass a myriad of community, cultural, and educational programs serving not only the Japanese American community but the broader multi-racial and -ethnic communities at large. Chicago’s Japanese American history is a unique collection of ancestor stories and experiences, lessons of history, and cultural values that serve as increasingly relevant examples to others. As the need to preserve these important stories, records and artifacts grew more urgent, JASC’s Legacy Center archives and library was born as a resource to scholars and the broader community. As a 77-year-old organization, JASC feels an everlasting duty to adapt and change its programs to best serve the physical, emotional, and social well-being of its community.

The Japanese term, 伝統の継承, pronounced “dentou no keishou,” means passing along a heritage to the next generation or to leave a legacy. Historically, the Japanese concept of tradition is one of unwavering continuity rather than celebrating individual innovation in any one generation. One of the things that makes the JASC special is taking the gift of knowledge and traditions learned in previous generations and figuring out how to make the most of it in creating works that fully respect the spirit of each era. The scope of JASC’s programs and services have grown far beyond its humble beginnings to serve a community wider than its founders could have imagined. By “living our legacy,’ JASC creates a living culture and hopes to live the values it cherishes through actions every day.

JASC Mission & Impact

JASC has evolved into an organization that serves people of all ages, races, and ethnicities from a foundation of Japanese American values. The core of JASC’s mission is to preserve and raise awareness of Japanese American culture, heritage, and experience, and to promote the physical and spiritual well-being of Japanese Americans and the greater multicultural community in the Midwest.

JASC programs include:

  • Adult Day Services and Home Services in a social, caring, and medically supervised environment;
  • Home Support Services for isolated seniors needing quality care at home;
  • Youth Volunteer Program offering leadership and volunteer opportunities to help empower the next generation of leaders;
  • Annual scholarships to high school and college students. To date, JASC has stewarded over 140 scholarships totaling $230,000+;
  • The Legacy Center, an archive of materials that reflect the history of Chicago’s Japanese American community. The Center contains rare books, unique personal collections of documents and photographs, and other artifacts that provide a window into the experiences of Japanese Americans from the late 19th century to the present day with a focus on WWII incarceration and resettlement in Chicago. The Legacy Center is the Chicago area’s only publicly accessible, professionally managed, community-based archive specializing in Japanese American history;
  • Tampopo Kai and Donguri Kai exposing and educating children about Japanese culture, customs, and language;
  • Japanese language, art and cultural classes for all ages;
  • Community events such as the Holiday Delight and Kodomo Matsuri (children’s festival) celebration, Soup and Rice, along with co-sponsored events such as Kagami-Biraki (traditional January mochi ceremony), Day of Remembrance, Japan Fest, the Japanese community picnic, and various author presentations, film showings, and other programs.

Looking forward, JASC is creating a bright and sustainable future. In 2024, JASC is renovating and opening a new $8 million, 34,000 square feet forever home at 5700 N. Lincoln Avenue, a true destination center for the community. This new building will open a world of possibilities for program growth, longevity, and more opportunities to bring the community together.

The Role

JASC is at an inflection point. With its 77-year history as inspiration, an exciting new space, and a foundation of successful programs and community supporters, the organization is poised to take its impact to the next level. Reporting to the Board of Directors, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) will be a visionary leader who is future-focused and capable of thoughtfully building upon JASC’s legacy. The CEO will be an inspiring and seasoned executive leader who is entrepreneurial, a convener of ideas and people, and has a proven track record of delivering on strategic plans. By virtue of assuming the CEO position, this individual will become a critical leader and spokesperson in the Japanese American community and Chicago’s broader cultural community with a seat on the Chicago Japanese American Council and the Chicago Cultural Alliance and other national networks.

Scope and Responsibilities

The CEO will be an executive leader who will guide the organization, its leadership and team through its next phase of growth. The CEO will be committed to JASC’s mission and lead in all aspects of its evolution, while working collaboratively with its board, staff, and community to build and strengthen its regional and national impact.


  • Organizational Leadership: Ensure the effective and thoughtful delivery of programs and activities that advance JASC’s mission and values. Be the face of JASC by creating visibility for the organization, representing its purpose and impact to internal and external audiences.
  • People Leadership: Provide people-centric leadership ensuring JASC creates a culture that attracts the right talent, participants, volunteers, and supporters to the organization and builds a sustainable team of people to ready to lead and work together for purpose.
  • Executive Leadership: Maintain executive-level business acumen and communication to manage the business side of JASC, including its ongoing operation, finance, administration, fundraising, communications, and community relations.
  • Community Leadership: As a key leader and spokesperson in the community at large, actively engage and collaborate with the JASC community, board members, staff, volunteers, partner organizations, government entities, interested scholars and academic institutions, and funders. Position JASC as a catalyst of ideas relevant to the Japanese American community.
  • Strategic Planning: In collaboration with its leadership, create a strategic plan for JASC’s next phase, and develop a vision that will serve as a roadmap for the JASC’s future.


  • Mission: Be mission-focused, working effectively and collaboratively to establish JASC’s culture and standards of excellence required to serve its mission.
  • Operations: Oversee the management of the operations to ensure efficient systems, processes and an organizational structure that allows team members to accomplish individual and organizational goals laid out in the strategic plan.
  • Budget: Ensure the organization maintains strong financial health with proper financial management of its budget, investments, fundraising, and risk profile.
  • People: Effectively provide direction, motivate, oversee, and hold accountable JASC’s staff to deliver on operational and strategic plans. Coach and develop people to achieve their professional goals.

Fundraising & Communications

  • The CEO will play a critical role in leading and executing on JASC’s fund development plan that supports the organization’s goals, both short and long term;
  • Lead creative strategies to grow JASC’s donor base, secure grants, plan events, engage corporate sponsors and other donors, and find innovative ways to promote support the organization’s work.
  • Support the organization in the completion of the Serve, Preserve, Grow Campaign; work with the Board and team to build on the momentum established with donors.
  • In collaboration with the Board and senior staff, lead the cultivation and solicitation of significant donors; identify opportunities to engage and solicit new donors.
  • Oversee the execution of all marketing and communications efforts, working with senior staff to ensure creative and consistent communication with JASC stakeholders.


  • Work with the Board to establish budgetary priorities and manage the annual budget while maximizing its impact; monitor JASC’s financial performance and report to the Board.
  • Establish financial plans to identify pathways for growth and sustainability.
  • Ensure legal compliance, accountability, and proper risk management.
  • Properly manage the organization’s investments, grants, gifts, and overall portfolio.

Board Relations

  • Develop and support a strong Board of Directors; work collaboratively with JASC’s Board Chair to develop a strategic vision for engagement and recruitment.
  • Serve as an advisor and resource to the Board in the areas of program, fundraising, governance, and finance; cultivate a strong and transparent working relationship with the Board.
  • Seek and cultivate relationships on behalf of JASC with individuals who might serve as Board members.
  • Provide ongoing reports to the Board on finance, fundraising, program delivery and team management.
  • Work with the JASC Board Chair to prepare for Board Meetings.

Other Qualifications

  • Affinity, inherent passion, and understanding of JASC’s community; familiarity with Japanese American history and cultural dynamics and a passion for preserving community history.
  • Related nonprofit, public administration, or related business experience; experience in education or archival work a plus.
  • Experience leading strategic planning, setting a vision, and ability to operationalize that vision, working at the strategic or tactical level as necessary.
  • A strong track record of working with boards and staff to deliver short and long term goals.
  • Proven experience in management, administration, systems development, budgeting and staff management.
  • Experience managing and building effective teams and serving as an effective internal leader.
  • Experience in an externally-facing leadership role.
  • An ability to cultivate effective relationships with and mobilize the engagement of a wide variety of stakeholders (donors, staff, corporate sponsors, government officials, audiences, scholars and academic institutions, the national and international arts community, the media).
  • Experience and familiarity with funding environments.
  • Bachelor’s or equivalent degree required; Master’s degree or higher preferred.
  • Proficient in the use of Microsoft programs. 
Personal / Professional Attributes

  • Vision, an ability to see potential and develop plans to expand an organization’s programs and reach.
  • Developed leadership skills; a flexible self-starter who is nimble and able to navigate thoughtfully through change.
  • Excellent communication skills with a broad range of constituents.
  • A developed understanding of how to develop operational complexity as an organization grows.
  • A collaborative, solutions-oriented work style that demonstrates initiative and sound judgment.
  • An ability to make persuasive presentations to assist in the development of relationships for JASC.
  • Self-awareness and empathy; a healthy combination of confidence and humility, political savvy, and a sense of humor.
  • An authentic commitment to JASC’s work and accomplishments.
  • Self-motivation, integrity, sound judgement.
Additional Information

Base compensation is commensurate with candidate experience, estimated between $130K - $160K. As an equal opportunity employer, JASC encourages applications from all individuals regardless of age, gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, marital status, physical ability, or any other legally protected basis.


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