Frances Kitagawa Leadership Development Program
The Frances Kitagawa Leadership Development Program provides leadership development and community involvement opportunities for our future leaders through scholarships, internships and other programs.
Frances C. Kitagawa was a remarkable woman who dedicated her time not only to improve the quality of life for her family and friends, but also for her community. Frances was a pioneer Nisei and longtime community activist and staunch JACLer for over 60 years. She was a pioneer among Japanese American educators and an active supporter of church and the Venice Japanese Community Center. She was an avid bridge player, a musician and singer, a fan of classical music and opera, a voracious reader, an art student and a single mother raising two daughters.
Hard Work, Leadership, Passion
During her sixty years of JACL membership, Frances served in different capacities at all levels of the organization. Frances was a charter member of the Bay Cities JACL, the first JACL Chapter serving the Westside, and stayed with the chapter when it became the Venice-Culver JACL chapter. She served as chapter president, both pre-war and post-war. She held offices and served on committees for the Pacific Southwest District Council and National JACL. She also served as the chapter's JACL Blue Shield Health Insurance Commissioner and served on the JACL Blue Shield Health Insurance National Board for many years.
Frances Kitagawa's legacy continues to inspire and develop young leaders who have the potential and passion that she demonstrated throughout her life to become a leader for their peers and community. Past recipients of the scholarship and interns of the Frances Kitagawa Leadership Development program have gone on to create positive change for the Japanese and Asian American community.
Through the Frances Kitagawa Leadership Development Program, we have been able to provide funding for the following programs:
- Frances Kitagawa Leadership Internship
- Nikkei Community Internship program
- Frances Kitagawa Leadership Development Luncheon
Past Kitagawa Leadership Interns
Past Kitagawa Leadership Luncheon Keynote Speakers
Alexa Giffin & Phil Hirose
Kevin Akio Staub
Alan Nishio, Chairperson, Board of Governors, Little Tokyo Service Center
Leslie Ito, CEO & President, Japanese American Cultural & Community Center
Tritia Toyota, Professor, UCLA
Assemblymember Al Muratsuchi
Teresa Watanabe, Writer, LA Times
Shawn Miyake, Former CEO, Keiro
Harry Honda, Pacific Citizen Emeritus Editor
Hon. Warren Furutani, Former CA Assemblymember
Ken Inouye, Former JACL National President & PSW District Governor
Mitchell Maki, Former Dean, California State University, Los Angeles
George Nakano, Former CA Assemblymember
John Tateishi, Former Executive Director, National JACL
Special Thanks to…
The Frances Kitagawa Leadership Development Program is made possible by the generous funding and support by the Frances Kitagawa Family, Estate of Mary Wakamatsu (sister of Frances Kitagawa), Mark Wakamatsu and Anna Sugimoto for their support of the Kitagawa Leadership programs.