In 1960, the Twin Cities Chapter of the JACL hosted the Eastern District and Midwest District Convention. The convention was well attended and financially successful. Kimi Hara suggested we start a scholarship program with the convention proceeds, since our young Sansei did not qualify for the minority scholarship programs. The first scholarship awards were granted in 1962. Many Issei donated money to our Chapter so the scholarship program would continue.
In the 1970’s the scholarship program received a large sum of money from the Twin Cities Independent Church, a Japanese Christian church in Northeast Minneapolis, after its sale. It was the wish of the church members that the money be used to encourage further education.
Many of the scholarships that have followed have been established in memory of the loved ones of JACL members. One of the earliest and longest running memorial scholarships was the Earl Tanbara Memorial Scholarship, created in memory of Earl Tanbara, who passed away in 1973. The Earl Tanbara Memorial Scholarship has been awarded to over 25 students through the years.
Another long standing memorial scholarship was established in memory of Susan Tsuchiya Matsumoto who passed away at the young age of 26 in 1980, after a 15 year battle with cancer. This scholarship continues to be awarded to young people who, like Susan, demonstrate outstanding academic accomplishments, excellence in the arts, and community service.