Bridging Foundation Celebrates Executive Director’s One Year Anniversary

July 16, 2012 

One year ago, Ms. Paige Cottingham-Streater was appointed Executive Director of the Japan-U.S. Friendship Commission and became Executive Director of the U.S.-Japan Bridging Foundation. It has been a busy year for the Foundation, during which funds were raised to support the organization’s mission of promoting educational and cultural exchange, and a new partnership with the U.S. Department of State was forged.

Under her leadership, the Bridging Foundation raised approximately $750,000, making it possible for 200 American students to study abroad in Japan. Working in partnership with the Bridging Foundation Clearinghouse and corporate and individual donors, the Foundation recruited and mentored undergraduates from diverse fields of study who wanted to develop Japanese language skills and gain first-hand experiences in Japanese culture.

The highlight of the year for Ms. Cottingham-Streater was the launch of an exciting new public-private partnership—the Friendship Blossoms Initiative between the Bridging Foundation and the U.S. Department of State. Earlier this year, during a dinner hosted by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton in honor of Prime Minister Noda’s visit to the United States, Mrs. Clinton announced the Friendship Blossoms Initiative, in which the people of the United States will make a gift of 3,000 dogwood trees to the people of Japan in appreciation for the 3,000 cherry blossom trees given by the Japanese to the U.S. 100 years ago. Ms. Cottingham-Streater said, “This gift symbolizes the long-lasting friendship between the people of Japan and the United States. The Bridging Foundation is honored to be a part of the history and future of this important bilateral relationship.”