The Omomuki Foundation is based in New York City and currently administers three programs: the Akatonbo Arts Fellowship; Omomuki Arts Grants; and Omomuki Health Grants. Omomuki is a tax-exempt organization under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. It is privately funded and does not solicit donations.
What Does Omomuki Mean?
Omomuki is an ancient, native Japanese word for which there is no direct translation. It has been described as a charm so subtle as to be almost elusive, but powerfully felt. Omomuki is best conveyed through certain haiku, such as these:
there is an old small lake
and a frog jumped into it
made water noise
— Matsuo Bashô (translation by K. Wakai)
as I ate persimmon
the bell of Horyuji temple rang
— Masaoka Shiki (translation by K. Wakai)
What is the Omomuki Foundation Symbol?
It is a double enso. An enso is a circle, painted in ink with a single brushstroke, in Zen calligraphy. It can be drawn closed, or open. The meaning of enso depends on each individual, and the feeling evoked when it is being painted.
The Omomuki enso was painted for the Omomuki Foundation by the artist Krit Chaicharoen.
Omomuki Board Members, Advisers, & Contributors
Stephen Bloom, Board of Directors
Mr. Bloom is the CEO of the Portland Japanese Garden. Under his leadership, the Garden has become one of the two largest Japanese cultural institutes in North America, and recently launched its International Institute for Japanese Garden Arts and Culture. He was the President of the Honolulu Symphony from 2000-2005 and Executive Director of the Tacoma Symphony from 1996-2000.
Geoffrey Hoefer, Board of Directors
Mr. Hoefer is the founder and former CEO of Jovus, a financial software firm, and Burgess Wever, an online annuity marketplace. He was a founding member of GeoHazards, a non-profit specializing in earthquake risk reduction. He holds a BS in Engineering Geology, a BA in History of Art, and an MS in Civil Engineering from Stanford University; and an MBA from Harvard Business School.
Danny, Whitman, Board of Directors
Mr. Whitman is the Director of Communications for Broadway Cares / Equity Fights AIDS, one of the nation’s leading industry-based, nonprofit AIDS fundraising and grant-making organizations. Since 1988 Broadway Cares has raised more than $250 million for essential services for people with AIDS and other critical illnesses across the United States. Prior to Broadway Cares, Mr. Whitman was Deputy Director of Development for The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center in New York City.
Darien Chen, Senior Adviser Asia Pacific
Mr. Chen is the head of Marketing Asia Pacific for Jack’d, the largest gay social application in Asia. He co-chaired Taiwan’s first Gay Pride Parade, which has since grown to be the largest gay pride event in Asia. Mr. Chen represented Taiwan to compete at Mr. Gay World 2013. He has an MS in Technology Management from the University of New South Wales, and a BS in Electrical Engineering from National Taiwan University.
Kritbodee Chaicharoen, Graphic Artist
Mr. Chaicharoen is an architect and graphic artist currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Design at the School of Visual Arts in New York City. He won the 2014 Type Directors Club New York design competition for “Everything Depends On This Moment” and “RUN.” In 2015 Mr. Chaicharoen was commissioned to design the logo for the Omomuki Foundation, as well as icons for its Arts Grants and Health Project. He is a graduate of the Faculty of Architecture of Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok.
Kazue Kurahara, Special Adviser, New York City
Ms. Kurahara is a lecturer at The New School and Japan Society. She received her MA in TESOL and Teaching Japanese as a Foreign Language from New York University. She holds teaching certificates in both Japanese and English as a Second Language from New York State, and has previously taught at New York University, Hunter College, Pace University and Language House.