Sakura Foundation is pleased to announce the recipients of its 2019 scholarships:


Sakura Foundation Community Scholarship: 

L to R: Stacey Shigaya, Sakura Foundation Program Director, Ayla Charness, Ralston Valley High School

Tri-State/Denver Buddhist Temple /  Sakura Foundation Scholarships:

L to R: Anna Tsuchimoto, Castle View High School, Joe Ozaki, Sakura Foundation Board of Directors President, Bennett Yoshida, Mountain Vista High School


The scholarships were awarded on June 8th at the 64th Annual Japanese American Community Graduation Program (JACGP) banquet held at the Arvada Center.  Sakura Foundation values its partnership with JACGP to provide financial assistance to graduating seniors who have made meaningful contributions to the Japanese American (JA) community and/or Tri-State/Denver Buddhist Temple.  The Foundation hopes the success of the recipients will allow and inspire them to support the JA community in the future.

We caught up with three past recipients of Sakura Foundation scholarships and asked them to reflect on how their scholarship awards impacted their college careers:


“I was honored to be the recipient for the Sakura Foundation Scholarship in 2015. College is daunting, and even looking at the prices of textbooks can scare the heck out of freshmen. But due to scholarships, like Sakura Foundation’s, those things become manageable. I was never expecting to receive anything back from the community that raised me. But it was a great comfort to see that they were willing to help me move forward. I hope the students furthering their education will also be grateful for the generous gift that the foundation has continued to provide.”

                        Connor Ospina, 2015 scholarship recipient


Since receiving a scholarship from Sakura Foundation, I have continued to lend my support to Asian American and Pacific Islander communities by working at the Asian American/Pacific Islander Resource Center (AA/PIRC) at the University of California Santa Cruz (UCSC). My work at AA/PIRC, through educational and communal spaces, has brought attention to the cultural appropriation of Asian food, (mis)representation of Asians and Pacific Islanders (API) in popular culture, as well as the complexities of colorism and intersectionality within the API diaspora. My education at UCSC has given me the vocabulary and background to express the things I have always felt as an Asian American. I look forward to sharing that knowledge and my experiences with the Nikkei community of Denver.

                        Cami Shigaya, 2016 scholarship recipient


“The generous scholarship that the Sakura Foundation awarded to me in 2016 has significantly enhanced my college career. I have been fortunate to attend the University of Denver and pursue a degree in Biological Sciences. Having the financial support to attend a smaller college has allowed me to become involved in various aspects of campus life and develop lifelong leadership skills, all while receiving an excellent education. As I enter my final year, I’m able to look back in gratitude at the amazing support the Denver Japanese-American community has provided me, as well as many other students.”

                        Bryan Tanigawa, 2016 scholarship recipient