We are pleased to introduce our newest Sakura Foundation Board Members:  Alex Kimata, Kara Miyagishima, Nick Moskevich, and Gary Yamashita.  Their professionalism, wealth of experience and commitment to the Japanese and Japanese American community will be instrumental in furthering the mission of Sakura Foundation.

Born and raised in the Denver Metro Area, Alex Kimata has spent the past five years working as an attorney .  He currently works as an associate at Holland & Hart LLP in Boulder, where he advises clients from startups to Fortune 500 companies on privacy and data security matters and regulatory compliance.  Alex deeply believes in increasing access to justice and equitable representation within the legal field and also does pro-bono asylum and privacy work in his spare time.

As a lifelong Colorado resident and a yonsei (fourth generation Japanese American), Alex was interested in reconnecting with the Japanese and Japanese American community in Colorado and was a 2019 graduate of the Mirai Generations Leadership Program. Alex feels privileged to serve on the Sakura Foundation Board and is excited to support its mission of enriching the Japanese and Japanese American community to build a more equitable world.  He also serves on the board of Colorado Common Cause.

Born and raised in Denver, Kara Miyagishima has a strong commitment to preserving Japanese American history, with a focus on communities in Colorado and Nebraska. She hopes to bring her experience in cultivating partnerships and connecting communities to the Foundation. “Colorado’s Japanese American community is a vibrant and culturally rich community. Through the Foundation, I hope to give back to my community and find different avenues for honoring those who came before us—remembering their histories and their memories and sharing those with local, national and international communities.” Kara is also interested in serving on the board to help promote the programs the Foundation has in place to preserve and teach Japanese American history and culture, to provide mentoring to rising leaders and to further establish the legacy of Japanese Americans in Colorado. A recent delegate for the 2023 Japanese American Leadership Delegation to Japan, Kara is a member of the U.S.-Japan Council. She is also a member of the Japanese Hall Advisory Council with the Legacy of the Plains Museum, which is preserving the history of the Japanese in Nebraska and the High Plains. Kara received her undergraduate degrees from the University of Colorado at Boulder and master’s degree from the University of Colorado Denver, where she completed her M.A. thesis on the history of Japanese Americans in Colorado. Kara has worked for the National Park Service for 17 years. She recently served as the Acting Superintendent of the Amache National Historic Site and is the Program Manager for the National Park Service, Japanese American Confinement Sites Grant Program.

Born and raised in the Boston area, Nick Moskevich settled in Denver to pursue his law degree at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law. After graduation from law school in May 2022, Nick took a position at the firm of Davis Graham & Stubbs (DGS) as an associate attorney. Nick’s practice at DGS focuses on commercial litigation with an emphasis in contractual disputes. Prior to his legal career, Nick was a Surface Warfare Officer in the United States Navy. In his first two tours of duty, Nick was stationed in Yokosuka, Japan as the Strike Warfare Officer aboard the USS COWPENS, and the Fire Control Officer aboard the USS ANTIETAM. In his final tour of duty, Nick was a Warfare Tactics Instructor in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, where he trained sailors in Air Warfare and Ballistic Missile Defense.

It was during his tours in Japan that Nick developed a deep appreciation and respect for all aspects of Japanese culture. He knew that when he left the military, he wanted to establish roots someplace with a flourishing Japanese and Japanese American community in which he could get involved. Nick is so excited to have found that community in Denver, and he is humbled by the opportunity to serve on the Board of Sakura Foundation. Nick is now looking forward to starting the work of supporting Denver’s Japanese and Japanese American community through Sakura Foundation.

Gary Yamashita retired at the end of 2022 from leadership roles of both Sakura Square LLC (CEO) and Sakura Foundation (Executive Director). His background includes more than 40 years of experience in the real estate and banking industries, specializing in real estate valuation, finance, and project management. A third generation Japanese American born in Denver, he is active in the Japanese American and greater Denver communities, serving on the boards of the St. Francis Center, Rose Community Foundation, and Mile High Japanese American Citizens League. In 2017, Gary was selected to the U.S.-Japan Council Japanese American Leadership Delegation in which a select group of Japanese American leaders from across the United States traveled to Japan to engage with Japanese leaders in business, government, academic, and nonprofit sectors to discuss and address a variety of issues facing both countries. In 2023 he received a Commendation from the Consul-General of Japan in Denver in recognition of his 30+ years of contributions “to the promotion of mutual understanding and friendship between Japan and Colorado and to the improvement of the social status of the Japanese Americans in the state.”

Gary’s father, a U.S. citizen born in California, was one of 120,000 people of Japanese ancestry who were imprisoned during World War II. When the war ended, his family was among the many Japanese Americans who came to Colorado after then-Gov. Ralph Carr publicly welcomed them to the state. Gary is passionate about preserving the rich culture and heritage that his ancestors have handed down to his community.  He feels a strong sense of pride and responsibility in working to preserve the history of the Japanese American community for future generations to enjoy.