Kizuna’s Board of Directors has selected Chris Fitzgerald as its new executive director.
He began on Dec. 6 and will be responsible for leading the organization’s administration, programs, and strategic planning.
“Chris’ experience in youth programming and nonprofit leadership will be critical to strengthen our existing pipeline of programs and innovate new ways to meet the needs of our youth,” said Megan Ono, Kizuna board chair. “With a background rooted in arts education and creative storytelling, we are excited to see Kizuna’s mission come to life in new ways with his artistic insight. Above all, Chris embodies our commitment to growth and inclusivity, with a diverse set of experiences that have well-equipped him to help inspire the next generation of young leaders.”
Fitzgerald most recently served in various leadership roles at Youth In Focus, a Seattle-based organization that connects art with leadership development opportunities for teenagers. Additionally, he has vast experience leading after-school programs, curriculum development, and making arts programs accessible to youth.
“As an advocate for youth and youth voice, I believe in holding space for young people to have a place in the larger conversation about their programming,” said Fitzgerald. “I’m humbled and grateful for the opportunity to lead this organization and be part of building a sustainable future and legacy for the community. Within a decade, Kizuna has created a pipeline of next-generation leaders and opportunities for youth to exercise their leadership and create deep ties to the community. I am excited to work alongside this community to continue the legacy for youth to lead, serve and thrive.”
In addition to welcoming Fitzgerald, the board is pleased to announce the election of Vice Chair Bryce Ikemura as chair-elect, beginning his term next month. The board would like to express its appreciation to Ono, who will remain on the board serving as vice chair.
“I am honored to serve as Kizuna’s board chair and excited to work alongside Chris in leading this next chapter for Kizuna,” said Ikemura. “We remain steadfast in kansha (gratitude) for our community and predecessors that built a foundation which Kizuna, in turn, builds upon today.
“What stood out most to me personally was Chris’ commitment to learn, listen and collaborate. Under Chris’ leadership, we will continue to grow with our community to connect deeper with those we serve, and adapt to further Kizuna’s mission of building the next generation of educated, empowered and engaged community leaders!”
Kizuna was founded in 2011 to address a need for next-generation involvement in the Japanese American community with the mission to build a future for the community through the education, empowerment and engagement of the next generation. Kizuna works with over 700 youth and young adults throughout the year, developing skills in leadership, networks in the community, and building a passion for involvement in community service.
Kizuna’s programs serve multi-generations from kindergarten age to adults, building the leadership pipeline in Southern California and beyond. For more information, visit www.gokizuna.org.