Guam – The University of Guam’s Endowment Foundation (UOGEF) has received a 20 year-old donation from the Guam Visitors Bureau (GVB).
[From left, front row: GVB board members Jack Yoshino and Bert Unpingco, UOGEF Executive Director Mark Mendiola, UOG President Dr. Robert Underwood, GVB Board Chairman David Tydingco, UOGEF Chairman Dr. Saied Safa, GVB General Manager Gerald S.A. Perez, GVB Board Member Therese Arriola, and, (from left, back row) GVB board members Richard Lai, Bartley Jackson, Bruce Kloppenburg, Dr. Judy Flores, Mayor Carol Tayama, and Hong Soon Im join together on Thursday for a $12,837.48 check presentation to the University of Guam Endowment Foundation. ]
More than 20 years ago, when UOGEF was formed, no one thought “new found” money would pleasantly appear many years later and add funds for university improvements. In the late 1980s and early 90s, several businesses in Japan contributed to UOGEF by transferring money to an account set up in Japan. The Japan custodian of funds recently discovered that the account, which was believed to have been closed some time ago, continued a small residual balance that had been accruing interest for the past 20 years.
The result was more than one million yen in compounded interest earned – or $12,837.48.
As the Japanese bank in Japan wanted to close the inactive “Guam University Fund” account, they reached out to the only Guam organization in their records – the GVB Japan office. Coincidentally, the office was the only listing of “Guam” found in a Japan telephone directory. After receiving the call, GVB quickly notified UOGEF members that efforts to properly receive the donation had been arranged.
“After receiving a call from the Resona Bank and Tokyo Mitsubishi UFJ Bank, we were pleasantly surprised,” stated GVB General Manager Gerald Perez. “This is definitely not something we’re used to dealing with. I was a past regent and member of the UOG Foundation, so it was especially unique that I got the call.”
During the Guam trip to Japan Association of Travel Agents World Fair (JATA WTF) in late September, GVB Board Member Therese Arriola and Perez met with Osamu Matsubara, Chairman and CEO of Kinokuniya Company Ltd., a publishing firm in Japan. During the meeting, Matsubara, who was part of the same original fundraising effort, presented the UOGEF donation to GVB to pass on.
Matsubara, who is now well over 90 years old, championed the university’s cause several years ago and managed to gather much-needed funds from many Japanese companies. In 1991, Kinokuniya also donated books to the Guam Department of Education.
“I am honored to accept this donation on behalf of the UOG Endowment Foundation,” Perez said. “Although the donation was made several years ago, I’m certain the contribution will serve its original intent.”