Kelli-Ann Nakayama

JANM’s new chief development officer, Kelli-Ann Nakayama, brings more than 20 years of nonprofit fundraising experience to the museum.

Nestled in Downtown’s historic Little Tokyo district, the Japanese American National Museum (JANM) has celebrated America’s ethnic and cultural diversity by sharing the Japanese American experience and providing a voice for Japanese Americans. JANM has presented over 70 exhibitions on-site while traveling 17 exhibits to venues such as the Smithsonian Institution and the Ellis Island Museum since opening to the public in 1992. 

The museum, which stands today as a hybrid institution enabling all people to explore their own heritage and culture, recently named a new chief development officer, Kelli-Ann Nakayama, as well as 10 incoming board members.

“Kelli brings a wealth and depth of experience in every aspect of fundraising, management and leadership to JANM — and she is no stranger to the Museum,” JANM President and CEO Ann Burroughs described. “As she said to me, ‘It’s like coming back home.’ I am excited to have Kelli aboard, and for the passion and leadership she brings to our stellar development team.”

Nakayama has more than 20 years of professional nonprofit fundraising experience, with a specialty in capital campaigns and major/principal gifts. Throughout the years, she has maintained a strong connection to the city’s Japanese American community and JANM. She provides leadership to the museum’s national philanthropic funding strategies, including membership, individual and institutional giving, and development operations. 

“When I visited JANM, I felt the gravity of past hardships, saw the resilience of families and learned about the perseverance of leaders who fought for justice,” Nakayama said. “Those visits were also poignant reminders that many communities today suffer from the same discrimination that plagued the U.S. 80 years ago. 

“As a fourth-generation Japanese American whose relatives were incarcerated during World War II (and whose grandfather started Tokyo Bank and was one of the first Japanese American bankers in the U.S.), I have a deep and personal appreciation of JANM for capturing the shared histories and contemporary narratives of our vibrant and dynamic community.”

Nakayama received her MA in museum studies from San Francisco State University and her BA in anthropology from the University of California, Berkeley, and has professional certificates in philanthropy and fundraising management. Nakayama’s extensive fundraising experience stems from her previous work with Boy Scouts of America National Foundation, where she spearheaded a team of fundraising professionals, 44 local councils and hundreds of volunteers to raise over $21.5 million for local membership growth initiatives. 

As the director of development at the USC Keck School of Medicine, she also solicited, managed and secured over $4.3 million in individual gifts for stem cell research and supported a team responsible for raising $35 million. 

Nakayama will be joined at JANM by 10 new board members, who each bring a bounty of experience to the museum’s leadership team. 

For the museum’s two trustee positions, JANM has named Capital Group Los Angeles senior vice president and senior counsel Kristine Nishiyama, who also serves in various capacities for Capital Group subsidiaries and affiliates, as principal executive officer of the American Funds Fixed Income Funds and on the board of trustees for the Westside Los Angeles Ronald McDonald House, and Kansa Advisory founder and CEO Dennis Sugino, who was formerly a chief investment officer for the city of Los Angeles, co-founder and president of Cliffwater and managing director of Wilshire Associates, has served as a board vice chair of the U.S.-Japan Council, board member of Keiro, board member of The Investment Fund for Foundations and investment committee member of Mercy Health System, and is currently a board member of the Japan House Foundation (Los Angeles).

For the museum’s eight governor positions, JANM has named Jennifer Hirano, business development analyst at Alphabet; Akemi Kondo Dalvi, president and CEO of Kondo Wealth Advisors; Yuko Kaifu, president of Japan House LA; Masatoshi Komoriya, deputy chief operating officer – international and deputy chief executive of the Global Commercial Banking Business Group; David Mineta, president and CEO of Momentum for Health; Michele Miyakawa, co-founder and managing director of Moelis & Company; Josh Morey, chairperson of Ori-gen and president of the J Morey Company; and Christopher Yang, group vice president of business development and the deputy general counsel for Toyota Motor North America and executive vice president and chief operating officer for Toyota Connected North America. 

“Our new board members bring a wealth of diversity and experience to JANM’s leadership,” Board of Trustees Chair Bill Fujioka said. “We are grateful for their commitment and dedication to sustaining JANM in the years to come. I look forward to working with them to strengthen our mission and work towards a more just future for all.”

The Japanese American National Museum

WHERE: 100 N. Central Avenue, Los Angeles

HOURS: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday,

and Friday to Sunday; noon to 8 p.m. Thursday