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Nancy Hatamiya Arts & Humanities Fund Established

Nancy Hatamiya

OAKLAND — As California Humanities celebrated National Arts & Humanities Month in October, it also honored the memory of longtime board member and chair Nancy Kikuko Hatamiya, who passed away in 2012.

Hatamiya displayed a passion and enthusiasm for public service, an abiding devotion to her community, and boundless energy that touched and inspired everyone around her. In recognition of her extraordinary service, California Humanities honors her legacy with the Nancy Hatamiya Arts & Humanities Fund, in support of projects that promote the humanities though the visual and performing arts.

In talking with her family about this fund, Hatamiya’s sons Jon and George, now both in their twenties, had stories to share about how their mother’s passion for the arts and humanities has enriched their lives.

“My mom was not only one of the kindest, smartest, and genuine people you could ever meet, but was always perceptive and dedicated to finding the inherent positive connections between all of us that are drawn out through the creative process,” said George. “She understood and taught me that through the arts and humanities people can tell and document their own stories while they connect and begin to understand those stories of everyone around them. It is exactly these positive human connections that my mom dedicated her life and her passion to every day that made a lasting impact on everyone she knew.”

“My mom always believed in the arts and humanities as integral vehicles for interpersonal understanding and cultural dialogue,” said Joe. “Her enthusiasm has inspired me as a musician to seek those points of intersection between the arts and humanities and pursue the same values in my own career. I am thrilled that the memorial fund will honor her legacy by helping to provide the means for others to tell their unique stories as well!”

California Humanities said in a statement, “The Arts & Humanities strand of California Humanities’ Humanities for All Quick Grants will launch in 2018. We look forward to reaching a new pool of applicants and to supporting projects that highlight those important connections between the arts and humanities that were so central to Nancy’s life.

“Please help us honor Nancy’s memory as we build this fund in order to provide more opportunities for artists and audiences throughout California. Your contribution of any size is 100 percent tax-deductible and will be earmarked for this special program.”

For more information, go to


Nancy Kikuko Hatamiya (1959-2012) lived a wonderful life filled with many passions. She cherished her family and community and devoted her life to public service working primarily on policies related to children, families, civil rights, and education.

Hatamiya served as a policy consultant to three members of the California State Assembly as well as chief of staff to two of them. From 2004 to 2006, as chief of staff to Assemblymember Pedro Nava (D-Santa Barbara), she managed the Capitol office and two district offices; served as press secretary; and supervised staff recommendations regarding higher education and natural resources.

From 2002 to 2004, Hatamiya served as principal consultant to the Select Committee on Children’s School Readiness and Health, chaired by Assemblymember Wilma Chan (D-Oakland). She not only managed Chan’s Sacramento office but also coordinated with other related leadership staff regarding the operation of the Assembly floor and was responsible for supervising the Chan’s overall legislative agenda.

From 1989 to 1991, she served as chief of staff and legislative director for legendary Assemblymember John Vasconcellos (D-San Jose). She also served as chief of staff, for over five years, to San Mateo County Supervisor Anna Eshoo, who is now serving in the House of Representatives.

Hatamiya was senior advisor at Manatt, Phelps and Phillips from 1999 to 2001. In 2000, she was appointed by President Bill Clinton to serve on the Parent’s Advisory Council on Youth Drug Abuse and by Secretary William Cohen to the Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services to explore quality of life issues.

She worked for Vice President Al Gore as chief of staff to the President’s Crime Prevention Council from 1996 to 1998, and was later appointed by Clinton as White House Liaison for the U.S. Office of Personnel Management from 1998-1999.

Among her proudest accomplishments, she served from 2004 to 2011 on the California Council for the Humanities Board of Directors and chaired the board from 2008 to 2010. She was also committed to the arts, with a particular interest in Asian ceramics, and was a member of the Crocker Art Museum (Sacramento) Board of Directors and its Collections and Acquisitions Committee.

In 2002, Hatamiya was a member of a U.S. delegation to Japan at the invitation of Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs to promote U.S.-Japan relations.

She was also a citizen of the world. She was born in Rome, lived in Karachi, Pakistan as a child, and attended elementary and junior high schools in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. before she graduated high school from the Jakarta International School in Jakarta, Indonesia.

Hatamiya went on to study architecture and urban design at Stanford University, where she was elected to the Council of Presidents, and was the co-founder of the Asian American Theater Project. Following her college graduation, she was selected as a Coro Foundation fellow in San Francisco.

She is survived by her husband of 22 years, Lon Hatamiya, and their two sons.

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