JAINA is an acronym for the Federation of Jain Associations in North America, an umbrella organization of 71 Jain Centers representing 150,000 members in USA and Canada; with a mission to preserve, practice, and promote Jain Dharma and Jain Way
of Life. With the blessings of Acharya Sushil Kumarji and Gurudev Chitrabhanuji, JAINA was founded in 1981 and formalized in 1983. JAINA is the largest organization of Jains outside India and conducts its various programs and initiatives through
several committees. The dream of unity of all Jains is alive and thriving in North America through JAINA, as it represents Jains of all sects from all regions of the world.
Click below for more information about the organization and its programs:
There are over 71 organizations under the JAINA umbrella. These include Jain temples, sanghs, societies and centers. Irrespective of the name these organizations use, they are referred to as "Jain Centers". These are divided into 7 geographical
regions - Northeast, Mideast, Southeast, Midwest, Southwest, West and Canada. The Executive Committee consists of a President, First Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, 7 Regional Vice Presidents and the Past President.
Each Jain Center, based on their membership size, appoints one, two, or three Directors as their representatives at JAINA. There are 120 JAINA Directors. The directors elect the JAINA Executive Committee members every two years.
To accomplish its objectives JAINA has created 10 main program categories that are managed by various committees. The Executive Committee creates these committees as needed and appoints the chairperson for each committee from the large pool of
Jain community members in USA and Canada. Each chairperson appoints as many members as needed to serve on the committee. Currently there are 35 committees in operation.
- To assist in the establishment of Jain Temples, Sthanaks, Pathshalas and other facilities for carrying on Jain activities.
- To assist existing Jain associations and promote formation of new Jain associations throughout North America.
- To promote religious and educational activities related to Jainism and to develop better understanding of the Jain religion.
- To assist and promote charitable and humanitarian community services in North America, India and throughout the world.
- To promote vegetarianism and non-violence.
- To provide and promote academic and cultural interchanges and cooperation among Jains in North America, India and other countries around the globe.
- To establish liaison with governmental and other agencies in pursuance of the above objectives.
Major Programs and Services
To accomplish its objectives JAINA has created 10 main program categories that are currently managed by 35 committees.
- Biennial Convention – Brings the Jain community together for a socio-religious gathering once in two years.
- Education – Promotes education in Jainism through Jain Academic Liaison, Pathshala, JAINA Academic Bowl and VR Gandhi Scholarship committees
- Humanitarian Services – Conducts animal welfare activities through Jivdaya committee and provides assistance to those is need through World Community Services and Upliftment committees.
- Publications and Productions – Publishes an online magazine Jain Digest to promote Jain principles, values & spiritual growth and an annual colorful Calendar with photographs of Jain temples mailed to over 10,000 households free of cost.
The Media Production committee produces an entertaining TV show “Mangalam” on Jainism and Jain practices broadcasted every Sunday morning.
- Community Outreach – A wide variety of services are provided to the Jain Community in North America through 10 committees. See the list in the diagram above.
- Administrative Services – Services needed for smooth functioning of JAINA is provided by Constitution, Election, Archives, Long Range Planning, Membership and Technology committees.
- Religious Programs – The Pilgrimage committee organizes various ‘Yatras’ – such as 99 Yatra at Shri Shatrunjay Mahateerth and the Interfaith Committee represents Jain religion in Interfaith events.
- Government and Public Relations – Committees in this category work with various government organizations to promote JAINA and Jainism among lawmakers and with the news media to increase public awareness of JAINA.
- Youth Services – Provides services for the benefit of young Jains through Jain Connect, Academic Scholarship, Jain Youth Exchange and Scouting committees.
- Environment – Brings awareness about Ahimsa, global environmental issues and promotes usage of plant- based foods through the Ahimsak Eco-Vegan committee.
Know more about JAINA Committees
- Young Jains of America: A vibrant group of young Jains ages 14-29 coming together to learn, grow, and network.
- Young Jains Professionals - Strives to increase the awareness and understanding of Jain principles and heritage by promoting networking among Jain professionals.
The following organizations are JAINA affiliates :
- Jaina India Foundation (JIF)
- International School for Jain Studies (ISJS)
- International Alumni Association of Shri Mahavir Jain Vidyalaya (IAAMJV)