LTCIF Approved to Raise Money as a Community-Owned Real Estate Fund

For Further Information Contact:

Bill Watanabe   213-359-0981

Miya Iwataki      626-993-8142

Little Tokyo, CA  –  The Little Tokyo Community Impact Fund, SPC (LTCIF) has received final approval from California regulators to receive investment funds directly from California residents as it moves to become a community-owned and managed real estate fund. Through a direct public offering (DPO), LTCIF can offer shares of stock directly to potential investors. Proceeds will be used to purchase real estate in and around Little Tokyo, allowing community investors to have a say in what happens in the community and potentially benefit from LTCIF’s success.

A public meeting to announce the DPO and to provide the next steps for potential LTCIF Investors and supporters will be held on Saturday, August 24th at Union Church, 401 E. 3rd Street in Little Tokyo. A special session in Japanese will take place at 11 a.m., followed by a meeting for English speakers at 1:00 p.m. RSVP to the kick-off event here. Parking is free.

LTCIF was launched by a group of Little Tokyo community advocates who were concerned about the increasing number of closures and relocations of heritage-based business in Little Tokyo largely due to gentrification. To work towards preserving and protecting the historical legacy of Little Tokyo from the impact of gentrification, they formed a real-estate investment fund that would seek to purchase and manage properties for the purpose of supporting heritage-based businesses and properties in Little Tokyo. 

On July 30th, after careful review and negotiation, the Commissioner of the California Department of Business Oversight issued a permit for LTCIF to sell two classes of shares directly to California residents. “The State process is complex due to the important consideration of protecting investors, but we have now passed that important milestone,” said Bill Watanabe, LTCIF’s Chairman and President. Attorney Brett Heeger, of the law firm Gartenberg Gelfand Hayton LLP, led LTCIF’s legal team through the months-long permit application process.

The LTCIF has held a round of public informational workshops to inform people of the intention to start a socially responsive real estate investment fund. “This fund could assist mom and pop, and heritage businesses that have been operating in Little Tokyo for many years, and that are now vulnerable to the encroaching gentrification,” according to LTCIF Interim Board member Miya Iwataki. “Response to outreach meetings have been favorable, because many people share a desire to defend the unique cultural history of Little Tokyo.”

Steve Nagano, another member of the LTCIF Interim Board of Directors said, “My wife Patty and I are longtime residents of Little Tokyo.  In our 10 years of living at Teramachi, we have seen some of our favorite restaurants and mom and pops forced to close or relocate due to rent increases brought about by gentrification. Real estate in all of downtown Los Angeles continues to escalate rapidly. And therefore, we have to take action now!”

“It all comes down to who owns the land,” adds Watanabe. “The only way to combat this is to own the land and thereby control how rents can be mitigated and mom-and-pop businesses can be sustained. Little Tokyo Service Center has provided a model for how this can be done.”  

Mark Masaoka, another LTCIF Board member explains, “People need to understand that we are not asking for donations, but that this is an investment into the community. If successful, we hope to deliver financial return on that investment in addition to having a social impact.”

An update on Little Tokyo, and the mission, structure, and operation of the Little Tokyo Community Impact Fund will be presented at the August 24th meeting, with time for extensive question and answer. Further details on the fund are available on the LTCIF website


Little Tokyo CIF Meeting for Japanese & English Speakers

The Little Tokyo Community Impact Fund (LTCIF) is excited to announce that we will hold additional open meetings to present the formation of a community-benefit investment fund aimed at helping to preserve the historic ethnic neighborhood of Little Tokyo.

The LTCIF held a public meetings at the JACCC in August, and a second information session at the Gardena JCI in September.   According to members of the LTCIF Organizing Committee, “Approximately 75 attended the meeting with great interest in Little Tokyo; and around 55 attended the session at Gardena JCI to hear more about this new effort.”  

Two more meetings are scheduled to be held in Little Tokyo on Oct. 20th for Japanese-speaking people, and for those who could not attend the first two gatherings.  The two sessions take place at the Union Church in Little Tokyo on Saturday, Oct. 20th:

•    1 pm – 2:30 pm will be held in Japanese
•    3 pm – 4:30 pm will be held in English

The LTCIF is seeking investors who are willing to invest in the fund (a minimum of $10,000) and will receive a moderate rate of return on investment and at the same time be helping to preserve our community history, heritage, and culture.”

Everyone is invited to attend and to learn about the LTCIF and how they can participate in this exciting new venture to support the community.  More public meetings are being planned for other regions of the Southland.

RSVP for Little Tokyo Meeting

At this meeting we will discuss: What is happening in Little Tokyo? What is a Community Impact Fund? How can individuals, families, organizations and businesses get involved to preserve the legacy of Little Tokyo? There will be a Question & Answer session open to all. If you are not able to attend, please check back to the LTCIF website for updates.

Thank you and have a great weekend!


Bill Watanabe
President, LTCIF

報道期間各位              詳細:
2018 年10月5日  
「リトル東京コミュニティーインパクトファンド計画パブリックミーティング」リトル東京コミュニティインパクトファンド(LTCIF)オーガナイザーは、リトル東京の歴史的地区を守ることを目的とした地域特典投資ファンドについての、 オープンミーティングの日程を発表する。LTCIFは8月にJACCCでパブリックミーティングを開催し、9月にガーデナJCIで第2回情報セッションを開催した。LTCIF組織委員会のメンバーによると、「リトル東京での一回目セッションでは、約75人の参加者の多くがリトル東京に大きな関心を寄せており、 Gardena JCIのセッションには約55名が参加し、この新しい取り組みについて学んだ。」

  • 1 – 2:30 pm  Japanese Presentation
  • 3 – 4:30 pm  English Presentation

LTCIFは、ファンドに投資の意向の投資家(最低1万ドル)を求め、 投資収益率は中程度となっている。またこのファンドを通じ、歴史的の遺産と文化の維持に貢献する事となる。



LTCIF Website

A Recap of Little Tokyo Community Impact Fund’s First Community Meeting

On August 25, 2018, over 70 Little Tokyo stakeholders gathered in the Garden Room of the Japanese American Cultural & Community Center to learn more about the Little Tokyo Community Impact Fund, a public/private partnership and platform to allow individuals, foundations, and the local government to invest collaboratively in the Japanese American community. The space, adorned with images of Little Tokyo’s streets, people and small businesses, provided an opportunity for attendees to reflect on the vibrant history of the Japanese American community.

The meeting commenced with an introduction from LTCIF Organizing Committee member, Miya Iwataki, who ended her welcome with the call to “SAVE LITTLE TOKYO!” A video created by Steve Nagano was shown to provide a brief history of Little Tokyo and highlight the importance of its existence from the perspectives of tourists, business owners, nonprofit workers, artists and other community members.

An update on Little Tokyo was presented by Takao Suzuki who spoke about the displacement of small businesses in Little Tokyo and highlighted which properties in the neighborhood are for sale. Bill Watanabe gave a brief overview of the proposed organizational structure and investment cycle of the fund.

The overview of the fund was followed by a comprehensive Q&A segment where several questions and comments were posed.  You can see the answers to many of these questions on our FAQ page.

Attendees were given the opportunity to sign “Letter of Intent” forms to show their interest in supporting the fund and its efforts. Meetings will be held in various locations across Los Angeles County to introduce the fund. The meeting ended with light refreshments, beverages and networking.

To sign a letter of intent, please click here. The signed letter can be emailed or mailed.

For any additional questions, please contact Bill Watanabe at info [@]

*Update: The Little Tokyo Community Impact Fund (LTCIF) Organizing Committee will hold its second community meeting in the South Bay. The Gardena Valley Japanese Cultural Institute will co-sponsor this community meeting with LTCIF which will present the concept of a socially responsible corporation that will invest funds in planned and impactful real estate purchases to provide stability and support for legacy and community related business, non-profits, artists and cultural groups. Please join us to learn how to get involved in this important initiative to help preserve and maintain a vibrant, community focused Little Tokyo! RSVP: Facebook or Eventbrite.