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 [@] littletokyocif.com.
*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.