Our Team

Incorporating Board Officers

Bill Watanabe, President
Bill Watanabe was the founding Executive Director of the Little Tokyo Service Center (LTSC) in downtown Los Angeles. For 32 years, he guided its growth, in conjunction with the Board of Directors, from a one-person staff to a multi-faceted social services and community development program with 150 paid staff, many of whom are bilingual in any of eight Asian Pacific languages and Spanish. Bill retired from LTSC in June 2012. While at LTSC Bill helped to establish several key service organizations such as the Asian Pacific Community Fund, the National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development, the Asian Pacific Counseling and Treatment Center, the Coalition to Abolish Slavery & Trafficking, and the Little Tokyo Community Council. Bill is also the founder of the API National Historic Preservation Forum. Bill has an MSW from UCLA, is married and has one daughter and lives in Silver Lake near downtown Los Angeles.

Miya Iwataki, Vice-President
Miya Iwataki retired as Director of Diversity and Cultural Competency, leading the establishment of a Cultural and Linguistic infrastructure for LA County Health system which provides services for over 3.4 million visits a year for patients speaking 98 languages. Miya was Executive Director of the first Asian Women Center in the U.S. In 1970. She was sponsored by United Nations NGO to UN Decade For Women Convention in Nairobi, Kenya. She worked in media at KCET-TV; produced weekly radio programs at KPFK-FM (10+ years); and served as National Press Secretary for Congressman Mervyn Dymally. She was national legislative director for NCRR, a grassroots organization advocating for successful enactment of Redress/Reparations legislation for Americans of Japanese ancestry unjustly imprisoned in camps during WWII. Miya is Vice President of Little Tokyo Historical Society and columnist for Rafu Shimpo.

Mark Masaoka, Treasurer
Mark Masaoka, retired, was the Policy Director of the Asian Pacific Policy & Planning Council (2008-2017) previously, the Director of Strategic Initiatives for the Los Angeles County Children’s Planning Council (2004-2008), and Director of the Human Services Alliance (2001-2004). Mark was recently awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by OCA-Asian Pacific American Advocates.

Steve Nagano, Secretary
Steve, a former secondary school teacher and currently a resident of Little Tokyo has been a longtime community activist and currently is involved with the Little Tokyo Historical Society, Nikkei for Civil Rights and Redress, as well as a board member of the Historic Cultural Neighborhood Council (HCNC). Since moving to Little Tokyo his involvement has deepened as an organizer of the Little Tokyo Sparkle (community-wide cleanup), participant with Sustainable Little Tokyo, and as a Digital Histories (Visual Communications) filmmaker. With his father born on 4 th St. and with an office in the Firm Building and a member of the Olivers, his family roots in Little Tokyo reach back to the 1920s.

Board of Directors

Process for selecting the Board of Directors

  • Each share holder (at $10,000 per share) would receive one vote for the election of the Board of Directors who will oversee the operations of LTCIF.
  • Any individuals who invests $50,000 or more would receive a maximum of 5 votes for the Board.
  • Any corporation who invests $1,000,000 or more for a minimum 5-year term would receive a seat for the Board.
  • Foundation or corporation seats in total cannot be more than 33% of the total Board seats.

The Board of Directors will be announced.

Advisory Board

The Advisory Board is still to be determined.

Featured image: Original artwork by Shizu Saldamando