Little Tokyo Community Investment Fund Reaches Milestone


The board of directors of the Little Tokyo Community Impact Fund (LTCIF) recently held its second annual investor meeting to hold board elections and provide an update on the current activities of the still rather new LTCIF program.

Various board members virtually attended the annual meeting and reiterated the fund’s goal of purchasing commercial buildings that can support small, legacy businesses.

According to LTCIF Board Chairman Bill Watanabe, “LTCIF has continued to increase the number of investors who want to help Little Tokyo keep its traditional small businesses and fight gentrification; the need is even greater due to the negative impact COVID-19 has had on small businesses in the community. We now have, as of the end of June 2021, 77 shareholders who have invested $ 741,000 in the fund, which is a significant amount to help us become commercial property owners who can help small businesses in Little Tokyo.

“However, we still need more investors who can see the vision of owning and being able to control land use to help preserve our historic ethnic and cultural neighborhood.”

Professor Dean Toji, who teaches Asian-American studies at CSU Long Beach and is a board member of LTCIF, added that LTCIF reached half of the goal of raising $ 1.5 million , which would allow the fund to buy a property with a smaller leverage margin.

The annual meeting reported that an offer to buy a property in Little Tokyo was made last spring, but the owner decided to cancel the sale.

Updates were also provided on the current state of businesses in Little Tokyo and how various segments of the community have rallied around assistance programs and food purchases to help keep many restaurants open, although unfortunately some companies had to close permanently.

LTCIF’s investment period ended on July 31, but interested potential investors are encouraged to visit the website as another investment period will be available in the near future. Midori Mizuhara, town planner and one of the younger board members, said she hoped more people would invest in the future of Little Tokyo, especially the younger generations, so that our heritage and our cultural community endure for generations. to come.

Those interested can visit the Little Tokyo Community Impact Fund website (http://www.littletokyocif.com/) for more information and can use the “Contact Us” link to contact LTCIF by email.

– Bill Watanabe

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