Attendees at a Little Tokyo Community Investment Fund presentation at the Gardena Valley Japanese Cultural Institute last month. (J.K. YAMAMOTO/Rafu Shimpo)
According to organizers of the Little Tokyo Community Impact Fund (LTCIF), more people and groups have pledged their support for the LTCIF so that it could begin its work to protect the future of the historic Little Tokyo neighborhood.
Bill Watanabe, president of the LTCIF, has announced that the fund has now gathered 35 pledges of investments of at least $10,000 each, representing nearly a half-million dollars towards the goal of purchasing Little Tokyo property that could be maintained with businesses consistent with the historic 130-year-old ethnic district.
The fund’s organizers have stated that once the fund has reached 50 investors, there will be a formal election of the Board of Directors, who will be charged with managing the fund and making sure the investments are sound and the community benefit is met.
According to Watanabe, in addition to individual investors, investment pledges have also been received from two community groups, Zenshuji Buddhist Temple and Union Church of Los Angeles.
“These two Little Tokyo-based churches have expressed their support for the LTCIF to be able to fight off the powerful gentrification process taking place right now in Downtown Los Angeles and in Little Tokyo,” he stated. “The LTCIF is very encouraged that these groups, which are not wealthy by any means, can join with us to help us ensure that Little Tokyo will be around for future generations.
“We need a ground swell of supporters and hope that other individuals and groups will also sign on as investors in this project. It’s a win-win because investors will receive a return on their investment and also know that they will be helping the community at the same time!”
The LTCIF has posted an informational website (www.littletokyocif.com) and all interested persons are asked to visit the site, which also contains contact information.