LTSCene – November/December 2019 - Little Tokyo Service Center


November and December 2019 Issue

LTSC Receives KidCents Regional Grant from The Rite Aid Foundation

The Rite Aid Foundation awarded a $15,000 KidCents Regional Grant to Little Tokyo Service Center (LTSC) for our after school program. LTSC provides after school tutoring and mentoring for youth living in and around our affordable housing communities in downtown Los Angeles. 

“We are so excited to be partnering with The Rite Aid Foundation,” said Nancy Alcaraz, LTSC’s Director of Resident Services. “With this support, LTSC’s after school program will continue to help our youth realize their full potential and encourage them to pursue their dreams.”

The KidCents Regional Grant Program funds specific out-of-school time programs focused on children’s nutrition, physical fitness and academic success. Annually it supports a select group of more than 400 nonprofit, kid-focused organizations committed to improving the health and well-being of children living in the communities Rite Aid serves. This year, the foundation awarded 233 charitable grants totaling more than $5 million dollars. 

“The Rite Aid Foundation is committed to being a caring neighbor and making meaningful differences for the children and families who live in the communities we serve,” said Tracy Henderson, director of The Rite Aid Foundation and charitable giving initiatives. “The Regional Grant Program significantly expands the reach and impact of our KidCents program, while enabling our partner organizations to provide critical out-of-school time programs that are vital to keeping children and adolescents on track for future success.”

LTSC would like to thank The Rite Aid Foundation for supporting our youth programs.

Bokashi Composting in Little Tokyo

Bokashi composting is an anaerobic process that uses a special additive to ferment waste into healthy soil and nutrient-rich fertilizer for plants. The method uses a mix of microorganisms that combat rotting bacteria (and rotting odors), increases the speed of decomposition and enhances plant growth. Little Tokyo Service Center (LTSC) employees Loana and Wataru have diligently been taking the LTSC office’s coffee grounds to a community bokashi compost bin every week for the past year. 

Sustainable Little Tokyo’s (SLT) Bokashi club welcomes LTSC’s compost along with kitchen waste compost from Little Tokyo Towers, Little Tokyo restaurants and more. Recently this compost went into the iris bed at the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center as  mulch. In the future, some of this compost may be used in the community gardens at the soon-to-be opened Terasaki Budokan. 

LTSC is part of the leadership team for Sustainable Little Tokyo (SLT), a community-driven initiative of over 100 organizations working to ensure a healthy, equitable and culturally rich Little Tokyo for generations to come. For more info, visit:

LTSC Helps Nonprofits Obtain Real Estate

For nearly three years, Little Tokyo Service Center, along with East LA Community Corporation, Inclusive Action for the City (formerly LURN) and Genesis LA, have worked together on a joint venture called  the Community Owned Real Estate (CORE) project. The goal of this venture was to acquire five commercial properties. 

Community Owned Real Estate (CORE) is a unique development and financing model that seeks to prevent the displacement of commercial tenants in low-income and gentrifying areas. CORE aims to retain existing businesses and fill vacancies with small businesses and local nonprofits. The properties obtained are located in the El Sereno and Boyle Heights communities of Los Angeles as well as unincorporated East Los Angeles. Ultimately, the portfolio will house approximately 23 tenants who, in turn, will support about 72 full-time jobs. As part of its mission, Little Tokyo Service Center works with key partners to provide assistance to small businesses throughout Los Angeles County.

Donate to LTSC from your IRA

Did you know you can donate to Little Tokyo Service Center directly from your IRA with a Qualified Charitable Distribution? It will count towards your Required Minimum Distribution, and the money is not included in your income. No itemization is necessary. Speak with your Financial Planner today for the details. If you have any questions or to make a donation today, please call 213-473-3027 or go to LTSC is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization. Our legal name is “LTSC Community Development Corporation,” and our Tax ID number is 95-4444102.

LTSC Presents Plans for Little Tokyo Metro Station

Little Tokyo Service Center (LTSC) recently pitched a plan for a Metro-owned property above the (currently under-construction) Metro Regional Connector station on First Street and Central.. Designed by FSY Architects, the LTSC plan includes a mobility hub, a visitor center, retail and gallery space, restaurants, and a community pavilion. The five-story complex would be topped with a multi-level automated parking structure, whose revenue would subsidize the space for community use.. Since 1993, LTSC has built affordable housing, community facilities and commercial space in Little Tokyo. 

LTSC is one of four  developers presenting plans. LTSC welcomes any feedback from the community about these plans.  Los Angeles Metro will evaluate the proposals and expects to select a developer in early 2020.

Update on the Santa Monica/Vermont Project

Little Tokyo Service Center (LTSC) filed an application earlier this autumn with the City of Los Angeles to develop approximately 190 units of affordable and permanent supportive housing above roughly 20,000 square feet of commercial, community, and service space at Vermont Avenue and Santa Monica Boulevard. This transit oriented development is located next to the Vermont/Santa Monica Metro Red Line station and is a partnership with the Los Angeles County Metro Transit Authority (MTA). For the last 20 months, LTSC has been working diligently with East Hollywood stakeholders to refine the project design based on the needs of the community. 

The East Hollywood Business Improvement District and the East Hollywood Neighborhood Council (EHNC) voted at their September and October board meetings, respectively, to support the project. “We fully support and would urge the City of Los Angeles to prioritize and expedite this project as it moves through entitlements review and subsequent phases of development. Every delay is another day that our family, friends, and neighbors are unsheltered on the streets. The housing crisis is now. We need affordable housing today,” said Arasele Torrez, EHNC President.

To learn the most up-to-date news concerning this project, please visit our website at:

Windows of Little Tokyo

Artist Edwin Ushiro recently unveiled a mural in the window of Little Tokyo small business, Cafe Dulce. The painting features many neighborhood luminaries – most notably Dean Matsubayashi, LTSC’s late Executive Director who passed away in September, with his son Sei on his shoulders. Also included are Edwin’s wife Lynn, in glasses, who works at the Japanese American National Museum, Korey Kito of Fugetsudo in an apron, and the unmistakable one-man band, Arthur Nakane, is pictured in a hat. 

The mural is part of the Windows of Little Tokyo project coordinated by Sustainable Little Tokyo (SLT), which transforms the windows of the neighborhood into an outdoor art exhibition with ten works displayed  across the district. LTSC is part of a leadership team for SLT, in order to promote the environmental, economic, and cultural sustainability of Little Tokyo. Until April 26, 2020 viewing of  Windows of Little Tokyo.

October & November Donors

Thank you to all our supporters for your contributions last month!
Add your name to the list by making a DONATION today.

George and Helen Abe
Dennis Arguelles
Mie Aso
Elizabeth Burton
Consulate General of Japan
Jeon Dae Seop
Eagle, Globerman and Kodama Foundation
First Choice Bank
Akemi Fujimoto
Alex Fukui
Merilynne Quon
Lisa Hasegawa
Alan Hino
Kelly Takasu
Tomiko Hooper
Takahiro Ide
Tamotsu Ikeda
Dick and Pauline Kaku
Jessica Kanai
Alan Kawa
Bomee Kim Fain and Jeremy Fain
Machiko Kimura
Liferay Foundation
Gary and June Masada
Robert and Teresa Matsushima
Dave and Terri Mitani and Family
Victor and Meriko Miyamoto
Robert Miyatake
Tomoko and Yukio Mori
Katsuko Morita
Much Is Given Foundation
Mike Murase and June Hibino
Debra Nakatomi
Nichi Bei Fujin Kai
Alan and Yvonne Nishio
Yoko O. Hayashi Trust
Brandon Okita and Erin Matsushita
Ed and Schreiber
Diane Shigekawa
Sam and Kuniko Shimoguchi
Mariko Shimozu
Kayoshi Shoda
Terumi Susuki
Nikki Kealalio Sutton
Esther Taira
Sumiko Takahashi
Yuka Takeuchi
James and Lilian Tanaka
Mineko Tanaka
Edward and Karen Toguchi
Jill Tsutsui
Keith Umemoto
David and Donna Uyehara
Raymond and Janice Waldorf
Karen Watanabe
Weingart Foundation
Ken and Sandy Yamashiro
Gerald and Anne Yee
Catherine Yen
Nolan Young

In Memory of Peggy Mikuni
Margaret Narumi

In Honor of Hiroshi Ota
Esther Spector

In Memory of Dean Matsubayashi
Diana Cardenas
Alan and Yvonne Nishio
Bradley and Allyson Sakai

In Memory of Jeannette Kyoko Sanderson
Emily and Dan Weaver

In Memory of Kaye Shoda Ishida and Frank Shoda
Patricia K. Ishida

Terasaki Budokan
May Arakaki
Laura Blosser and Chris Argyros
Eagle, Globerman and Kodama Foundation
Ashley Honma
Hisako (Betty) and Akira Imamura
Scott Ito and Nan Lee
Yukio and Lilian Kawaratani
Jarod Kawasaki and Christine Tomikawa
Steve and Delcey Kawasaki
Tracy and Renata Kawasaki
Chester and Eileen Kido
Jessie Kikuchi and Brent Mori
Scott, Wendy, Remi, and Trenton Kohno
Norman and Mardy Maehara
Susan Maki
Matsuhisa Foundation
Art and Margie Mio
Ken and Priscilla Mui
Nikkei Senior Gardens
Alan and Yvonne Nishio
David and Mary Noguchi
Mickie Okamoto and Geoffrey Tsudama
Takashi and Beverly Oki
Richard Rubin
The Sachie McQueen Luxe International
So-Phis Organization of Orange County
Grant Sunoo and Emily Maeda
Nikki Kealalio Sutton
Akemi Arakaki and Takao Suzuki
Loana Valencia
Ken Wada
Norman and Nora Yamauchi
Tad Yoshimura

In Memory of Alice Kikkawa
The Capital Group Companies Charitable Foundation
Robert Kikkawa

In Memory of Susan Onodera Leonard
Hisako (Betty) and Akira Imamura

In Memory of Dean Matsubayashi
Gayle Isa
Barbara Ito
Jenni Kuida and Tony Osumi
Akiko and Michael Lazare
Jim and Patsy Matsushita
Kimberly Min
Claire Peeps
Kathy and Russell Tagawa
Patrice Wong

In Honor of Chris Naito
Francisco Chavez
George and Naomi Egami
Yasuko Furuya
Sharon Ishibashi
Junko and Robert Kameoka
Wing Lew
Kyle Maetani
Hiroko and Richard Nogawa
Val and Henry Noguchi
Melinda Polo
Margaret and Ken Shimada
Susan Stern
Gladys and Glenn Tachibana
Mari and Randy Tamura
Christina and Eric Tanaka

In Memory of Gregory Uematsu
Barbara and Bob Okada

In-kind Donations
Steve and Patty Nagano
Robin Vanneman
Chris Zellner

Vehicle Donations
Ernesto Asucan
Ken and Suellyn Kambara
Tomoko Nakajima
Keith and Cecilia Terasaki
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