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Nihonmachi Little Friends launches


Nihonmachi Little Friends (NLF) was founded in 1974 with the belief that a bilingual, multicultural preschool was important for children and to the future of San Francisco’s Japantown community. NLF’s first program opened in the fall of 1975. Each year, over 200 families of diverse income levels and cultural backgrounds are served by NLF’s two preschools and its elementary school afterschool program.


In 2002, NLF was asked to become the owner and steward of the 1830 Sutter Street building. This new responsibility brought greater stability and potential to NLF and has complemented its educational and community serving activities. The new preschool

addition will be located on the site originally chosen by the Issei (first generation) women, adjacent to 1830 Sutter. NLF is proud to follow in their footsteps by creating this new building to serve the community.

The Plant A Seed Campaign 

Japanese Phrase for "Plant A Seed" is Tane Maki


Nihonmachi Little Friends (NLF) is planting a seed to ensure the future stability and vitality of its preschool programs in San Francisco’s Japantown. Through the “Plant A Seed Campaign”, NLF is creating a new preschool building addition on the lot adjoining its historic Julia Morgan-designed building. The new building will allow NLF to increase enrollment and improve its preschool facilities while respectfully acknowledging and preserving the original 1830 Sutter building.

This new preschool building will secure a permanent and vibrant early childhood education facility in the heart of Japantown, strengthening ties between this historic neighborhood and the thriving community of NLF families. It will enable NLF to increase its preschool capacity to 92 children and expand its services to meet the growing demand for its preschool programs.


Spacious new classrooms will feature natural light and an open-space configuration to provide maximum flexibility of use. A rooftop playground and garden will provide space for outdoor play and learning activities. A gracious entryway and elevator in the new building will provide universal access to all levels of both the new preschool addition and the historic 1830 Sutter building.


In its first capital campaign, which concluded in 2009, NLF raised over $2.2 million for the purchase and rehabilitation of 1830 Sutter including important repairs and improvements such as renovation of the Noh theater stage, re-tiling the roof, and kitchen and children’s restroom remodeling.


The $3.5 million Plant A Seed Campaign is the next step in NLF’s commitment to the future of the culture and community of San Francisco’s Japantown community. Now is the time to help plant a seed and help NLF grow and support children and families in San Francisco.

Let's Plant A Seed Together Campaign

Please help us restore this magnificent building to the community, allowing it to serve as it was originally intended: to provide a living, learning environment for tomorrow’s leaders. There are many way to help:  


Make your online donation to Plant A Seed Campaign.        


Please contact NLF at (415) 922-8898 or to demonstrate your support of NLF and its Plant A Seed campaign today!

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