Liz Simons of Heisings-Simons Foundation to speak at Gardner Awards Dinner

LizPic2014ALiz Simons is president of the Heising-Simons Foundation, a family foundation dedicated to sustainable, research-based solutions in early childhood education, climate/environment, and science. After earning a Bachelor’s degree in journalism from the UC Berkeley and a Master’s in Education from Stanford, Liz taught high school English and, subsequently, English as a Second Language in elementary school.
She founded Stretch to Kindergarten, a summer program that facilitates the transition to kindergarten for children without significant preschool experience. Liz currently serves on the Leadership Council of Too Small to Fail, which focuses on improving the health and well-being of America’s youngest children.
She is on the board of the Foundation for a Just Society and a member of the advisory council for Stanford’s Graduate School of Education.
She and her husband, Mark Heising, have two children: Caitlin and Matthew.

Gardner Awards Welcomes Back Jeff Applebaum

After 20+ years in California, this New York City native is finally learning to understand the local language. Jeff’s comedy examines his particular life experiences, which include being the only white kid on his Little League team in Queens, moving to Long Island for high school, having a Chinese wife and raising children who calls themselves “Jewnese,” because he says it sounds better than “Chine-ish.”
Jeff made his national U.S. TV debut on CBS as a comedian on the “Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson.”  He has also appeared on Comics Unleashed and Comedy.TV, Byron Allen’s nationally syndicated Entertainment Studio programs, ABC-TV, and opened for and performed with comic legends Robert Klein, Richard Lewis, Robin Williams, Kevin Pollak, Jake Johannsen, and more.  He’s also a frequent guest on KGO Radio, AM810.
Jeff was cast by Sandy Hackett, the late Buddy Hackett’s son, to play the principal role of Joey Bishop in the long-running musical tribute “The Rat Pack Is Back,” in San Francisco, Chicago, Manchester, NH, and Las Vegas. Jeff is also credited and appears in the blockbuster film “The Pursuit of Happyness,” starring Will Smith.
Prior to comedy, Jeff worked as an engineer, using his two degrees from MIT. Along with performing, he is currently developing Comedy Apps, and lives with his wife and three children in Silicon Valley, California.  Learn more athttp://www.jeffapplebaum.com

MVLA Scholar Behind the Gold Statue (The Oscars)

Last year, William Martinez attended the Oscars.  Actually, he was working at the Oscars, and you can trace a chain of events from this plum job back to MVLA Community Scholars, a program of the Los Altos Community Foundation, that offers recurring college scholarships and mentors to local low-income youth.

Martinez, an intern of NBC Universal, helped on movie projects, assisting stars and producers, as well as working at the Oscars!  Although it sounds glamorous, it was not an easy road to get there.

William attended UCLA in 2009, majoring in Political Science with a minor in Film, but was forced to return home after only one year despite having been offered several scholarships. “The financial burden was just overwhelming,” he says.

According to Martinez, he “took classes at Foothill Community College to keep myself on track and… found a job at a startup in Silicon Valley.  After a year and a half I was able to return to UCLA.”

Nancy Federman, a member of MVLA Scholars and William’s college mentor adds, “The wonderful thing about MVLA Scholars is that they are committed to the student and stick with them until they graduate, even if it takes more than 4 years.”

Both Nancy and William agree that the most important quality Martinez demonstrated was perseverance.  Keeping his goals foremost in mind, working through every challenge, being patient, and never losing faith; these were the elements of his success.

Once back at UCLA, William became an intern, then an assistant for Emmett Furla Films where he met actors, producers and industry specialists. The experience and networking from this job helped when he applied to NBC Universal.

Martinez acknowledges that he and Federman “…have a great relationship. She has been a great support system throughout my entire journey. Without her help, I wouldn’t be in the place I am now. Thanks to her and the financial support of MVLA Scholars, I have had the chance to meet incredible people. I was also able to find out exactly what I want to do with my life.  I have worked with James Franco and Mark Wahlberg, worked the Oscars, and attended the MTV Movie Awards, Music Video Awards and the Alma Awards.  Who could have dreamed this?” William did.

MVLA Scholars is a program of the Los Altos Community Foundation.

If you would like to help more deserving youth find their dreams, contact http://www.mvlascholars.org

Ways and Means Passes Charitable Tax Provisions

The House Ways and Means Committee met today to markup several important bills focused on the charitable sector. The actions included making permanent charitable “tax extenders,” such as the IRA charitable rollover and simplifying the private foundation excise tax on investment income to a single rate of 1%. All four bills were passed out of the Committee, and will move to a full House of Representatives vote. Council staff were present for a first-hand look at the action.

Here is a full list of the charitable bills passed by the Committee on Wednesday:

H.R. 637, “To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to make permanent the rule allowing certain tax-free distributions from individual retirement accounts for charitable purposes.”
H.R. 640, “To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to modify the tax rate for excise tax on investment income of private foundations.”
H.R. 644, “To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to permanently extend and expand the charitable deduction for contributions of food inventory.”
H.R. 641, “Conservation Easement Incentive Act of 2015.”
The Vote

The votes broke down along party lines, with Republicans passing them out of Committee. Many of the Democratic members who commented during the three-hour long markup spoke in strong support of the substance and purpose of these provisions, citing examples of how these charitable incentives have supported and improved conditions in their districts.

But, Democrats voted against the measures for two reasons. They objected that:

1.     None of these bills were “paid for” with spending offsets in other places, and

2.     They were being “cherry picked” and not considered within the broader context of comprehensive tax reform.

House Ways and Means Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI-1) took the position that the provisions did not require offsets because they were essentially permanent law. The Chairman noted in his opening statement that “all of these ideas have broad, bipartisan support. Most of them have been part of the tax code for years. It’s about time we got around to making them permanent—instead of all these back-to-the-future extensions. Let’s make them permanent. Give people certainty. Move America forward.”

Congressman Aaron Schock (R-IL-18), who sponsored the bill to make permanent the IRA charitable rollover, commented during the markup: “charitable donations and the incentives we provide… [are] never about the person giving the contribution. We put these incentives in law for the people who benefit.”

Co-sponsor Danny Davis (D-IL-7), made clear that this bill would help to put more philanthropic dollars into communities, stating – “the rollover is another example of a smart federal investment.” He cited examples of his Chicago constituents who not only rollover their IRA distributions, but also contact his office about the future of the provision.

Congressman Erik Paulsen (R-MN-3), who sponsored the legislation to simplify the private foundation excise tax, said in his opening statement: “This will ensure that charitable giving decisions are actually based on the needs of our communities rather than the tax code.”

Representative Davis again voiced his support, saying, “when philanthropy thrives – communities thrive.”

What’s Next

These bills will now need to be voted on by the full House. It is unclear when that will be, but we will keep you updated.

Council President and CEO Vikki Spruill released the following statement after Wednesday’s markup:

The Council on Foundations applauds the Members of the House Ways and Means Committee for their commitment to supporting a strong philanthropic sector. We would like to thank them for reintroducing these measures so quickly in the new Congress, in order to provide much needed certainty to both donors and foundations. The four charitable bills passed by the Committee today will encourage charitable giving and strengthen philanthropy’s ability to serve communities across the country.

Simplifying the private foundation excise tax to a flat rate of one percent will allow private foundations to spend more resources on communities in need, rather than on tax compliance. The measure will lift an administrative burden and direct more focus to the work of the foundation rather than navigating a complicated tax provision that creates a perverse incentive to give less, not more, in times of need. We would like to thank Congressman Erik Paulsen and Congressman Danny Davis in particular for sponsoring this bill.

We are also especially pleased that the Committee voted to make the IRA charitable rollover permanent. This provision has long been a priority of the Council, and we thank Congressman Aaron Schock for his leadership on this bill. A permanent IRA charitable rollover will give individual donors certainty when planning their charitable gifts, which means more money will flow to charitable causes.

We thank the Members of the House Ways and Means Committee for moving these bills forward, and we look forward to working with the full House of Representatives to move these provisions toward becoming law as quickly as possible.

What You Can Do

You can send a simple email to your member of Congress asking them to speak out in support of this bill!

LACF adds four new board members to its roster

Joel Shaps

 

 

 

 

 

 

Joel Shaps is President, Owner, and CEO of Bedrock Capital Management in Los Altos.  Prior to that, Joel was President of two divisions of Profit Recovery Group, owner of The Shaps Group, an accounts payable recovery consulting business, and a Vice-President at Neiman-Marcus.   Joel has been serving on LACF’s investment committee since 2012.  He and his wife, Sally, have been married since 1974, and together they have raised two daughters, Brandi and Lisa.  Joel enjoys golf, travel and wine.


 

Sanjay Dave

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sanjay Dave, a seasoned high-tech executive and Sr. Manager at Synopsys, has lived in Mountain View for over 16 years with his wife and two children.   Sanjay has been actively involved in the local schools, Huff Elementary and Mountain View High School, as well as the Mountain View Rotary Club, where he currently serves as the membership chair


 

Harry Price

 

 

 

 

 

 

Harry Price is a civil attorney, practicing real estate and business law in Los Altos for over 30 years.  He has also served as an associate instructor at De Anza College, teaching real estate courses. Active in charitable and civic organizations, Harry has served on the Board of Directors of the Santa Clara County Bar Association, as President of the Los Altos Village Association and is a member of the Los Altos Rotary Club.


John Radford

 

 

 

 

 

 

John Radford has actively volunteered in the community for the past 15 years, beginning on the board of the Los Altos Educational Foundation.  He has served on a number of committees for the Town of Los Altos Hills, was elected to Town Council in 2011 and served as Mayor in 2014.  In January he began his second term on the Council.  John has served for many years on the boards of Next Door Solution to Domestic Violence and RAFT (Resource Area for Teachers).  For the past two years John has been a member of the LACF Community Grants Committee.  Professionally, John is an executive compensation expert and co-founder of The Radford Associates.

LACF adds four new board members

Joel Shaps

 

 

 

 

 

Joel Shaps is President, Owner, and CEO of Bedrock Capital Management in Los Altos.  Prior to that, Joel was President of two divisions of Profit Recovery Group, owner of The Shaps Group, an accounts payable recovery consulting business, and a Vice-President at Neiman-Marcus.   Joel has been serving on LACF’s investment committee since 2012.  He and his wife, Sally, have been married since 1974, and together they have raised two daughters, Brandi and Lisa.  Joel enjoys golf, travel and wine.


 

Sanjay Dave

 

 

 

 

 

Sanjay Dave, a seasoned high-tech executive and Sr. Manager at Synopsys, has lived in Mountain View for over 16 years with his wife and two children.   Sanjay has been actively involved in the local schools, Huff Elementary and Mountain View High School, as well as the Mountain View Rotary Club, where he currently serves as the membership chair



 

Harry Price

 

 

 

 

 

Harry Price is a civil attorney, practicing real estate and business law in Los Altos for over 30 years.  He has also served as an associate instructor at De Anza College, teaching real estate courses. Active in charitable and civic organizations, Harry has served on the Board of Directors of the Santa Clara County Bar Association, as President of the Los Altos Village Association and is a member of the Los Altos Rotary Club.


John Radford

 

 

 

 

 

John Radford has actively volunteered in the community for the past 15 years, beginning on the board of the Los Altos Educational Foundation.  He has served on a number of committees for the Town of Los Altos Hills, was elected to Town Council in 2011 and served as Mayor in 2014.  In January he began his second term on the Council.  John has served for many years on the boards of Next Door Solution to Domestic Violence and RAFT (Resource Area for Teachers).  For the past two years John has been a member of the LACF Community Grants Committee.  Professionally, John is an executive compensation expert and co-founder of The Radford Associates.