Help Napa and Sonoma fires survivors

Witnessing the devastation of the Napa and Sonoma fires, I’ve wondered how we can best help the many families who have lost everything begin to rebuild their lives.

Perhaps you’ve wondered this, too.

Just as Los Altos Community Foundation knows and addresses needs in our local community, the Napa and Sonoma Community Foundations are addressing needs in their shattered communities.

Because of their deep relationships with local nonprofits, community leaders, and government officials, community foundations are often in the best position to hold funds, make grants, and support the community over the medium to long-term during disaster recovery.

If you’d like to contribute to Napa and Sonoma Counties’ relief efforts, please consider giving to Community Foundation Sonoma County’s Sonoma County Resilience Fund and/or Napa Valley Community Foundation’s Napa Valley Community Disaster Relief Fund.

The road to recovery is long and we cannot yet predict what the greatest needs will be. But local community foundations are best positioned to vet organizations to receive funding for social support and rebuilding efforts.

And to help prepare your community for this type of disaster locally, why not become a Block Action TEAM Leader.

Support the Sonoma County Community Foundation’s Resilience Fund.


Napa Valley Community Foundation help Napa and Sonoma Fire survivors

Support Napa Valley Community Foundation’s disaster relief efforts.



Joe Eyre, LACF Executive Director headshot, talking about Napa and Sonoma fires
Joe Eyre, LACF Executive Director


LACF Impact 2017

Thank you for your support of the Los Altos Community Foundation!  We’re excited to share some of the outcomes that your contribution to LACF has enabled over the past year:


Addressing Youth, Seniors, and Families in Need

Through its funds and programs, LACF gave $1.39 million in grants and scholarships to organizations serving Los Altos, Los Altos Hills and Mountain View; a 55% increase over the previous year. These grants helped youth succeed in school, provided seniors with the care they need and enabled the homeless to feed themselves and their children.

LACF gave grants to new nonprofits, so they could launch their programs and quickly address needs in the community.  Grantees include Bay Area Furniture Bank, that gives furniture to those struggling to pay rent and EqOpTech Inc., that refurbishes computers for those who can’t afford them.

impacting the lives of students

LACF’s programs addressed numerous local needs, including:

  • MVLA Scholars gave over $400k in scholarships to 108 students, many of whom are first in their family to go to college.
  • CAFE (Center for Age Friendly Excellence), for its Los Altos Senior Inclusion and Participation Project, which identifies isolated seniors who are at risk and need services.
  • House2Home Connection, a new incubated LACF program that provides low-income families with donated household necessities for a comfortable and happy home.
  • Listos Mountain View, also a new incubated LACF program that helps immigrant families prepare for the possibility of family members being deported.
  • LACF again facilitated its common scholarship application process for local service clubs and the Mountain View Chamber of Commerce.  This group gave $131k to 72 local students.  The online common scholarship application also saved students and administrators time by submitting a single application to multiple organizations.

Improving Quality of Life in Our Community

Club 55 and Up, a fun, monthly event for adults 55 and over, attracted over 100 residents each time. Los Altos Forward, LACF’s program dedicated to promoting downtown vibrancy, created Club 55 and Up to provide local casual gatherings for older adults.

LACF’s Block Action Team (BAT) program grew to almost 200 trained BAT Leaders who help build neighbor-to-neighbor relationships and promote emergency preparedness in Los Altos.  Because of this program, the City of Los Altos recently took the lead disaster readiness by coordinating with BAT leaders as well as with county fire, HAM radio operators, and CERT (Community Emergency Response Teams).

LACF and the Los Altos School District set up an online bulletin board for community members to offer reasonably-priced housing to teachers.  As a result, five newly-hired teachers will be able to live in our community.

LACF’s Los Altos Dispute Resolution Services trained community members on conflict resolution and mediation to help resolve community issues.

Local arts and culture enhance life in our community.  LACF continuously supports local nonprofit stalwarts such as the Los Altos History Museum, CSMA, and Los Altos Stage Company.

Because of LACF’s ongoing support of the Peninsula Symphony, the community enjoys free classical music in the park every summer.

And, the Terrible Adult Chamber Orchestra (TACO) enables over 50 local musicians to regularly play together in a fun, stress-free environment.

Soil and Water, a new LACF-incubated program, teaches Mountain View apartment residents and their children how to grow vegetables in the community garden in Heritage Park. Through this process, they learn how to prepare and add more vegetables to their diet.

2016 LEAD

Transforming Community Members into Community Leaders

LACF’s LEAD class led by Claudia Coleman has graduated over 400 residents over the last 22 years, many of whom have run for and/or been on the City Council, school board, commissions, nonprofit boards, or become nonprofit leaders.

In addition, the Los Altos Town Crier recognized Claudia as “2017 Los Altan of the Year” partially for her commitment to the program.

Philanthropy never moves as fast as it does in LACF’s E3 Youth Philanthropy program. Throughout the year the 25 highly-motivated students learn empathy, values, nonprofit success factors, and grantmaking, all skills that will make them better leaders of tomorrow.

Owners of LACF Donor Advised Funds (DAFs) generously gave $730K of grants to nonprofits over the last year.  Some creatively funded new programs and causes while others granted money to their children and grandchildren so they could discover and nurture their own philanthropic passions.

Over 300 community members volunteered through LACF’s committees and programs to help make our community a better place.

To establish new community connections and educate residents about the Foundation, LACF hosted its annual Summer Solstice garden party welcoming over 300 community members – our most well-attended Solstice to date.

Inspire MV Check

Fostering Innovative New Philanthropy

Through LACF’s leadership, Google, LinkedIn, Symantec, and Synopsys joined the Inspire Mountain View initiative. The group awarded $525k in grants to make its hometown community more equitable, compassionate, and a better place to work and play.

The nine nonprofit grant winners are now helping parents struggling to feed their children, connecting seniors with their families through technology, and helping students learn about ecology, STEM, and becoming mindful leaders.

LACF sponsors 12 social-venture projects.  Through LACF, community members can start new nonprofits to address local needs without dealing with the burden of running an 501(c)(3).

Two years ago, LACF awarded a grant to MVLA Challenge Team’s Summer Learning Initiative to provide academic support programs for local at-risk students. Summer 2017 brought full program enrollment and combined morning classes with afternoon activity camps, resulting in positive academic and personal enrichment.

To further LACF’s donor-education initiatives, LACF invited Justin Steele, responsible for Google’s $50M+ U.S. philanthropy strategy, to provide insights into its innovative corporate philanthropy programs at our 25th annual LACF Brunch.

Building Resources for Our Community’s Future

Longtime community member Marguerite Szekely bequeathed LACF a $1.85 million planned gift, which LACF placed in our Community Endowment for future generations. Ms. Szekely’s gift is inspiring others in the community to include LACF in their estate plans, including the 36 generous and visionary families who are LACF Legacy Circle members honored at LACF’s annual May luncheon.

Because of you, our community is stronger, more caring, generous and engaged. Together, we’re developing the solid relationships, values, and practices that represent our world-class community.

Thanks again for your generous support. And as always, we’re continually looking to increase our impact, so feel free to email or contact me with any ideas you may have.

And as always, we’re continually looking to increase our impact, so feel free to email or contact me with any ideas you may have.

All the best,


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P.S.  Please mark your calendar for LACF’s annual brunch on Sunday, October 15th.  Our speaker is the lively and insightful Carl Guardino, CEO of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group.


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LACF Awards Grants to 12 Local Nonprofits

LACF’s Community Grants volunteer committee evaluated many applications for projects benefiting Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, and Mountain View.  After deliberation, they awarded twelve grants totaling $57,500.

FY18 First Session Grants

Organization Purpose of Grant Grant Amount
Assistance League of Los Altos This grant will allow us to improve the safety of our grounds and upgrade our building exterior, completing projects that have been deferred for many years, the cost of which is more than our current budget allows since most of our income goes to philanthropic programs. $5,000
Day Worker Center of Mountain View Connects employers from the Los Altos and Los Altos Hills area with skilled workers in a safe and supportive environment, as well as offering relevant classes and training for the workers to improve their skills. $5,000
Friends of Deer Hollow Farm This grant will support operations at Deer Hollow Farm, including our Animal Fund which provides for the care, feeding, and health of our signature farm animals and our Capital Improvements program which enhances and improves our physical facilities. $5,000
Healthier Kids Foundation (HFK)  HKF’s hearing screens local children in pre-school, public school, and private schools, case manages 12% of children who receive a hearing referral and helps their parents find specialized care they need. HKF will screen 250 children with this grant. $5,000
House2Home Connection  This grant will allow us to start accepting donations and distributing household items to community members in need. $5,000
Living Classroom  This grant will support the professionalization of our docent program by creating a professional training program that will incorporate relevant classes, docent coaching/mentoring and fingerprinting/background checks. $5,000
Los Altos History Museum  Support of the special temporary exhibition, “I Want the Wide American Earth: An Asian Pacific American Story,” and related programming, to be displayed at the Los Altos History Museum October 14th to January 7th. $5,000
Mentor Tutor Connection  The grant funds support general program costs for our Tutoring and Mentoring programs like program staffing, volunteer training, and youth support. $5,000
Morning Forum of Los Altos, Inc.  The grant will help to continue our goal of strengthening our membership by providing the highest quality speakers who provide topics and experiences of cultural, scientific, national and international interest. $5,000
WomenSV   To continue providing support, professional training, and public education related to domestic violence in our community. $5,000
YMCA of Silicon Valley/Project Cornerstone  Project Cornerstone is seeking funding to support our school partnerships in the Los Altos community which are creating caring school communities and positively impacting student’s social-emotional development. $5,000
YMCA of Silicon Valley-El Camino Branch  To support year-round operation of the Safety Around Water (SAW) program providing free swim safety lessons (in 4 week sessions) to children (5-17 yrs old) residing MV/LA community who are statistically the most at-risk for drowning (primarily socioeconomically disadvantaged and Latino youth.) $2,500



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First-Time Donors Win $1,000 LACF Grant

Pictured from left to right, are: LACF first-time Donors Lee Ann Shell, MVLA Co-Executive Directors Margaret Gong and Laura Roberts, and MVLA District Superintendent Jeff Harding.
Pictured from left to right, are: LACF first-time Donors Lee Ann Shell, MVLA Co-Executive Directors Margaret Gong and Laura Roberts, and MVLA District Superintendent Jeff Harding.


First-time donors Lee Ann & Martin Shell,  present their $1,000 grant to the MVLA High School Foundation.

The Shell’s won an LACF drawing for a $1,000 grant for the qualified local nonprofit of their choice.


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LACF incubated program WomenSV becomes 501c3

Ruth patrick
Ruth Patrick, WomenSV Director

Former LACF sponsored program, WomenSV has earned its 501c3. Congratulations to WomenSV director, Ruth Patrick for her dedication to serving the community.

WomenSV serves women and children in our area whose lives have been impacted by domestic violence. The program helps women of means break free from abuse and build healthier lives for themselves, their children, and our community.

If you have an idea for a program and you’d like our support, click the button bellow to apply to be come a sponsored program.


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Breaking News! WomenSV becomes a tax exempt 501 c 3 public charity!

Joe Eyre, Executive Director, LACF, 2017 Summer Solstice Celebration Remarks

In 1991 a local attorney, Jim Reynolds had a problem; he could not respond to clients’ desires to remember the community in their estate plans.  They wanted to give back to the community that had given them and their families such a wonderful experience, but there was no vehicle for doing that.

He brought a number of local citizens together (Roy Lave, Dave Reeder) and from that they decided to create a community foundation, what has become Los Altos Community Foundation.

I bring this up this story because this principal — giving back to the community to make it better now and for the long term — has guided the Foundation for over 25 year and still does today.  
That is why we exist, to change our world, our community, so it is more caring and generous, engaged and effective, and visionary, looking at today’s needs as well the needs and desires of our children and generations beyond them.

LACF in the only local organization that works full time to pursue this vision in Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, and Mountain View.  That is why I joined the Foundation 4 ½ years ago and am grateful to be in this role.
How do we work toward this vision?  Very simply, our job is to inspire community members to do the philanthropy that inspires them. Our hypothesis is that the more community members we inspire to be philanthropic, the better our community will be and become.

Our donors enable the Foundation to do our work every day, all year round for our communities.  By donating to LACF donors are pooling their resources to accomplish more than any one person can do alone.  LACF provides philanthropic leverage. 

Our Donor Advised Fund owners are inspired to give back to the community with millions of dollars of grants over the years.

Local private foundations, such as Packard and Heising -Simons, which are operating globally, trust us to grant thousands of dollars every year to improve their hometown community.

Recently, LACF just completed a 2 year effort where we inspired 4 tech companies, Google, Synopsis, LinkedIn and Symantec, to collaborate and contribute to MV, their home town community.  The end result was that over a half million dollars of grant money went to 9 nonprofits to help MV, funds that might not have been contributed otherwise.  This program was called Inspire MV.
LACF works to Inspire community members to think beyond their lives and to future generations by giving a Legacy Gift to LACF’s Community Endowment.  LACF is building this endowment as a savings account to address future community needs.  None of us know what those needs will be, but what we do know is there will be issues that need to be addressed.

I’d like to thank our Legacy Circle members, those who have included us in their estate plans, and especially Marguerite Szekely, who recently left a significant estate gift to LACF.  She trusted LACF to be here for the community that she loved during her lifetime.
I’ve talked a lot about the importance of financial resources for the community.  The other side of philanthropy is time and talent, volunteering.

We’ve been a “Maker’s Space” for social entrepreneurs much longer than that term has been in vogue.

The foundation provides the framework and resources that enable hundreds of inspired volunteers to startup and run new programs to address community needs.

These programs span the gamut, ranging from bringing neighbors together to look out for each other to inspiring community leaders today and leaders for the future.

These programs enable these volunteers to do the philanthropy that brings them joy.

One last thing before I introduce two additional speakers.  When you depart tonight, you’ll receive a sumptuous cookie with a little envelope attached to it.  Enjoy the cookie, but don’t lose the envelope.  I believe all of you are community-minded and I hope that you’ll be inspired by LACF’s vision for a better community and support the Foundation’s work to achieve that.

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E3 Youth Philanthropy’s Sana Khader 2017 Summer Solstice Talk

Sana participated in LACF’s E3 Youth Philanthropy program for four years and will attend UC Berkeley this fall.
Sana participated in LACF’s E3 Youth Philanthropy program for four years and will attend UC Berkeley this fall.

Hello everyone. As you may or may not know, E3 is a youth program sponsored by LACF. We are a group of about 25 high schoolers, and each year, we receive a $10,000 grant from the Foundation to give to local nonprofits.

Throughout the year, we evaluate grants from various organizations and decide if and how much money they will receive. We also plan service projects and volunteer. It’s absolutely incredible that this type of experience is available to us as teenagers. The responsibility of distributing such a large amount of money has made me realize the value and impact of giving money away. We don’t have to wait to be adults to be philanthropists or to give away money or drive social change; we have that opportunity right here.

I entered E3 as a ninth-grader who didn’t know all that much about our community and the very real, very large problems that exist within it. But through my time at E3, I learned about my community and its issues, but more importantly, the motivated, dedicated people who were working toward solving those problems. I’ve had the privilege to learn from people working on the issues of hunger, poverty, the environment, literacy, mental health… the list goes on and on. E3 opened my eyes to a world of not just problems, but also solutions.

I remember we funded the Mountain View Police Officers’ Association for their Cops and Gobblers event, where the community comes together to package baskets of food and toys for families who can’t provide a Thanksgiving meal to their family. I was at first shocked to hear about how big an issue hunger is in my hometown, but also so in awe of the police officers who took it upon themselves to start this event.

E3 not only shows us how people can improve their communities, but also encourages us to do the same. Each year, we split up into groups and plan service projects. My group decided to organize a beautification day at Castro Elementary School in Mountain View. The whole process included delegating roles, working with school administration, scoping out the campus beforehand, collecting supplies and finally leading the event itself. It was one of my best experiences in all of high school. I learned how to organize an event like that, but more importantly, I learned how fun it can be when you really care about what you’re doing. I really cared about cleaning up Castro and planting in the garden and just making it a better place for students to learn and grow, and that’s why I enjoyed organizing the event.
And that’s what I’ve taken away from E3. After years of talking to nonprofit founders and volunteering at various events, it’s obvious that the people in charge truly care about what they’re doing, and that’s what affects change. E3 has taught me that I can and should devote my energy to working towards causes that I care about, because I really can make a difference. I am so thankful to the Foundation for this experience, and I am just happy to know that the program will continue to influence other students like me in the future. 

Thank you to El Camino Hospital, Lead Solstice Sponsor

El Camino Hospital Logo



When you choose El Camino Hospital for your care, you can count on:

We still have openings for our other sponsor levels for the 2017 Summer Solstice Party.


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