Community Grants helps challenged student “feel happy, calm and gentle” through Animal Assisted Happiness

oct 2015 Harry and Vanilla BeanHarry Henry is a student at MVHS. He is nonverbal but loves our monthly visits. He particularly loves Vanilla

Bean, Animal Assisted Happiness’ white bantam couchon chicken. Harry wrote a poem for us.


Vanilla Bean (the chicken) helps me feel happy.

Vanilla Bean helps me feel calm and gentle.

Vanilla Bean helps me feel careful and in control.

I see how happy the other animals make my classmates feel, too.

I’m glad Animal Assisted Happiness comes to my school.

The Community Grants program is happy to be helping people like Harry through grants to Animal Assisted Happiness and other organizations.

Community Engagement specialist Daniel Harris, Knight Foundation Program Director, to speak at Gardner Awards

DannyH_0031 copyLos Altos Community Foundation is excited to announce that Daniel Harris, Knight Foundation program director, will be our featured speaker at the 2016 Gardner Awards dinner.

Prior to joining Knight, Daniel was a principal of StorySocial, a creative design studio in Washington, D.C. In that role, he helped businesses, cities, foundations and brands more effectively collect and share their stories online and in person to build stronger communities.

He is also co-founder of Feastly, a venture capital-backed online marketplace that allows cooks to turn their homes into restaurants and promotes community connections at the dinner table. Previously, he was the chief storytelling officer for People’s District, an online oral history project launched in Washington, D.C., that collected and shared a profile of one city resident a day.

Harris earned a Bachelor of Arts from Connecticut College and a Master’s in Public Administration from Princeton University. His work has been featured in, among others, Fast Company, The New York Times, NPR, TIME, The Wall Street Journal and Wired. The Washington Post called him a “modern-day Studs Terkel.”

Harris has delivered presentations around the world and is a regular speaker on topics such as storytelling, community building and creative placemaking. He was chosen as a National Arts Strategies Creative Community Fellow and is an award-winning DJ and photographer.


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Heart to Heart Teens do great things with their LACF Community Grant.

This really brings home how powerful the Community Grants program can be.

Dear Joe,

We thank you so much for the opportunity to provide “Parent Projects” classes and programs in our local community through the  Heart2Heart Teens a Community Grant of $1,500 LACF provided.
We had an amazing turn-out and wonderful completion.  Parents and families were positively impacted through three classes offered in our community this last semester.
Here is a picture of just some of the families in Mountain View.
In addition, just recently, the 49ers recognized us with their Unity Award for “Keeping Families United” through this program.
Again, thank you for helping us make this program successful.
Heart2Heart is interested in submitting a proposal for this grant if offered again.
Can you please point us in the right direction for this?
Thank you again ans we are grateful.
Best Regards,
Aimee M. Lopez

What is TACO

‘TACO’, the Terrible Adult Chamber Orchestra, is a group of people of all skill levels who like to play music for the joy of making music together.

Founded and directed by Los Altos resident Cathy Humphers-Smith, a former director of Music for Minors in Santa Clara and San Mateo counties, TACO began as a weekly gathering of musical friends in her living room. When the group grew to over 20 musicians, it became a non-profit under the umbrella of the Los Altos Community Foundation and moved to rented classroom space at Hillview Center.

As TACO continued to flourish it became an official class offered by the Los Altos Park and Recreation Department, which enabling them to meet at the larger Los Altos Youth Center.

Now one Sunday each month, 75 musicians ranging in age from teens to 80s converge to make music.

Creating this monthly sight-reading orchestra gave local musicians a place to keep their music alive, without the intense weekly commitment and stressful auditions sometimes required by other orchestras.

As one TACO participant said, “I love the music this month and I’ve been practicing, though some pieces are too fast for me. But I know I will have fun no matter what happens to my ability to hit the notes”.

Ms. Humphers-Smith, a pianist and choral conductor, said she “…always fantasized about an all-inclusive orchestra, one that welcomed people of all levels, where everyone helped each other to improve, without the insistence on perfection and without attitude.”

Los Altos Community Foundation is proud to support TACO through our non-profit fiscal sponsorship program and through our Community Grants program.





Starting our 25th Year with Frozen and Cakes

A Gaggle of Elsas


It was a beautiful Friday night in Los Altos to view Frozen on the big screen.

So, we decided to help celebrate by bring cake. We invited all the Elsas up to blow out the candles.

Thanks for all of your support of LACF in the past and going forward.



LACF’s Community Impact Update July 2014 – June 2015

Los Altos Community Foundation just completed its fiscal year on June 30th. Annette Graff and Ruth Patrick at 2015 Gardner awardsWe’re proud of the Foundation’s accomplishments and its local impact, thanks to the contributions of our many generous donors. Following is a brief impact summary of the LACF programs and grants enhanced our community over the last year.

 LACF: Making a Difference in our Community

Our programs and grants address the needs of our youth, seniors, women and vulnerable populations within our community:

  • E3 Youth Philanthropy Program engaging local high school students in philanthropy
  • MVLA Scholars providing college scholarships to local high school students
  • Community Services Agency in support of their Senior Fall Prevention Project
  • Day Worker Center kitchen upgrade to bring up to commercial code
  • Mentor-Tutor Connection providing tutoring and mentoring at elementary and high schools
  • Westwind 4-H Handicapped Riding Program
  • Animal Assisted Happiness to assist special needs children in LA/LAH
  • Center for Age Friendly Excellence (CAFE) advocates for senior friendly communities
  • Child Advocates of SV for Court Appointed Special Advocates for foster children
  • Community Health Awareness Council for their Teen Talk Program
  • Family & Children Services programs benefiting youth and young adults
  • SV Faces enabling local high school students to attend diversity-awareness camp
  • Heart2Heart Teens helping high school students graduate and become leaders
  • Krause Center of Innovation supporting their Merit program at local schools
  • JustREAD and JustMATH in-school tutoring programs at MVLA middle and high schools
  • Bullis Boosters Camp for under-served 2nd-4th graders
  • Mountain View Police Activities League to help fund mentoring program
  • KLD (Kick, Lead, Dream) Summer Soccer Camp for at-risk students
  • Family Engagement Institute for tuition-free summer school kindergarten-readiness program
  • Friends of Deer Hollow supporting environmental education programs for our children
  • RotaCare (El Camino Hospital) for gynecological services for the uninsured
  • CarbDM for the Annual Bay Area Diabetes Summit
  • WOMEN/SV supporting victims of domestic violence in our community

Joe Eyre and Dennis Young (LACF honoree)

LACF supported community building programs, events, and organizations:
  • Los Altos Block Actions Teams (BATs) connecting neighbors and preparing for disasters
  • Leadership Education Advancement Program (LEAD) developing future community leaders
  • Los Altos Dispute Resolution Service (LADRS) helping neighbors resolve disputes
  • Annual John W. Gardner Awards recognizing exceptional volunteerism our local non-profits
  • Morning Forum of Los Altos supporting distinguished speakers series in our community
  • Community School of Music and Arts to support the free Community Concert Series
  • City of Los Altos Summer Concert Series
  • Los Altos Stage Company community theater
  • Ye Olde Towne Band free community concerts
  • Festival of Light Parade float refurbishment and sponsorship
  • Los Altos History Museum funding for the “Silicon Valley: The Lure & the Legends” exhibit
  • Los Altos Forward sponsoring City Council Candidates’ Forum and Community Conversations
  • Los Altos Forward building downtown vibrancy with First Fridays
  • Los Altos Village Association for the sponsorship of Los Altos Movie Nights
  • Glorious Fourth of July Community Picnic
  • GreenTown to make Los Altos more environmentally healthy and vibrant
  • Neutra House preserved historic building and offering a beautiful non-profit meeting center
  • Peninsula Symphony for the Summer Pops Concert in downtown Los Altos


Your support of the Los Altos Community Foundation makes our community a better and more desirable place to live, work and play. If you have any questions or suggestions on how LACF could better serve the community, please feel free to call or email me at any time.

Thank you for your support,
Joe Eyre
Executive DirectorZoey at Glorious 4th 2015
650 949-5908

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2015 MVLA Scholars


This year 29 seniors from Los Altos and Mountain View High Schools received multi-year renewable scholarships ranging from $1,500 to $5,000/year, and a personal collegementor, from MVLA Scholars.

“We wanted high achieving, low income, first-generation-to-college applicants, and we received a huge response! Of the 70 qualified applicants, 29 received scholarships – morescholarships awarded than ever before, thanks to the generosity of last years’ donors,”saif Dee Gibson, Co- chair of MVLA Scholars.

“This group of students was incredibly impressive and accomplished”, adds JanetTornow, also Co-Chair of MVLA Scholars, “They all have powerful life stories and a proven resiliency. I am in awe of their ability to overcome even profound obstacles. Many have worked 20, 30 + hours a week to help their families, maintained high (over 3.5) GPAs, and still participated in sports, theater, church, and community service.”

Meet the new stars of the program: Jose Amaya, Genesis Arreola, Jocelyne Marin-Melo, (UC Merced), Lawrence Antiporda (Cal Poly San Luis Obispo),

Alejandro Chavez, Jorge Farias, (CSU Chico), Sharon Wachuka (Cal Poly Pomona), Anamaria Gomez, Victor Macias, Edgar Sanchez Lopez (San Jose State University), Katherine Hamilton, Alexa Lopez (University of California Santa Barbara), Liliana Maldonado, Jose Morales, Vanessa Villavicencio (Sonoma State University), Blanca Casillas, Alexandra Zaragoza-Chavez (San Francisco State University, Elaine Jennings (CSU Long Beach), Perla Luna, Maria G. Munoz Yepez (Santa Clara University), Asaysha Session (CSU East Bay), Edgar Tapia, Jhosseline Guardado (UC Davis), Rita Alejandra Villanueva (UC Berkeley), Michael Viray (UC Santa Cruz),Akemi Yoshida (CSU Sacramento State), Mirella Acevedo Perez, Lesleiy Sandoval, Jamaila Padaong (Foothill, De Anza Colleges). Students hope to enter careers in engineering, nursing, law, teaching and journalism.

MVLA Scholars is a program of Los Altos Community Foundation, a 501(c)3. Visit our website to learn more about our programs.

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 at

Welcome Christina

photo (8)Christina Rudolph has joined LACF as its new Executive Assistant / Office Manager.

She will be working full time and responsible for:

  • Managing incoming and outgoing correspondence, including email newsletters
  • Taking care of incoming donations  and managing our donor database
  • Supporting our grant making activities
  • Event and volunteer coordination
  • Scheduling and office management
Christina has worked part time for the last several years as a project manager for local firms providing custom design and stationery products.  Before that she did marketing communications and customer relations for firms such as SGI and Pete’s Brewing (remember Pete’s Wicked Ale?  She was involved with the IPO of Pete’s Brewing).
Christina grew up in the area and has lived in Los Altos for 16 years with her husband Colin.  They have two girls, in 5th and 7th grades.
She’ll be sitting at the front desk, so stop by and say hi.