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.

 

Regards,

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

 

Because of your valued support, Los Altos Community Foundation has many exciting community accomplishments to report for the past six months

Strengthening our Nonprofit Community through Grantmaking:

  • LACF and its funds have given 385 grants and scholarships totaling $1.29M since July 1st.  More than half of this amount has gone to nonprofits and students in our three communities: Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, and Mountain View.
  • LACF’s Community Grants committee just finished its third round of annual grantmaking, giving a total of $211,698 to 42 local nonprofits and initiatives.  Grants were made to a number of nonprofits addressing new needs in our community in addition to grants helping organizations grow their impact.  For example, Westwind 4-H Riding for the Handicapped in Los Altos Hills has been expanding its services and LACF’s grant helped cover its professional instructor.
  • LACF’s E3 Youth Philanthropy program granted $10,000 to six local youth organizations.  Although the grants are relatively small, the process had great impact on the E3 program. “I now see my community differently.  It is often difficult to say that one cause matters more than another, but E3 has helped me to do so by distilling down our core values.”  Amand Koong, E3 participant
  • LACF works to address all needs in the community, giving grants in Arts & Culture, Community Building, Health & Safety, Seniors, Vulnerable populations, and Youth & Education.

 

Developing and Recognizing Community Leaders:

  • LACF’s Leadership Education Advancement Program (LEAD), led by Claudia Coleman, is wrapping up its 21st year. LEAD added 22 graduates to its over 350 alumni members, many have taken leadership roles in the community. Claudia was recognized earlier this year by the Town Crier as Los Altan of the year, partially for her commitment to LEAD.
  • LACF’s Block Action Team program now covers over 12% of Los Altos households, providing the tools for those who want to look out for their neighbors, prepare for disasters, and prevent crime.
  • LACF’s programs enable over 300 local community members to lead and/or volunteer to make our community a better place.

 

Improving the Quality of Life in Our Community:

  • LACF’s Center for Age Friendly Excellence (CAFE), led by Anabel Pelham, is charging forward on its Senior Inclusion and Participation Project (SIPP). SIPP identifies isolated seniors who are at risk and need services, such as in-home care and health services.
  • LACF’s Los Altos Dispute Resolution Service, LADRS, is hosting a free skills-building program on April 22nd to help residents better understand and resolve conflict.
  • Soil & Water, a program incubated by LACF, recently secured a garden spot from the City of Mountain View.  They are now planting a community garden to teach people how to grow and eat healthy food.
  • Los Altos Forward hosted a city council candidate forum last October as well as many free “Community Conversations” on best practices for creating vibrant and well-planned communities.  And they continue to organize ‘First Fridays’ each month in downtown Los Altos.

Investing in the Next Generation:

  • More families and individuals – now 36 – have included the Foundation in their estate plans, committing to give back to our community forever through their planned gift.  We will recognize these far-sighted, generous individuals at our annual Legacy Circle Luncheon on May 9th.
  • Over 30% of our grants are awarded to organizations focused on youth and education.  Our Donor Advised Fund owners give generously for scholarships and youth causes. The E3 Youth Philanthropy program has fostered empathy and a commitment to community service in over 150 local high school students over the last 11 years.
  • LACF has facilitated a common scholarship application process for local service clubs, MVLA Scholars, and new this year, the Mountain View Chamber of Commerce.  2017 was their most successful cycle yet:  125 applicants, of which 66 students received scholarships totaling over $200,000.  We are very pleased that this collaboration has made it easier for these local organizations to reach more deserving students.

 

Fostering Innovative Philanthropy:

  • LACF is managing Inspire Mountain View, a new challenge grant program for awarding big ideas to make the community more equitable, compassionate, and a better place to work and play.  Google, Linkedin, Symantec, and Synopsys collaboratively funded this program to improve their “hometown”. Public voting is now underway to decide which programs will receive grants of $25K, $50K, and $100K.  If you live, work, volunteer, and/or are involved in Mountain View in some way, vote before April 21st. “CSA being chosen as one of the nominees for the Inspire MV grants is the talk of the office today.  We are all so excited! Thanks to the selection committee.”  Tom Myers, Community Services Agency
  • Two years ago LACF granted to the MVLA Challenge Team to help expand its Summer Learning program for students falling behind. Last summer, this effort led to full program enrollment.  This summer, the program has taken it up a notch, bringing organizations together to combine morning classes with afternoon activity camps.
  • LACF is working with the Los Altos School District to identify local housing units for new teachers to rent so they may live in the community they serve.
  • LACF offered community members insight into the innovative corporate philanthropy that is helping our communities from Justin Steele of Google.org, who spoke at the 25th annual LACF Brunch last October.

 

Thanks for your generous support.  You have made these accomplishments possible!

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.

Joe Eyre

Executive Director, Los Altos Community Foundation

Stock donations can ease your tax burden

The stock market is near all-time highs. An effective way to maximize your contribution to LACF and save tax money is through stock donations.

Los Altos Community Foundation accepts stock donations for its Community Impact Fund as well as for any of its programs and funds.

But what if you have more appreciated stock to sell than you’d like to donate right now?

A simple solution is to set up an LACF Donor Advised Fund. Contribute stock (or other appreciated assets) to get an immediate tax deduction, and then grant from the fund to nonprofits anywhere in the U.S. for years.

With a Donor Advised Fund, you can de-couple your philanthropy from the whims of the stock market.

For example, if your annual donation budget for all nonprofits is roughly $5,000 per year, you could open a Donor Advised Fund, contribute $25,000 of appreciated stock, and then grant $5,000 annually to the nonprofits of your choice.

Benefits of Donating Stock – Example
(Note: The above is only an example.  Please consult your tax advisor for your situation.)
A Donor Advised Fund has many of the advantages of a private foundation without the legal and reporting requirements. LACF takes care of all of that.

Donor Advised Funds now outnumber family foundations by nearly three to one, in part due to their convenience and simplicity.
 
Other advantages of a Donor Advised Fund:

  • LACF offers an online portal so you can see a complete record of your grants from your Fund anytime.  (Have you ever tried to figure out how much you donated to a nonprofit last year?)
  • Many nonprofits cannot accept gifts of stock.  You can make one stock donation to your LACF DAF and then grant to other nonprofits from it.
  • A DAF is a great way to teach your children about giving. For example, during the holiday season, one LACF DAF owner offers his children the opportunity to each select a nonprofit they’d like to support from his fund.
  • And finally, investment firms such as Vanguard, Schwab, and Fidelity cannot offer advice on local grant opportunities. LACF knows the needs of the Los Altos/Mountain View communities, helping your grants have the maximum local impact.

 
If you would like to open a Donor Advised Fund at LACF or learn more about them, I’d love to talk with you. 

Give me a call or send me an email.  You can also download the DAF form.

Joe Eyre, LACF Executive Director

Empoder helps girls code their future

Thirty-two low-income, primarily Latina, middle school girls are immersing themselves in code during Empoder’s 4-week summer program.

Empoder CEO and Founder, Marissa Ynez, said the girls learn to program through fun, hands-on projects that are socially relevant. For example, one student created a program that taught immigrant parents how to use technology more effectively.

“If girls learn to code in middle school before they see themselves as ‘unable’, they can acquire the interest, skills, and confidence to take the high school classes required to be technology majors in college,” said Los Altos Hills resident Ynez, herself a Latina engineer.

One student, Paula, said the program is a radical change from her usual classes.

“Here we learn things like how math and numbers matter and how they apply to the real world,” she said. “It makes us realize engineering is actually fun.”

The teaching team of 16 volunteer high school students trained for 2 ½ weeks to engage middle school girls in STEM.

One volunteer, Nahe Sharma, an on-line high school student who recently moved to Silicon Valley from Brasil, said it’s amazing seeing these students learn material five grades above their current level.

“The girls are getting it and enjoying it!” Sharma said.

But the learning doesn’t stop there.

After the summer session, students are encouraged to participate in Empoder’s year-round programs aimed at giving them the skills they’ll need to succeed in STEM classes in high school and beyond.

Because of your support of Los Altos Community Foundation, Paula and 31 other girls have experienced firsthand the excitement of technology.  Together with Empoder, we’re helping to bridge the digital divide.

Thanks for your support of Los Altos Community Foundation and its Community Grants program.

ALearn a “Catalyst” low income students

This summer, 54 low-income middle school students from Mountain View Whisman School District dedicated 6 1/2 hours each day to catalyzing their math and study skills and preparing for college-prep classes at Los Altos and Mountain View High Schools, thanks to your generous support.

In addition to 4 hours of math, ALearn’s Catalyst to High School’s students spent 1 ½ hours preparing for the transition to high school and beyond by:

  • Learning study skills and note-taking techniques
  • Participating in career-path self-assessments
  • Visiting local universities
  • Preparing ‘college scrap boards’ to help them make college-readiness a reality

Credentialed teachers and teaching assistants, some former ‘Catalyst’ students, run the program.

Glenda Vargas, a third-year ALearn teaching assistant and Chapman University senior, had a blast in ‘Catalyst’ before starting at Los Altos High School.

“I wanted to get a flavor of what high school would be like and to become familiar with the materials,” Vargas said.

She did not have transportation to or from school, so she and a classmate rode the 6 a.m. bus every morning and returned in the afternoon, rewarding themselves with a Jack in the Box treat each day after class.

Another ‘Catalyst’ student said the program opened new worlds to her.

‘Catalyst’ student Ana Jiminez said the program helped her discover that math is exciting and isn’t just numbers and equations.

“Even though math wasn’t my favorite subject in school coming into ‘Catalyst’,” Jiminez said, “the program made me realize that math actually was my favorite subject.”

She said the teachers created an exciting learning environment.

“They were very helpful to every student and made the program fun…,” said Jiminez.

Thanks to your support, the Los Altos Community Foundation’s Community Grants program can continue to help inspire more students like Ana, Glenda and others who need an extra boost to succeed.

Empoder helps girls code their future

Thirty-two low-income, primarily Latina, middle school girls are immersing themselves in code during Empoder’s 4-week summer program.

Empoder CEO and Founder, Marissa Ynez, said the girls learn to program through fun, hands-on projects that are highly relevant socially. For example, one student created a program that taught immigrant parents how to use technology more effectively.

“If girls learn to code in middle school before they see themselves as ‘unable’, they can acquire the interest, skills, and confidence to take the high school classes required to be technology majors in college,” said Los Altos Hills resident Ynez, herself a Latina engineer.

One student, Paula, said the program is a radical change from her usual classes.

“Here we learn things like how math and numbers matter and how they apply to the real world,” she said. “It makes us realize engineering is actually fun.”

The teaching team of 16 volunteer high school computer science students have trained for 2 ½ weeks to engage middle school girls in STEM.

One volunteer, Nahe Sharma, an on-line high school student who recently moved to Silicon Valley from Brasil, said it’s amazing seeing these students learn material five grades above their current level.

“The girls are getting it and enjoying it!” Sharma said.

But the learning doesn’t stop there.

After the summer session, students are encouraged to participate in Empoder’s year-round programs aimed at giving them the skills they’ll need to succeed in STEM classes in high school and beyond.

 

Because of your support of Los Altos Community Foundation, Paula and 31 other girls have experienced firsthand the excitement of technology.  Together with Empoder, we’re helping to bridge the digital divide in our communities.

 

Thanks for your support of Los Altos Community Foundation and its Community Grants program.