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.

Los Altos city council wants your input on next city manager

The Los Altos City Council has enlisted the executive recruitment services of Bob Murray & Associates to lead the search for a permanent City Manager. As part of the recruitment process, City Council is seeking input from the public.

The City Council has created an online survey in order to gather feedback from residents, businesses, and other community stakeholders about the background and leadership qualities they value most in their next City Manager. The public is encouraged to visit the online survey to share their thoughts via a series of open-ended questions that range from what community issues are most important to respondents to how they would like to see their City Manager interact with the community.

“This survey was designed to help both the City Council and recruiter understand the characteristics community members value most in their civic leader,” says Los Altos Mayor, Jeannie Bruins. “The Council is confident Bob Murray & Associates will bring forward candidates who are committed to keeping the momentum in Los Altos moving forward.”

Those interested in providing feedback to Council regarding the recruitment are encouraged to complete the survey by Friday, July 1, 2016.

Following the resignation of former City Manager Marcia Somers in April, the City Council appointed Chris Jordan of West Linn Oregon as Interim City Manager. Jordan’s first day was April 27; his contract with the City of Los Altos runs through September 30, 2016 or until a permanent City Manager is selected.

For more information, contact Jon Maginot, City Clerk/Assistant to the City Manager at (650) 947-2720 or

70 percent of affluent families lose control of their assets after inheritence


luminaraia nightMany families struggle with inter-generational miscommunication about family wealth leading to hard feelings and loss of trust. Our Donor Advised Fund owners can bring their children into their funds as philanthropic advisers. This can help avoid many of the pitfalls associated with inheritance by opening the lines of communication as mentioned in this article from as paraphrased below.

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In the United States alone, it’s estimated that more than $40 trillion will transfer from baby boomers to the rising generations. In addition, the ownership of thousands of family businesses will transfer to younger family members.

Most families aspire to preserve wealth, values and legacy over the generations. Research demonstrates that a number of factors influence a family’s ability to reach that goal.

Almost always near the top of the list is a family’s shared commitment to community, service and philanthropy.

Preparing Heirs

The authors of a major study focused on 2,500 affluent families discovered that, over 20 years, 70 percent of those families lost control of their assets (and family harmony) in the first, second or third generations following wealth transfer. Sixty percent of the time, those failures were due to a lack of trust and poor communication.

“Where heirs were encouraged and intelligently guided to participate in family philanthropy,” said the authors, “it had a profound impact in three major areas of their development and preparation for later life. The three major areas were values, mission and accountability.”

Best Practices

Dennis Jaffe, a professor of organizational systems and psychology at Saybrook University and a family business consultant, one of the authors of a related study, observed in a later paper, that:

  • Jaffe said the loss of assets arises from the behavior of the older generations’ lack of engagement with the next generation, not necessarily from the motivation of the next generation.
  • Often the next generation perceives that it is hard to contribute since they cannot use traditional methods.
  • Parents should find ways to invite their children to become meaningful partners as they transition from controlling owners to mentors.
  • Parents should listen to their children who may have different approaches to maintaining family wealth.



Philanthropy is an effective way to engage all family members in a conversation where they can share, teach, learn, value, change and consistently grow family wealth and giving.

Contact us if you’d like to set up a donor advised fund and open the lines of financial communication in your family.

CAFE founder to be featured guest speaker at local conference on seniors

The East Bay Foundation on Aging (EBFA) cordially invites you to join us in celebrating our seventh year and over $2.5 million in grants to improving the lives of vulnerable seniors in Oakland.

On June 3, 2016, we will feature guest speaker, Anabel Pelham, Ph.D., who will be speaking on age-friendly communities.

anabelDr. Pelham is president of the National Association of Professional Gerontologists and professor and founding director of the Gerontology Program at San Francisco State University. Dr. Pelham is Founding Director of the Center for Age-Friendly Excellence, a project of the Los Altos Community Foundation and a member of the Foundation’s Board of Directors. Her expertise is in global issues in aging and gerontology.



Date and Time:
Friday, June 3, 2016
10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The San Francisco Foundation
One Embarcadero Center, Suite 1400
San Francisco, California 94111

Event Program:
10:15 a.m. – Registration
10:30 a.m. – Networking and light refreshments
11:00 a.m. Program starts – Welcome by Board Chair, Micheal Pope
11:15 a.m. – Grantee presentation by Lavender Seniors
11:30 a.m. – Guest Speaker, Dr. Anabel Pelham, on age-friendly communities
12:00 p.m. – Q&A with Dr. Anabel Pelham
12:30 p.m. – Lunch and networking

Please RSVP by May 27, 2016

For questions, contact Barbara Jwanouskos, Program Assistant.

CAFE is a launched project of the Los Altos Community Foundation

First Community Grants of 2016 Awarded

LACF’s Community Grants program recently granted over $85,000 to 21 local nonprofits serving our communities.   The Community Grants program helps fund new and emerging philanthropic activities as well as providing operational grants to established local organizations.

Since 1991, the Foundation’s Community Grants program has provided over $1.3 million to local nonprofits.  LACF manages re-granting programs for the David and Lucile Packard and Heising-Simons Foundations.

DAF Owners boost LACF’s granting power

We received far more funding requests than we could possibly meet. But thanks to two of LACF’s Donor Advised Fund (DAF) owners, some of that funding gap was filled.

When DAF owners step forward, they can really boost LACF’s grant-making power to the benefit of the local community.  And DAF owners can feel comfortable knowing their support is going to organizations vetted by LACF.

LACF manages re-granting programs for the David and Lucile Packard and Heising-Simons Foundations.

Here are a few of our recent grants, supporting a variety of organizations serving various needs – from youth & education, to the environment, to arts & culture:


Assistance League of Los Altosnewborn 1

To provide basic necessities to needy families who are expecting or have newborns in Northern Santa Clara County





To fund Mountain View Whisman School District’s first unified environmental education and community service initiative, delivering urban greening through school campus tree plantings.




KLD water day - croppedKick, Lead & Dream (KLD) Soccer Camp

To fund t-shirts, transportation, equipment and facilities rentals for this teen-run soccer camp serving low-income children in Mountain View, Los Altos and Sunnyvale.



Living Classroom Compost Lesson--3rd gradeLiving Classroom

To update Living Classroom garden-based lessons to meet new science and common core standards.  This is required to continue teaching Living Classroom lessons in the Mountain View and Los Altos public schools.




Theater Works 1TheaterWorks

To support TheaterWorks for Schools programs in the Los Altos, Los Altos Hills and Mountain View area.







2016 Annual Legacy Circle Luncheon, May 10th

LACF is hosting its annual lunch for Legacy Circle members on May 10th.  If you have already included LACF in your estate plans, or intend to do so, please let us know by May 1st.  You may return the Legacy Circle Membership Confirmation form or just give us a call at 650-949-5908.

Would you consider giving a gift that benefits the community forever, but costs you nothing?   This is a Legacy Gift to LACF.  Your Legacy Gift will seed LACF’s Community Endowment fund.

Why a Community Endowment fund?
Silicon Valley has been doing well, but our economy may not be steady forever.  Don’t you want to know that LACF and its programs will continue to flourish during tough times?  A Community Endowment fund will help LACF strengthen our valued local educational, cultural, and community-service organizations through any economic cycle.

Why now?
The time to build a Community Endowment fund is when times are good.  Leaving a Legacy Gift today ensures that our Community Endowment fund will there for support in the years ahead.

How to easily leave a Legacy Gift?
Leaving a Legacy Gift can be as simple as naming LACF as a beneficiary of your retirement funds, such as an IRA, 401k or 403b, or life insurance policy.  This can also ease the potential tax burden on your loved ones.


Reminder!  If you’d like to join the Circle, you may return the Legacy Circle Membership Confirmation form or just give us a call at 650-949-5908.

A special thank you to our sponsors:

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