LACF strengthens the community by stimulating local philanthropy and civic engagement in Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, and Mountain View.
Around 1975 the Art Deco Theater on Main Street closed its doors. In response, a committee came together and collected funds to preserve it. Some funds were collected but the committee abandoned their work for never-disclosed reasons, and failed to notify donors or the community that they were terminating their work. It was only when the property owners publicly disclosed their plans for converting the theater building to retail and office spaces did the community become aware of the whole situation.
By that time it was too late to preserve the theater and to some community members, the fumbled affair suggested the need for a fund and organization that would enable the community to react to preservation opportunities such as this in the future.
Fast forward to the early 1990′s when local attorney James Reynolds noted that his estate planning clients were asking for ways to “give back to the community.” His clients were seeking a vehicle for giving, but one over which they had some control. He knew of community foundations in other cities and thought Los Altos would benefit from having one.
He called together a group of active citizens to propose the formation of a foundation.
The organizing committee for Los Altos Tomorrow began meeting in late 1990, and the first “board designate” meeting occurred in February 1991. That board consisted of twenty-four community members representing fourteen families. Thirteen of those families became Board members of the California Corporation when it was chartered in August 1991. In 1995 Los Altos Tomorrow was rechristened Los Altos Community Foundation (LACF) to, more accurately, describe the organization and its focus. The word “tomorrow” in the older title was not descriptive enough as it was used in many communities for many different types of endeavors.
The Los Altos Community Foundation is thriving today, celebrating over 22 years of community engagement.
The Community House
Built in the early 1920′s, the Community House was originally located on the property at the corner of W. Edith Avenue and San Antonio Road, near the DeMartini Fruit Orchard Stand, and was the original home on the property when it was a working orchard.
In 1997, the home was being used as a sales office for the Parc Regent development, just south of the fruit stand. The home was offered to the City of Los Altos by the developer and the Los Altos Community Foundation asked the City of accept the gift on their behalf and raised funds to move and renovate the 1920′s style cottage. The house was moved to its present location at 183 Hillview Avenue. Community volunteers planned and planted the landscaping and continue to maintain the property today.
The home, named the Community House, now provides offices for the Los Altos Community Foundation and meeting, storage and workspace for other local nonprofit organizations.