The idea for a community foundation occurred in two community members minds in two different decades.
In 1975 or so, the Art Deco theater on Main Street closed its doors. In response, a committee was formed to collect funds to consider the preservation of the theater. Some funds were collected, but the committee abandoned their work for undisclosed reasons and failed to notify donors or the community that they were terminating their work. The community only became aware of the theater’s troubles with the public proposal to convert the building into retail and office spaces. Among some folks active in the community at the time, the fumbled affair suggested the need for a community fund. A fund that would give the community options when faced with similar opportunities for preservation in the future.
In the early 1990’s, local attorney James Reynolds noted that his estate planning clients were asking for ways to “give back to the community.” They were seeking a giving vehicle over which they had some control. He decided the Los Altos community would benefit from a local community foundation and called together a group of active citizens to propose creating 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. The name was changed in 1995 to the Los Altos Community Foundation (LACF) because the use of “tomorrow” was not descriptive enough of the organization, as it was used in many community endeavors.
Jim has since moved to a Southern California desert community, but members of his original group are still active in the Foundation. He created a lasting legacy for the community and has provided the opportunity for anyone to create their own philanthropic legacy through the Foundation.
The Los Altos Community Foundation is thriving today, celebrating over 25 years of community engagement.