[dropcap2]T[/dropcap2]he idea for an organization like 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 never- publicly-disclosed reasons, and failed to notify donors or the community that they were terminating their work. Most of the community became aware of the plight of the theater with the proposal to convert the theater building to retail and offices only when it was made public. By that time, it was too late for the community to consider preservation. Among some folks active in the community at the time, the fumbled affair suggested the need for a community 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 vehicle for giving, but one over which they had some control. He knew of community foundations, thought the Los Altos community would benefit from having one, and called together a group of active citizens to propose the formation of a foundation.

[dropcap2]T[/dropcap2]he 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 communities for many types of 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, as he intended, has provided the opportunity for any community member to create their own philanthropic legacy through the Foundation.

The Los Altos Community Foundation is thriving today, celebrating over 22 years of community engagement.