Remembering Jim Thurber and Clyde Noel

Community Members Who Made a Difference

Remembering Jim Thurber and Clyde Noel

LACF would like to remember and honor former board members Jim Thurber and Clyde Noel who recently passed away.

By all accounts both men had illustrious, fulfilling careers - and served their country, Jim in the Foreign Service and Clyde in the Navy, before devoting themselves to volunteering in our community.

Both were incredible volunteers and contributors. Jim was mayor, served on several commissions and numerous nonprofit boards.  During his four terms on the LACF board, he was involved in several committees and helped with the refurbishment of the Community House. Despite his many leadership roles, Jim was a hands-on and down-to-earth person, as documented in many LACF photos, where he can be seen planting trees or wielding a paintbrush.

Clyde was a long-time member of Los Altos Rotary and was known for his photography, "Sidewalk Interviews," and financial columns in the Los Altos Town Crier. He served two terms on the LACF Board and assisted with style and flourish on the events committee.

When interviewed as the Town Crier's 2015 Los Altan of the Year, Clyde said: "that Los Altos has changed over the years for the better."

I agree with his statement and we thank Jim and Clyde for all they did for the Foundation and for our community.

I also speak for the entire Foundation when I say we'll miss them both.

Joe Eyre
Executive Director, Los Altos Community Foundation

Working Together to Close the Achievement Gap

One of LACF’s unique roles is to bring groups together to solve systemic issues facing youth in our community. LACF grants fuel collaboration between local nonprofits, school districts, and other community organizations to help close the achievement gap - and give all kids and teens the ability to thrive in our community.

The following is an example of how this approach provides at-risk youth access to summertime academic and social enrichment activities to help bring success to these students throughout the year.

A coalition of community nonprofits, school administrators, police officers, and health professionals, MVLA Challenge Team meets monthly to focus on the challenges faced by underserved, at-risk youth. At their June 2015 meeting, representatives from local nonprofit, ALearn, and local schools districts realized they shared a similar problem - many unfilled seats for their academic summer programs.

With just two weeks to go before summer, middle school and high school students who had fallen behind or were failing during the school year were not signed up to get the academic “boost” that they needed. Without support, how could they keep up with their peers and grade level standards when school re-convened in August?

The Challenge Team decided to address this issue and with the help of an LACF grant, the Summer Learning Initiative was launched.

Action items were identified including an earlier definition of summer classes, program and schedule coordination with local nonprofits, and better communication at each school to get the word out to English learner families.

These actions were successful – the following summer the districts and nonprofits reported that they had filled all their available seats, even adding more to meet the demand!

Excited with the results, SLI groups convened again to address an additional issue - parents reluctant to enroll their children in a morning summer school program because of no daycare in the afternoon.

The Challenge Team worked with local recreation and teen centers to provide students with transportation to fun athletic and social afternoon programs, keeping them safe and engaged throughout the day.

Through this ongoing collaboration with LACF, local schools, and nonprofits, the Summer Learning Initiative continues to grow in scope and purpose. Thanks to your support, we are working together to close the achievement gap for underserved youth and giving them a better today – and tomorrow!

About Summer Learning Initiative

"I had a great summer school experience. Now that I am in high schooI I use all the strategies I learned to be successful. I'll always remember the fun times I had last summer." - Carlos, Summer Learning Initiative Student

"I had a great summer school experience. Now that I am in high schooI I use all the strategies I learned to be successful. I'll always remember the fun times I had last summer." - Carlos, Summer Learning Initiative Student

Community Foundations Make a Difference

What is a community foundation?

Recently there have been accusations of misconduct at Silicon Valley Community Foundation. In light of this recent news, you may be asking what a community foundation is and why are they important to our community?

Community foundations enable residents, private foundations, and businesses to strengthen the community through local philanthropy and civic engagement. They are the “people’s foundation”, offering community members the ability to set up funds, start programs, give grants, collaborate, and volunteer to address local needs and improve quality of life.

However, to be effective, community foundations must do more than offer a variety of services.  They must represent and reinforce the positive values of the communities they serve.

The Board and staff of Los Altos Community Foundation (LACF) are committed to our community and its values. The Foundation assists all community members in their work to improve the community. This dedication is the same as that seen at other local community-based foundations, such as those in Morgan Hill, Gilroy, Hollister, Santa Cruz, and Monterey.

Los Altos values compassion, generosity, innovation, and collaboration.  We also value trusting relationships and mutual respect, which facilitate effective action, community strength, and joy.

Many who move to our community tell me that they like the “small-town” feel and that residents are very engaged. This is not by accident or luck. Los Altos Community Foundation is one of the reasons for our unique community.

LACF’s services foster compassion and generosity.

Over the last quarter century, LACF and its donors have generously granted over $10 million to local nonprofits, school programs, and new initiatives. These range from parades and concerts to supporting organizations helping struggling populations.

Social innovation and collaboration lead to creative approaches for addressing new issues and opportunities.  LACF has incubated and funded dozens of new start-up nonprofits and initiatives, allowing people and groups to address local needs and/or simply make our community a better place to live for all. For example, Mentor Tutor Connection, Living Classroom, and WomenSV started as LACF programs.

Most importantly, a community such as ours is based on trusting relationships and mutual respect. LACF’s services enable open collaboration for better ideas, residents watching out for the youth and seniors in their neighborhood, and the willingness of community members to “roll up their sleeves” and help one another.

In light of everything going on at the regional, national, and global level, it is important for everyone to follow the compass of our local values. Our lives will be more rewarding. And our youth better grounded as they prepare to be the leaders of tomorrow.  Los Altos Community Foundation is committed to our community values and is here to help you live them.

This article by Joe Eyre, LACF Executive Director, originally appeared as an “Other Voices” opinion piece in the Los Altos Town Crier on May 9, 2018.


LACF Keeps Seniors Connected, Engaged and Healthy

One of LACF’s unique roles is to bring groups together to solve systemic issues in our community. LACF helps local groups quickly create programs and build a tight collaborative web of reciprocal support for the benefit of our seniors.

Through its grants, programs, and funds, LACF is able to test, evolve, and improve social entrepreneurship ideas – which often leads to unexpected new approaches and activities.

The following is a compelling example of how this approach is helping seniors in our community:

Center for Age-Friendly Excellence (CAFE), an LACF incubated program, launched the Senior Inclusion and Participation Project (SIPP), also under LACF, to help address senior isolation and loneliness issues. SIPP’s popular Digital Tech Workshops partner teen tech ambassadors with seniors to help them learn how to use today’s electronic devices – and empowers them to become more confident and connected in our digital world.

Collaborating with SIPP, LACF’s Block Action Team (BAT) leaders learn about the loneliness epidemic facing many seniors in our community and how to help them. BAT leaders receive the tools and resources to connect with seniors who are often unseen by the rest of the neighborhood to help keep them safe, engaged, and healthy.

Now in its third year, Club 55+ attracts over 100 seniors to its monthly community building summer social events. A project of LACF-sponsored Los Altos Forward, this “pop-up” nightclub evolved out of the ever-popular First Fridays in downtown Los Altos and offers fun – and unique – social opportunities for seniors.

Aligned with our mission of increasing local philanthropy and engagement, LACF’s programs also help the community get involved in helping our seniors. For example, Rotary Club of Los Altos helps sponsor and provide volunteers for Club 55+ events, cross-promotes SIPP’s Digital Tech Workshops, and works with its high school Interact program to recruit teens to serve as tech ambassadors at the event.

Working together, we create a great community in which to live, work, and play for our families and neighbors.

Planning to leave a gift to charity after you’re gone? Maybe not, without the proper documentation.

Many people donate planned gifts to charities as a way of establishing their legacy and making the world a better place for future generations.

There are many ways to leave a charitable planned gift. One common way is by naming a charity as a beneficiary of a retirement account, such as an IRA or 401k.

The tax benefits of doing this can be dramatic. When leaving an IRA, or portion of an IRA, to charity, the full value transfers to the charity. In contrast, if an IRA is left to a non-spouse beneficiary, such as a child or estate, income taxes can significantly reduce its net value.

But there is something to watch out for.

IRA plan administrators may not be legally required to notify IRA beneficiaries that you have passed away or that they are a beneficiary. Therefore, a charity named as a beneficiary of an IRA may never find this out. This could lead to the funds remaining with the plan administrator in the retirement account and eventually being handed over to the state’s “unclaimed property” division.

As the donor of a planned gift to a charity, you can prevent this situation by notifying your professional advisors of your current beneficiary designations and their contact information. Retirement beneficiary designations should be included with your estate planning documents. Also, be sure to notify beneficiaries, such as charities, ahead of time so that they’re aware that they may be the recipient of a planned gift.

By doing these simple steps now, you’ll ensure that your intentions will be honored and your favorite charities will benefit from your generosity. It also provides the opportunity for the charities to thank and recognize you while you are alive.

For more information, please visit LACF Planned Giving or contact Joe Eyre at

Los Altos Community Foundation Awards $84,500 in Grants to Local Nonprofits

Los Altos Community Foundation recently awarded $84,500 in its spring 2018 grants cycle to 18 local nonprofits and programs. These organizations address the needs and improve the quality of life for seniors, youth, and vulnerable populations in Los Altos, Los Altos Hills and Mountain View.

The grants support nonprofit programs such as Community Health Awareness Council’s (CHAC), development of increased cultural and racial literacy by its Clinical Supervisors and interns, Parents Helping Parents’ outreach and support services to families with special needs children. And Peninsula Symphony’s popular summer pops concert in downtown Los Altos.

“LACF’s community grants help local nonprofits more effectively address community needs,” said Joe Eyre, Executive Director. “We’re proud of how these grants enable the development of new programs for greater local impact.”

LACF’s Spring nonprofit grant recipients also include:

  • Adolescent Counseling Services to support its Outlet Program serving local lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning youth.
  • Family Engagement Institute to fund youth field work and intern opportunities in the FEI Child Development Academy and Stretch to Kindergarten programs.
  • Festival of Lights Parade Association for annual operating expenses associated with the Los Altos Festival of Lights Parade.
  • Grassroots Ecology to support local programs integrating nature education with hands-on actions to improve the ecosystem.
  • GreenTown Los Altos to support their Safe Routes to Schools program.
  • Hope’s Corner, Inc. for access and referrals to critical services that improve the lives of the homeless and vulnerable in our community.
  • Los Altos History Museum to support the upcoming bilingual, youth-produced exhibit, “Inspired by Juana: La Donna de la Frontera.”
  • Los Altos Stage Company for expanded Mainstage productions and youth and family education programs in 2018.
  • Los Altos Village Association for purchasing cost-effective, energy-saving LED lights in the trees lining Main and State Streets and parking plazas.
  • Next Door Solutions to Domestic Violence for comprehensive services addressing the needs of 75 domestic violence survivors from local communities.
  • Peninsula Bridge to support the Peninsula Bridge Mountain View Middle School Academy that closes the achievement gap for hundreds of underserved, yet high-achieving students each year.
  • Senior Inclusion and Participation Project (SIPP) for raising awareness of the senior loneliness and isolation epidemic and to reduce its impact on elders in our local community.


Stretch to Kindergarten participants enjoy a recent lesson.
Stretch to Kindergarten participants enjoy a recent lesson.

“Many thanks to LACF for its generous support of the Family Engagement Institute’s Development Academy and Stretch to Kindergarten programs,” Betsy Nikolchev, Executive Director, FEI said. “The Institute is a hallmark, award-winning equity program for Foothill College, and LACF’s support will provide opportunities for our local youth to gain experience and contribute to their community.”

For more information on LACF’s grant-making programs and processes, please visit:

LACF Grant Making 



2018 Gardner Awards Dinner A Great Success

Volunteers Honored for Going Above & Beyond!

Los Altos Community Foundation’s Gardner Awards is always an anticipated community event and this year’s celebration, Above & Beyond, was no exception. A sold-out crowd of 250 community leaders, volunteers, nonprofit and business leaders, gathered at the University Club in Palo Alto on March 21 to recognize 19 dedicated volunteers from local nonprofits who selflessly give their time and talent for the benefit of our community.

Master of Ceremonies, comedian and tech entrepreneur Sean O’Kane, led the festivities with both humor and genuine appreciation for each of the honorees who were then invited to the stage to receive awards and a handshake from Los Altos Community Foundation Executive Director, Joe Eyre – as well as enthusiastic applause.

Larissa Robideaux, Executive Director for Center of Excellence in Nonprofits, provided the inspiring keynote which touched on her father’s dedication to nonprofit service and why the service one gives is the legacy one leaves.

John W. Gardner said that “True happiness involves the full use of one’s power and talent,” and that certainly rings true when realizing the many contributions of these volunteers.

The following is a list of the 19 volunteer Gardner Awards honorees along with a few words of appreciation from the nonprofits they represent:

Joan MacDonald, Community Health Awareness Council (CHAC)
“A founding parent of CHAC, Joan is CHAC’s best ambassador, always promoting CHAC’s mental health services to children and families in our community.”

Midori Adams, Child Advocates of Silicon Valley
“Midori’s care, advocacy, and consistent attention to the needs of foster youth demonstrate her deep commitment to helping children and Child Advocates.”

Phil Rose, Community Services Agency (CSA)
“Phil’s commitment to CSA, the community, and people in need make him a deserving recipient of the Gardner Award.”

Kathie Franger, Day Worker Center of Mountain View
“Kathie exemplifies and inspires what is best in the human spirit. Her passion for social justice makes her an important player in all her work supporting the Day Worker Center.”

Phyllis Dorricott, El Camino Hospital Foundation
“Phyllis is a volunteer, leader, and donor par excellence! We are grateful for her dedication to El Camino Hospital and the health of our community.”

Michelle Galbraith, Festival of Lights Parade Association
“Michelle’s outstanding efforts have enabled the Festival of Lights parade to grow and continue to delight children and adults of our community.”

Sue Gale, Friends of Deer Hollow Farm
“Sue has transformed the Friends Board and fundraising, enabling the Farm to thrive and host more than 100,000 visitors a year.”

Natalie Kataoka, Grassroots Ecology
“Grassroots Ecology proudly honors Natalie for her extraordinary service to improve our natural world – and her inspiring dedication, integrity, and kindness as a Grassroots volunteer.”

Mike Hacker, Hope’s Corner
“Hope’s Corner is grateful to Mike for his volunteer and fundraising efforts. We honor him for his passion and dedication to our mission.”

Bob Kresek, Los Altos Community Foundation (LACF)
“LACF salutes Bob for his creative and innovative ideas that always place our donors and the community at the forefront of what we do.”

Jennifer Carlstrom, Los Altos Educational Foundation (LAEF)
“Jennifer’s service on the LAEF Board and passion for public education and student advocacy has contributed greatly to the goal of achieving educational excellence in our community.”

Eleanor Watanabe, Los Altos History Museum
“As the talented, creative, and future-oriented Co-President of the Los Altos History Museum Board, Eleanor pushes the museum to embrace new possibilities.”

Nancy Williams, Los Altos Stage Company
“Los Altos Stage Company thanks and salutes Nancy for her dedication to the arts, and for supporting live theater in our community.”

Bob Adams, Mentor Tutor Connection
“Mentor Tutor Connection salutes our co-founder and tireless volunteer, Bob, for his leadership, passion and energy in growing MTC to serve all 22 public schools in Los Altos and Mountain View.”

Sharon Barkoff, Music for Minors
“Music for Minors thanks Sharon for her insight, commitment, and inspiring leadership that helped spur MFM’s growth to now reach 25,000 children in schools throughout Silicon Valley.”

Judy Crates, MVLA Challenge Team
“MVLA Challenge Team honors Judy for her very active involvement in the issues that influence children and adults in our local community. We are grateful for her time, energy and passion.”

Rachel Botsford, MVLA Scholars
“MVLA Scholars is thrilled to honor Rachel for the incredible and unwavering support, advice, love, and encouragement that she has provided to her two Scholars. She has truly changed their lives.”

Doug Kundrat, Peninsula Youth Theatre
“Peninsula Youth Theatre thanks and honors Doug for his enthusiastic leadership in transforming our set building department and his ongoing support of PYT.”

Chuck Lindauer, Rotary Club of Los Altos
“Rotary Club of Los Altos is pleased to honor Chuck, the informational technology ‘go-to’ volunteer for the club and many community nonprofits. He exemplifies our club motto: ‘Service Above Self’.“

Announcing the LACF Legacy Circle Challenge!

Legacy Circle Trees Logo

Longtime community members Claudia and Bill Coleman have offered a generous Legacy Circle Challenge:

They will match each new legacy gift to LACF before June 30th with a $500 donation.

“We believe so strongly in the work LACF is doing that we offered this challenge to inspire others to join us in leaving a permanent legacy for our community.”  – Claudia and Bill Coleman

You can help LACF realize the Coleman ’s challenge and become of member of the Legacy Circle by including LACF in your estate plan.  (If you have already done this, please let us know!).

Save the Date:

If you have already included LACF in your estate plans, or are interested in doing this, please join community leaders at LACF’s annual Legacy Circle luncheon on May 4th.  More details coming soon.

For more information on LACF’s Legacy Circle please see: or contact Joe Eyre at

LACF Legacy Circle

contact Joe Eyre at