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 a LACF grant, the Summer Learning Initiative was launched.

Action items were identified including 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 day care 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

2017 Community Roundtable Scholarship Now Live

We’re pleased to announce that the common scholarship application is now live.

This scholarship application is sponsored by the Mountain View / Los Altos Roundtable. You can use this single application to apply for scholarships from these organizations. Each organizations has different criteria for applicants, as you’ll see in the application.

Participating Organizations:
• Rotary Club of Los Altos
• Rotary Club of Mountain View
• Kiwanis Club of Mountain View
• MVLA Scholars (a program of the Los Altos Community Foundation)
• Quota International Club of Mountain View/Los Altos
• Mountain View Chamber of Commerce Education Foundation

To apply for any of these scholarships you must attend one of the following schools:
• MVLA High School District (including MVLA Adult Ed)
• Pinewood High School
• St. Francis High School
• Foothill Community College (if you plan to continue your education at an accredited post-secondary school or college)
• Mountain View Academy
• German International School

Financial need is considered but not a requirement for the scholarships.

Read more about LACF on our Blog

GivingTuesday Los Altos

Everyone has a desire to make a difference in the world. 

One fun way to contribute is through #GivingTuesday, a global day dedicated to giving back.

On Tuesday, December 2, 2014, charities, families, businesses, and students around the world will come together for one common purpose:  to celebrate generosity and to give.

A way to do that is through “community philanthropy”, the giving of donations to strengthen our local community and address its needs.

LACF is uniquely positioned to direct contributions to the most pressing needs in our community.

Donate Now!
Become #unselfie – Give on #GivingTuesday!

Los Altos PARK(ing) Day 2014

The Basics:
What: Downtown Los Altos PARK(ing) Day 2014!
When: Friday Sept 19th 8am – 7pm
Where: 265-271 State Street, outside Linden Tree Books and Earth Beauty Apothecary (note this is a different location than 2012 & 2013!)
Why: To create free public gathering space in downtown Los Altos
Who: Everyone is invited! Passerelle Investment Company is hosting this event with the City’s permission. For more info please visit:
Short description:
Come check out this free public one-day pop-up park in downtown Los Altos, outside Linden Tree Books and Earth Beauty Apothecary on State Street! The third annual of its kind in downtown, it’s open 7am-7pm and features turf, seating, chalk & magnet art walls, and plants from Los Altos Nursery.
Long description:
Come down to State Street this Friday September 19th for downtown Los Altos’ third annual PARK(ing) Day celebration! This year we will set up our seating, turf, chalk/magnet art planter walls plus shade umbrellas on two parking spaces outside Linden Tree Books and Earth Beauty Apothecary at 256-271 State Street. 

PARK(ing) Day is an annual worldwide celebration in which citizens, artists, cities, community groups etc transform urban parking spaces into temporary public parks for all to enjoy. To learn more about PARK(ing) Day please visit:

Passerelle has been hosting PARK(ing) Day in downtown Los Altos since 2011. To learn more about the history of this local project please visit:

Off to college with MVLA Community Scholars

MVLA Octavio Romero2014__010-EditIn the fall, thousands of excited students walk onto college campuses for the first time, eager, happy, and filled with anticipation. However, some, especially first-generation-to-college students, often feel anxious. While other students are walking purposefully around, filing out paperwork and looking as if they know exactly what they need to do and what to expect, these other students can feel like they have just landed on a foreign planet.

MVLA Scholar, Octavio Romero, was first in his family to go to college, and graduated from San Jose State University in December 2013 with a degree in Electrical Engineering. He remembers, “The first day (of college)….I felt frightened, almost overwhelmed…I felt so out of place.” Luckily, Octavio had been paired with a mentor to whom he could turn for reassurance and who, according to Octavio, “Was there for everything and anything that I needed.” Another student, Maritza Arreola, is also grateful to the MVLA Community Scholars program for its mentors: “Thanks to this stability in a complicated time of transition, I transferred to Mills College… successfully earning my BA in Women’s Gender and Sexuality Studies this past May (2014).”
MVLA Maritza ArreolaChallenges for first-generation-to-college low-income students arise early, asserts a board member of MVLA Community Scholars. Many of these young adults learned English while attending high school, and/or worked to help support their families. Yet, their fine grades get them into good colleges. One mentor observes, “The dedication and work ethic of our Scholars is truly inspirational. They figure out 95% of issues on their own, but it helps to talk to someone else who has walked a similar path. That’s where we mentors can offer support. And, we’re pretty good cheerleaders for our Scholars during their college journey!”
This fall, MVLA Community Scholars is very proud to be helping 24 new Scholars with annually renewable scholarships and college mentors; and although college will certainly challenge them, they have the motivation and intellect to succeed, and we promise to be there…whenever they need us.

To learn more, donate or to volunteer visit
Carolyn Pierce-Whang

MVLA Community Scholars is a program of the Los Altos Community Foundation

Read more about the MVLA Community Scholars.



Support Los Altos Community Foundation through SV Gives on May 6 and have your donation doubled, tripled or quadrupled!

To DOUBLE, TRIPLE, or QUADRUPLE your LACF donation, contribute on May 6th by following the below instructions.

Silicon Valley Gives is a 24-hour online fundraising event for nonprofits in Santa Clara, San Mateo, and San Benito counties. It celebrates the 100th anniversary of community foundations. How it works: On Tuesday, May 6, 2014, donors can contribute to local nonprofits through a single online donation platform. A local anonymous donor has provided a $10,000 match specifically for all LACF donations contributed on May 6th as part of SVGives. In addition, other local companies and foundations are providing matches that are available to any participating nonprofit during certain hours of the day.

Want your donation doubled?

Click on the above “Donate Now” button . You can donate anytime between now and midnight of May 6th for the LACF match to apply (assuming it is not used up). How to Triple your Donation: Click on the above “Donate Now” button during the following hours on May 6th. Please do so early in the hour before the match runs out.

  •  7-8am
  •  8-9am
  •  Noon-1pm
  •  6-7pm
  •  7-8pm

How to Quadruple your Donation:

For you night owls, click on the above “Donate Now” button in the one hour period between midnight, Monday, May 5th and 1:00 am, Tuesday, May 6th. Please do so early in the hour before the match runs out. IMPORTANT – Remember that LACF is competing with many other organizations for the above SV Gives matching grants, so donate EARLY in your chosen hour to be sure you can take advantage of these matching dollars. LACF thanks you!  

Nationally-known comedian to emcee the 2014 Gardner Awards

We re excited that, much like the Oscars, LACF has selected comedian Jeff Applebaum to EmCee our John W. Gardner Awards this year!jeff-14cropped

Jeff is well known in the Bay Area and nationally, having performed in many local venues, as well as on the “Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson” and Comedy.TV. Read more about Jeff and his many performances on his web site.





Click Here to Nominate Your Non-Profit's Honoree


Buy Gardner Awards Dinner Tickets



Second Annual Women Rising Event

It’s our second annual Women Rising event coming up

Come join us at the Main Street Café in Los Altos Friday, February 14th to celebrate One Billion Rising Day!


One Billion Rising Day falls on Valentine’s Day and acknowledges the grim statistic that 1 in 3 women will be beaten or raped in her lifetime–in most cases by someone she knows. We want to keep the focus positive on this day and focus on the aspects of relationship that are the opposite of abuse.


We are inviting everyone in our community to bring in a poem, a song, or a story, or even a few words spoken from the heart about what true love, healthy love means to them. Gentlemen are most definitely invited too–some of our most powerful pieces were presented by men last year.

To give you a bit more info about last year’s Women Rising event here’s the news article.

Thanks to the big turnout and lively positive energy, Women Rising was a tremendous success last year. Come join us and help make it even better this year!

What: Women Rising Event

Where: Main Street Café, Los Altos, CA

When: 12-2pm

A letter from a LEADer

Dear Friends,

Wanted to let you know of a fabulous opportunity that is not only a great educational opportunity but a lot of fun, too!

leadatlibrarysliderThe upcoming LEAD Program has a few (but only a few) slots left in the Program. This program, which is run by Claudia Coleman of Los Altos Community Foundation (LACF), helps locals discover and engage with their local community by learning, up close and personal, about all the wonderful resources that are available to us in our uniquely special Los Altos through presentations, workshops and discussion. It was a program that I attended and thoroughly enjoyed. It was professional and informative, in addition to being well executed and I was very impressed. You might think that if you’ve lived here for any considerable amount of time, you know all there is to know. I’m here to tell you there is lots to learn! In fact I would say it was definitely the impetus behind getting more involved in my treasured downtown Los Altos. And as many of you are moving into the “next phase” of your life, now that the kids are gone, you might be looking for some special way to give back to our community, and this would be a perfect entree to open your eyes to all that is out there.

The program starts off with a workshop on Saturday, January 25 from 9 – 12:00 and includes lunch. The remaining classes are on Wednesday evenings from 7 – 9:00 and the dates include: February 5 & 26, March 5 & 19, April 2 & 16, May 7 & 21 and culminates on June 4. If you are interested, please check out the LEAD page for application details.

And please feel free to pass this along to any interested Los Altos or Los Altos Hills friends that you think might be interested.

Robin Katsaros

Los Altos Resident and Founder of Sit & Share