Witnessing the devastation of the Napa and Sonoma fires, I’ve wondered how we can best help the many families who have lost everything begin to rebuild their lives.
Perhaps you’ve wondered this, too.
Just as Los Altos Community Foundation knows and addresses needs in our local community, the Napa and Sonoma Community Foundations are addressing needs in their shattered communities.
Because of their deep relationships with local nonprofits, community leaders, and government officials, community foundations are often in the best position to hold funds, make grants, and support the community over the medium to long-term during disaster recovery.
If you’d like to contribute to Napa and Sonoma Counties’ relief efforts, please consider giving to Community Foundation Sonoma County’s Sonoma County Resilience Fund and/or Napa Valley Community Foundation’s Napa Valley Community Disaster Relief Fund.
The road to recovery is long and we cannot yet predict what the greatest needs will be. But local community foundations are best positioned to vet organizations to receive funding for social support and rebuilding efforts.
Thank you for your support of the Los Altos Community Foundation! We’re excited to share some of the outcomes that your contribution to LACF has enabled over the past year:
Addressing Youth, Seniors, and Families in Need
Through its funds and programs, LACF gave $1.39 million in grants and scholarships to organizations serving Los Altos, Los Altos Hills and Mountain View; a 55% increase over the previous year. These grants helped youth succeed in school, provided seniors with the care they need and enabled the homeless to feed themselves and their children.
LACF gave grants to new nonprofits, so they could launch their programs and quickly address needs in the community. Grantees include Bay Area Furniture Bank, that gives furniture to those struggling to pay rent and EqOpTech Inc., that refurbishes computers for those who can’t afford them.
LACF’s programs addressed numerous local needs, including:
MVLA Scholars gave over $400k in scholarships to 108 students, many of whom are first in their family to go to college.
CAFE (Center for Age Friendly Excellence), for its Los Altos Senior Inclusion and Participation Project, which identifies isolated seniors who are at risk and need services.
House2Home Connection, a new incubated LACF program that provides low-income families with donated household necessities for a comfortable and happy home.
Listos Mountain View, also a new incubated LACF program that helps immigrant families prepare for the possibility of family members being deported.
LACF again facilitated its common scholarship application process for local service clubs and the Mountain View Chamber of Commerce. This group gave $131k to 72 local students. The online common scholarship application also saved students and administrators time by submitting a single application to multiple organizations.
Improving Quality of Life in Our Community
Club 55 and Up, a fun, monthly event for adults 55 and over, attracted over 100 residents each time. Los Altos Forward, LACF’s program dedicated to promoting downtown vibrancy, created Club 55 and Up to provide local casual gatherings for older adults.
LACF’s Block Action Team (BAT) program grew to almost 200 trained BAT Leaders who help build neighbor-to-neighbor relationships and promote emergency preparedness in Los Altos. Because of this program, the City of Los Altos recently took the lead disaster readiness by coordinating with BAT leaders as well as with county fire, HAM radio operators, and CERT (Community Emergency Response Teams).
LACF and the Los Altos School District set up an online bulletin board for community members to offer reasonably-priced housing to teachers. As a result, five newly-hired teachers will be able to live in our community.
LACF’s Los Altos Dispute Resolution Services trained community members on conflict resolution and mediation to help resolve community issues.
Local arts and culture enhance life in our community. LACF continuously supports local nonprofit stalwarts such as the Los Altos History Museum, CSMA, and Los Altos Stage Company.
Because of LACF’s ongoing support of the Peninsula Symphony, the community enjoys free classical music in the park every summer.
And, the Terrible Adult Chamber Orchestra (TACO) enables over 50 local musicians to regularly play together in a fun, stress-free environment.
Soil and Water, a new LACF-incubated program, teaches Mountain View apartment residents and their children how to grow vegetables in the community garden in Heritage Park. Through this process, they learn how to prepare and add more vegetables to their diet.
Transforming Community Members into Community Leaders
LACF’s LEAD class led by Claudia Coleman has graduated over 400 residents over the last 22 years, many of whom have run for and/or been on the City Council, school board, commissions, nonprofit boards, or become nonprofit leaders.
In addition, the Los Altos Town Crier recognized Claudia as “2017 Los Altan of the Year” partially for her commitment to the program.
Philanthropy never moves as fast as it does in LACF’s E3 Youth Philanthropy program. Throughout the year the 25 highly-motivated students learn empathy, values, nonprofit success factors, and grantmaking, all skills that will make them better leaders of tomorrow.
Owners of LACF Donor Advised Funds (DAFs) generously gave $730K of grants to nonprofits over the last year. Some creatively funded new programs and causes while others granted money to their children and grandchildren so they could discover and nurture their own philanthropic passions.
Over 300 community members volunteered through LACF’s committees and programs to help make our community a better place.
To establish new community connections and educate residents about the Foundation, LACF hosted its annual Summer Solstice garden party welcoming over 300 community members – our most well-attended Solstice to date.
Fostering Innovative New Philanthropy
Through LACF’s leadership, Google, LinkedIn, Symantec, and Synopsys joined the Inspire Mountain View initiative. The group awarded $525k in grants to make its hometown community more equitable, compassionate, and a better place to work and play.
The nine nonprofit grant winners are now helping parents struggling to feed their children, connecting seniors with their families through technology, and helping students learn about ecology, STEM, and becoming mindful leaders.
LACF sponsors 12 social-venture projects. Through LACF, community members can start new nonprofits to address local needs without dealing with the burden of running an 501(c)(3).
Two years ago, LACF awarded a grant to MVLA Challenge Team’s Summer Learning Initiative to provide academic support programs for local at-risk students. Summer 2017 brought full program enrollment and combined morning classes with afternoon activity camps, resulting in positive academic and personal enrichment.
To further LACF’s donor-education initiatives, LACF invited Justin Steele, responsible for Google’s $50M+ U.S. philanthropy strategy, to provide insights into its innovative corporate philanthropy programs at our 25th annual LACF Brunch.
Building Resources for Our Community’s Future
Longtime community member Marguerite Szekely bequeathed LACF a $1.85 million planned gift, which LACF placed in our Community Endowment for future generations. Ms. Szekely’s gift is inspiring others in the community to include LACF in their estate plans, including the 36 generous and visionary families who are LACF Legacy Circle members honored at LACF’s annual May luncheon.
Because of you, our community is stronger, more caring, generous and engaged. Together, we’re developing the solid relationships, values, and practices that represent our world-class community.
Thanks again for your generous support. And as always, we’re continually looking to increase our impact, so feel free to email or contact me with any ideas you may have.
And as always, we’re continually looking to increase our impact, so feel free to email or contact me with any ideas you may have.
All the best,
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P.S. Please mark your calendar for LACF’s annual brunch on Sunday, October 15th. Our speaker is the lively and insightful Carl Guardino, CEO of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group.
LACF’s Community Grants volunteer committee evaluated many applications for projects benefiting Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, and Mountain View. After deliberation, they awarded twelve grants totaling $57,500.
This grant will allow us to improve the safety of our grounds and upgrade our building exterior, completing projects that have been deferred for many years, the cost of which is more than our current budget allows since most of our income goes to philanthropic programs.
Connects employers from the Los Altos and Los Altos Hills area with skilled workers in a safe and supportive environment, as well as offering relevant classes and training for the workers to improve their skills.
This grant will support operations at Deer Hollow Farm, including our Animal Fund which provides for the care, feeding, and health of our signature farm animals and our Capital Improvements program which enhances and improves our physical facilities.
HKF’s hearing screens local children in pre-school, public school, and private schools, case manages 12% of children who receive a hearing referral and helps their parents find specialized care they need. HKF will screen 250 children with this grant.
This grant will support the professionalization of our docent program by creating a professional training program that will incorporate relevant classes, docent coaching/mentoring and fingerprinting/background checks.
Support of the special temporary exhibition, “I Want the Wide American Earth: An Asian Pacific American Story,” and related programming, to be displayed at the Los Altos History Museum October 14th to January 7th.
The grant will help to continue our goal of strengthening our membership by providing the highest quality speakers who provide topics and experiences of cultural, scientific, national and international interest.
Project Cornerstone is seeking funding to support our school partnerships in the Los Altos community which are creating caring school communities and positively impacting student’s social-emotional development.
To support year-round operation of the Safety Around Water (SAW) program providing free swim safety lessons (in 4 week sessions) to children (5-17 yrs old) residing MV/LA community who are statistically the most at-risk for drowning (primarily socioeconomically disadvantaged and Latino youth.)
Former LACF sponsored program, WomenSV has earned its 501c3. Congratulations to WomenSV director, Ruth Patrick for her dedication to serving the community.
WomenSV serves women and children in our area whose lives have been impacted by domestic violence. The program helps women of means break free from abuse and build healthier lives for themselves, their children, and our community.
If you have an idea for a program and you’d like our support, click the button bellow to apply to be come a sponsored program.
Strengthening our Nonprofit Community through Grantmaking:
LACF and its funds have given 385 grants and scholarships totaling $1.29M since July 1st. More than half of this amount has gone to nonprofits and students in our three communities: Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, and Mountain View.
LACF’s Community Grants committee just finished its third round of annual grantmaking, giving a total of $211,698 to 42 local nonprofits and initiatives. Grants were made to a number of nonprofits addressing new needs in our community in addition to grants helping organizations grow their impact. For example, Westwind 4-H Riding for the Handicapped in Los Altos Hills has been expanding its services and LACF’s grant helped cover its professional instructor.
LACF’s E3 Youth Philanthropy program granted $10,000 to six local youth organizations. Although the grants are relatively small, the process had great impact on the E3 program. “I now see my community differently. It is often difficult to say that one cause matters more than another, but E3 has helped me to do so by distilling down our core values.” Amand Koong, E3 participant
LACF works to address all needs in the community, giving grants in Arts & Culture, Community Building, Health & Safety, Seniors, Vulnerable populations, and Youth & Education.
Developing and Recognizing Community Leaders:
LACF’s Leadership Education Advancement Program (LEAD), led by Claudia Coleman, is wrapping up its 21st year. LEAD added 22 graduates to its over 350 alumni members, many have taken leadership roles in the community. Claudia was recognized earlier this year by the Town Crier as Los Altan of the year, partially for her commitment to LEAD.
LACF’s Block Action Team program now covers over 12% of Los Altos households, providing the tools for those who want to look out for their neighbors, prepare for disasters, and prevent crime.
LACF’s programs enable over 300 local community members to lead and/or volunteer to make our community a better place.
Improving the Quality of Life in Our Community:
LACF’s Center for Age Friendly Excellence (CAFE), led by Anabel Pelham, is charging forward on its Senior Inclusion and Participation Project (SIPP). SIPP identifies isolated seniors who are at risk and need services, such as in-home care and health services.
Soil & Water, a program incubated by LACF, recently secured a garden spot from the City of Mountain View. They are now planting a community garden to teach people how to grow and eat healthy food.
Los Altos Forward hosted a city council candidate forum last October as well as many free “Community Conversations” on best practices for creating vibrant and well-planned communities. And they continue to organize ‘First Fridays’ each month in downtown Los Altos.
Investing in the Next Generation:
More families and individuals – now 36 – have included the Foundation in their estate plans, committing to give back to our community forever through their planned gift. We will recognize these far-sighted, generous individuals at our annual Legacy Circle Luncheon on May 9th.
Over 30% of our grants are awarded to organizations focused on youth and education. Our Donor Advised Fund owners give generously for scholarships and youth causes. The E3 Youth Philanthropy program has fostered empathy and a commitment to community service in over 150 local high school students over the last 11 years.
LACF has facilitated a common scholarship application process for local service clubs, MVLA Scholars, and new this year, the Mountain View Chamber of Commerce. 2017 was their most successful cycle yet: 125 applicants, of which 66 students received scholarships totaling over $200,000. We are very pleased that this collaboration has made it easier for these local organizations to reach more deserving students.
Fostering Innovative Philanthropy:
LACF is managing Inspire Mountain View, a new challenge grant program for awarding big ideas to make the community more equitable, compassionate, and a better place to work and play. Google, Linkedin, Symantec, and Synopsys collaboratively funded this program to improve their “hometown”. Public voting is now underway to decide which programs will receive grants of $25K, $50K, and $100K. If you live, work, volunteer, and/or are involved in Mountain View in some way, vote before April 21st. “CSA being chosen as one of the nominees for the Inspire MV grants is the talk of the office today. We are all so excited! Thanks to the selection committee.” Tom Myers, Community Services Agency
Two years ago LACF granted to the MVLA Challenge Team to help expand its Summer Learning program for students falling behind. Last summer, this effort led to full program enrollment. This summer, the program has taken it up a notch, bringing organizations together to combine morning classes with afternoon activity camps.
LACF is working with the Los Altos School District to identify local housing units for new teachers to rent so they may live in the community they serve.
LACF offered community members insight into the innovative corporate philanthropy that is helping our communities from Justin Steele of Google.org, who spoke at the 25th annual LACF Brunch last October.
Thanks for your generous support. You have made these accomplishments possible!
And as always, we’re continually looking to increase our impact, so feel free to email or contact me with any ideas you may have.
Executive Director, Los Altos Community Foundation
Pat & JJ, high school sweethearts from Belmont, moved to Los Altos in 1999 for the schools. Their two children, Kelly a MVHS sophomore and Frank a sophomore at UC Berkeley, have attended Oak, Blach, and MVHS.
Pat ran her catering business and has been a dedicated community volunteer. She’s served as PTA President, Junior Olympics co-chair, Los Altos Education Foundation Board Member, AVID mentor, and MVLA Scholars mentor.
She discovered Los Altos Community Foundation while working with MVLA Scholars.
“I had no idea how much LACF provides for our community,” Pat said. “Without the Foundation, programs like MVLA Scholars could not exist.”
She said LACF’s annual Summer Solstice party really opened her eyes to LACF’s work in the community.
“At the Solstice event I saw so many people who I really value in our community and who are involved with LACF,” Pat said. “That was a ringing endorsement of LACF, if I ever needed one.”
Her husband, JJ, a Santa Clara University School of Law graduate and a Public Defender in Santa Clara County for 30 years, will retire in May. He currently coaches Mock Trial at MVHS and has coached flag football at Oak and Blach schools for many years.
Pat & JJ’s charitable giving has been mostly to organizations supporting their passion for education, animal and civil rights: Humane Society, ACLU, Salvation Army, LAEF, MVLA High School Foundation, and MVLA Scholars.
Though they initially moved here for the schools, Pat & JJ are becoming more deeply involved in the community through LACF, Los Altos Stage Company, and other groups.
In the year ahead, JJ will spent his retirement sailing, paddle-boarding, adopting a mule, and starting new projects at their ranch in Gilroy. Pat is looking forward to a year of even more community involvement in her new role as Co-President of the Los Altos Chamber of Commerce.
We are grateful for Pat and JJ Kapp’s support and all they do for the community.
A lot has happened in our country over the last two weeks. Many in America are confused, apprehensive, and/or upset. In this uncertain time, I think it is important – both nationally and locally – to double down on two important American values: Inclusion and Freedom of Speech.
Much of our country’s strength is due to our long-time acceptance of other cultures and diversity. This inclusion has enriched the nation in many ways and made us the world’s innovator. We must continue to embrace this value.
Locally, I applaud the Los Altos City Council for developing a Diverse Community resolution that they will vote on this Tuesday (which symbolically is also Valentine’s Day). You can express your support for this resolution to the Council members.
Also positive is Mountain View’s Human Rights resolution passed last May expressing similar values. As an aside, today Mountain View is hosting a forum discussing its values for sustaining a caring, diverse, and engaged community.
Freedom of speech is fundamental to America. A component of this is freedom of the press. It is more important than ever for all of us to look beyond the network news channels and headlines to understand the facts and support the sources working to provide them. Transparency is critical to democracy and effective government.
Here we are fortunate to have the Los Altos Town Crier and the Mountain View Voice to cover our respective communities and to provide outlets for residents to express their views. In addition, our City governments and police are continuously working to improve their communication channels with the community.
But, it’s not only what is communicated but how it is communicated. We’ve all seen a lot of bravado and “tough talk” at the national level. This is one way to effect transactional change. In contrast, approaching others with caring and kindness leads to trust, deeper relationships, and more lasting and productive change.
A final thought: In the Wall Street Journal review of Thomas Freidman’s book “Thank You for Being Late”, it is noted that Mr. Friedman writes “the closest political analogue for the calm eye of a hurricane that I can think of is a healthy community.”
Healthy communities create trust, and “When people trust each other, they can be much more adaptable and open to all forms of pluralism.” Rather than build walls, they face their problems and solve them. In Friedman’s telling, this is the way to make America great.
Together, let’s make our communities even greater.
Executive Director, Los Altos Community Foundation