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

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

Help Napa and Sonoma fires survivors

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.

And to help prepare your community for this type of disaster locally, why not become a Block Action TEAM Leader.

Support the Sonoma County Community Foundation’s Resilience Fund.


Napa Valley Community Foundation help Napa and Sonoma Fire survivors

Support Napa Valley Community Foundation’s disaster relief efforts.



Joe Eyre, LACF Executive Director headshot, talking about Napa and Sonoma fires
Joe Eyre, LACF Executive Director


First-Time Donors Win $1,000 LACF Grant

Pictured from left to right, are: LACF first-time Donors Lee Ann Shell, MVLA Co-Executive Directors Margaret Gong and Laura Roberts, and MVLA District Superintendent Jeff Harding.
Pictured from left to right, are: LACF first-time Donors Lee Ann Shell, MVLA Co-Executive Directors Margaret Gong and Laura Roberts, and MVLA District Superintendent Jeff Harding.


First-time donors Lee Ann & Martin Shell,  present their $1,000 grant to the MVLA High School Foundation.

The Shell’s won an LACF drawing for a $1,000 grant for the qualified local nonprofit of their choice.


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Because of your valued support, Los Altos Community Foundation has many exciting community accomplishments to report for the past six months

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.
  • LACF’s Los Altos Dispute Resolution Service, LADRS, is hosting a free skills-building program on April 22nd to help residents better understand and resolve conflict.
  • 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, 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.

Joe Eyre

Executive Director, Los Altos Community Foundation

Stock donations can ease your tax burden

The stock market is near all-time highs. An effective way to maximize your contribution to LACF and save tax money is through stock donations.

Los Altos Community Foundation accepts stock donations for its Community Impact Fund as well as for any of its programs and funds.

But what if you have more appreciated stock to sell than you’d like to donate right now?

A simple solution is to set up an LACF Donor Advised Fund. Contribute stock (or other appreciated assets) to get an immediate tax deduction, and then grant from the fund to nonprofits anywhere in the U.S. for years.

With a Donor Advised Fund, you can de-couple your philanthropy from the whims of the stock market.

For example, if your annual donation budget for all nonprofits is roughly $5,000 per year, you could open a Donor Advised Fund, contribute $25,000 of appreciated stock, and then grant $5,000 annually to the nonprofits of your choice.

Benefits of Donating Stock – Example
(Note: The above is only an example.  Please consult your tax advisor for your situation.)
A Donor Advised Fund has many of the advantages of a private foundation without the legal and reporting requirements. LACF takes care of all of that.

Donor Advised Funds now outnumber family foundations by nearly three to one, in part due to their convenience and simplicity.
Other advantages of a Donor Advised Fund:

  • LACF offers an online portal so you can see a complete record of your grants from your Fund anytime.  (Have you ever tried to figure out how much you donated to a nonprofit last year?)
  • Many nonprofits cannot accept gifts of stock.  You can make one stock donation to your LACF DAF and then grant to other nonprofits from it.
  • A DAF is a great way to teach your children about giving. For example, during the holiday season, one LACF DAF owner offers his children the opportunity to each select a nonprofit they’d like to support from his fund.
  • And finally, investment firms such as Vanguard, Schwab, and Fidelity cannot offer advice on local grant opportunities. LACF knows the needs of the Los Altos/Mountain View communities, helping your grants have the maximum local impact.

If you would like to open a Donor Advised Fund at LACF or learn more about them, I’d love to talk with you. 

Give me a call or send me an email.  You can also download the DAF form.

Joe Eyre, LACF Executive Director