In 1991 a local attorney, Jim Reynolds had a problem; he could not respond to clients’ desires to remember the community in their estate plans. They wanted to give back to the community that had given them and their families such a wonderful experience, but there was no vehicle for doing that.
He brought a number of local citizens together (Roy Lave, Dave Reeder) and from that they decided to create a community foundation, what has become Los Altos Community Foundation.
I bring this up this story because this principal — giving back to the community to make it better now and for the long term — has guided the Foundation for over 25 year and still does today.
That is why we exist, to change our world, our community, so it is more caring and generous, engaged and effective, and visionary, looking at today’s needs as well the needs and desires of our children and generations beyond them.
LACF in the only local organization that works full time to pursue this vision in Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, and Mountain View. That is why I joined the Foundation 4 ½ years ago and am grateful to be in this role.
How do we work toward this vision? Very simply, our job is to inspire community members to do the philanthropy that inspires them. Our hypothesis is that the more community members we inspire to be philanthropic, the better our community will be and become.
Our donors enable the Foundation to do our work every day, all year round for our communities. By donating to LACF donors are pooling their resources to accomplish more than any one person can do alone. LACF provides philanthropic leverage.
Our Donor Advised Fund owners are inspired to give back to the community with millions of dollars of grants over the years.
Local private foundations, such as Packard and Heising -Simons, which are operating globally, trust us to grant thousands of dollars every year to improve their hometown community.
Recently, LACF just completed a 2 year effort where we inspired 4 tech companies, Google, Synopsis, LinkedIn and Symantec, to collaborate and contribute to MV, their home town community. The end result was that over a half million dollars of grant money went to 9 nonprofits to help MV, funds that might not have been contributed otherwise. This program was called Inspire MV.
LACF works to Inspire community members to think beyond their lives and to future generations by giving a Legacy Gift to LACF’s Community Endowment. LACF is building this endowment as a savings account to address future community needs. None of us know what those needs will be, but what we do know is there will be issues that need to be addressed.
I’d like to thank our Legacy Circle members, those who have included us in their estate plans, and especially Marguerite Szekely, who recently left a significant estate gift to LACF. She trusted LACF to be here for the community that she loved during her lifetime.
I’ve talked a lot about the importance of financial resources for the community. The other side of philanthropy is time and talent, volunteering.
We’ve been a “Maker’s Space” for social entrepreneurs much longer than that term has been in vogue.
The foundation provides the framework and resources that enable hundreds of inspired volunteers to startup and run new programs to address community needs.
These programs span the gamut, ranging from bringing neighbors together to look out for each other to inspiring community leaders today and leaders for the future.
These programs enable these volunteers to do the philanthropy that brings them joy.
One last thing before I introduce two additional speakers. When you depart tonight, you’ll receive a sumptuous cookie with a little envelope attached to it. Enjoy the cookie, but don’t lose the envelope. I believe all of you are community-minded and I hope that you’ll be inspired by LACF’s vision for a better community and support the Foundation’s work to achieve that.
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