LACF Impact 2017

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.

impacting the lives of students

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.

2016 LEAD

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.

Inspire MV Check

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,


Ways to Give Back Through LACF


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.


2017 Brunch RSVP


LACF and Bay Area Furniture Bank help bring peace of mind


Victoria had been bouncing from home to home since she aged out of the foster system. Like many in the Bay Area, she was struggling to just make rent. Furniture was a dream. She huddled on the floor to eat dinner after work.

In stepped Bay Area Furniture Bank.

Founded by retired Los Altos resident Ray Piontek in 2015, BAFB brings donated furniture to Victoria and to others in our communities who need assistance: veterans, refugees, low-income families, and victims of domestic abuse.

“Finally, I now have peace of mind with my living situation,” Victoria said.

Victoria is not alone. Over 150,000 families in the Silicon Valley make less than $35,000 a year. They scrape by. There’s simply no money left for furnishings. Many lack the basic dignity of a bed to sleep on or a table to eat.

Piontek said providing unwanted furniture to people in need is the core concept of BAFB.

“I couldn’t stand to see decent furniture going into landfills, when so many folks were lacking,” he said.

Initially Piontek gathered the furniture himself – from family, friends, and even off the street – storing it in his garage and delivering it. But when his networking efforts to secure furniture donations from businesses started paying off, BAFB quickly outgrew his garage.

BAFB’s largest donation to date is from the Fairmont Hotel in San Jose, which is now undergoing an eleven-floor renovation. When Piontek heard BAFB would receive 4,400 pieces of furniture from the Fairmont, he scrambled to find storage space. Thanks to Foothill College, BAFB now houses collected furniture in a several portables on campus.

To identify eligible recipients and their furniture needs, BAFB works with existing nonprofits and social service agencies.

Through BAFB, Piontek believes he has found the perfect way to give back to the community, enjoy retirement and feel good at the end of every day.

“Who’s getting more joy from this, the families who receive the furniture or me?” he said. “I’m not sure.”

Thanks to Piontek’s great work and your support of BAFB through LACF, more struggling families, veterans, and former foster children like Victoria have more than just a roof over their heads – they have a furnished home.


2016 LACF Impact

LACF Impact Anniversary banner.2ai

The following is a partial list of how your support has enabled LACF to impact our community during the past year.


Strengthening our Nonprofit Community through Grantmaking:

  • LACF and its funds gave over $1.4M in grants and scholarships (over $10M since LACF’s founding).
  • More than 59% of these grants went to Los Altos, Los Altos Hills and Mountain View, supporting need-based scholarships and grants to nonprofits focusing on Arts & Culture, Community Building, Health & Safety, Seniors, Vulnerable populations, and Youth & Education.
  • Scholarships totaling $160,000 were awarded to 72 local high school graduates.
  • LACF’s Community Grants program awarded 54 grants this fiscal year.
  • The Community Grants program is partnered with the David and Lucile Packard Foundation (9th year) and the Heising-Simons Foundation (2nd year).
  • LACF was honored as the Outstanding Foundation Grantmaker by the Silicon Valley chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals.
  • Addressing Community Needs through LACF Programs and Initiatives
  • Our community is better prepared for disasters through LACF’s Los Altos Prepare.  City, County Fire, CERTs, HAMs and LACF’s Block Action Team (BAT) leaders have coordinated response plans in case of a major emergency.
  • Los Altos Dispute Resolution Service (LADRS) has solved hundreds of neighbor-to-neighbor, tenant/landlord and other types of disputes for over 20 years via this free mediation program.
  • Your donations helped local seniors.  The Center for Age-Friendly Excellence (CAFE) is leading communities throughout our county in becoming ‘Age-Friendly’ – World Health Organization recognized for communities committed to seniors’ quality of life.
  • LACF accepted two projects, GreenTown Los Altos and MVLA Service League of Boys, to its nonprofit incubation program.  LACF now supports 16 programs addressing community needs.

Investing in the Next Generations:

  • More than 30 families and individuals will be giving back to our community forever through their legacy gifts to LACF.  Legacy gifts to LACF’s Community Endowment fund benefit future generations.  Marion and Bob Grimm’s legacy gift has been contributed to the fund.
  • LACF’s E3 Youth Philanthropy program celebrated 10 years of teaching our teens to give back to their community.  Your donations enabled us to hire a new program director, Judy Crates, a respected, retired principal who brings exciting new ideas to the program.

Developing and Recognizing Community Leaders:

  • Leadership Education Advancement Program (LEAD): More than 350 LEAD graduates over 20 years, many have become City or nonprofit leaders.
  • Celebrated 25 exceptional volunteers from 25 local nonprofits at the 12th annual John W. Gardner Awards dinner.
  • LACF and its programs enabled hundreds of volunteers to contribute to the community this year.

Improving the Quality of Life in Our Community:

  • LACF hosted the 15th annual 4th of July community picnic in Shoup Park.  Families of all ages enjoyed the games, events, and patriotic music.
  • Los Altos Forward, a program of LACF, is now in its 5th year of supporting Downtown Los Altos First Fridays.  This past year the program started Club 55, a “pop-up” social club for seniors.
  • Los Altos Forward has hosted more than 30 educational, free “Community Conversations” about creating vibrant communities.

Fostering Innovative Philanthropy:

  • Partnered with the Los Altos School District to create an online “bulletin board” to connect teachers with available local housing.
  • Worked with Google, LinkedIn, Synopsys, and Symantec to create the Mountain View Corporate Philanthropy Fund to address social issues in Mountain View.
  • Offered community members a chance to learn about social benefit philanthropy from Thane Kreiner of the Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship, who spoke at the 24th annual LACF brunch.

Your support of LACF made these accomplishments possible.  Thank you!

Donate Online