The History of Los Altos Community Foundation’s Origin
In the mid-1970s, the iconic Art Deco theater on Main Street in Los Altos closed its doors. In response, a group of local residents formed a committee to raise funds in the hopes of preserving the theater. Although some funds were collected, the committee abandoned their work for undisclosed reasons and failed to notify the community. Greater awareness of the theater’s troubles emerged when a proposal to convert the building into retail and office spaces became public. Many community members were upset with how the theater closing was handled and suggested that a community fund be created to give Los Altos options for preservation in the future.
In the early 1990s, local attorney James Reynolds noted that many of his clients were interested in finding ways to “give back to the community.” They were seeking a giving vehicle over which they had some control. He decided Los Altos would benefit from a community foundation and brought together interested community members to propose creating one.
Originally called Los Altos Tomorrow, the organizing committee for the Foundation began meeting in late 1990, and the first “board designate” meeting occurred in February 1991.
The committee consisted of twenty-four community members from fourteen families. Thirteen of those families became Board members of the California Corporation when it was chartered in August 1991. The name was changed in 1995 to Los Altos Community Foundation (LACF) because the use of “tomorrow” was considered not descriptive enough.
Later, Reynolds moved to Southern California, but some members of his original group are still active in LACF. He created a lasting legacy for the community and helped provide the opportunity for anyone to create their own philanthropic legacy through the Foundation.
Today, LACF continues to thrive and strengthen community by stimulating local philanthropy and civic engagement in Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, and Mountain View.