LACF originally launched in 1991 as a way for residents to help preserve the city's historic buildings amid fears of redevelopment. Over the years, the nonprofit has grown and adapted with the times, assuming a wide range of roles. Today, it provides funding for scholarships, community gardens and a variety of social services, among other things. Over its history, more than $10 million has been doled out to a variety of causes.
Eyre is quick to point out that Mountain View has often benefited from his group's charitable giving. The Immigrant House, Day Worker Center and Community Services Agency have all received help from LACF over the years. Two years ago, LACF launched "Inspire Mountain View," a $500,000 grant program funded by tech companies to support civic groups. Public school districts that cut across both Mountain View and Los Altos have also been regular beneficiaries.
Eyre said it was time to officially make Mountain View part of the nonprofit's stated mission. Earlier this year, the LACF trustees voted to include Mountain View in the organization's five-year strategic plan, which calls for greater coordination to address regional needs.
"The feedback that we've been hearing is that there's a lot of opportunity for us to play more of a role," he said. "For the most part, we're a vehicle with a lot of services to help people become more philanthropic."
LACF members point out that Mountain View lacks its own nonprofit that fills the role of a community foundation. This type of nonprofit is extremely flexible: It can take on a variety of donors and volunteers, and it directs those resources to different needs.
One of the world's largest nonprofits of this kind, the Silicon Valley Community Foundation, is located in Mountain View, but Eyre said that organization tends to focus on larger regional projects that go beyond the scope of its immediate community.
For LACF, it remains a little unclear what the actual impact will be from this new focus on Mountain View. Eyre said his organization would coordinate more closely with Mountain View nonprofits and civic leaders on different priorities, such as housing, homelessness and immigrant rights. LACF would likely play a support role by providing grants or volunteers.
With the new push into Mountain View, Eyre hinted that his foundation could modify its name in the coming months to better represent the region encompassing Mountain View, Los Altos and Los Altos Hills.
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