The pandemic didn’t stop the Rotary Club of Los Altos from focusing on its commitment to community service.
Amid restrictions imposed by the public health crisis, Rotarians continued to provide grants to local nonprofit groups and college scholarships to graduating seniors through the Los Altos Rotary Endowment Fund.
Fundraising through the club’s Fine Art in the Park open-air art show was impacted by poor weather in 2019 and canceled due to the pandemic in 2020. But this year, with many COVID restrictions in the rearview mirror, Carol Dabb, the Rotary Club’s artist coordinator, introduced the Los Altos Bears project, aimed at generating funds for Rotary efforts and drawing visitors to the downtown area.
Dabb ordered 51 fiberglass bear statues – ranging in size from 20-inch sitting bears to 8-foot-tall standing bears – which Rotarians, merchants and local residents are “adopting” and artists are painting for public display.
In addition to supporting Rotary grants and scholarships, funds from the sale of the whimsical, original painted bears will benefit the artists whose creations are usually sold at Fine Art in the Park, postponed this year from its usual weekend in May to Aug. 14-15.
Los Altos residents can see the colorful bears on display outdoors downtown; 24 were installed June 11, and 27 more were added last week.
All of the bears will be available for purchase via live auction Oct. 9.
For a bear location map and more information, call 941-1907 or visit losaltosbears.com.
Despite the cancellation of its signature fundraisers, the Rotary Club of Los Altos awarded $30,000 to local nonprofit organizations in its fall and spring grant cycles.
The club distributed 11 community grants totaling $17,400 in its spring cycle. Recipients included Adolescent Counseling Services, the Bay Area Furniture Bank, the Community School of Music and Arts, the Family Engagement Institute, GreenTown Los Altos, the Healthier Kids Foundation, Hope’s Corner, MVLA Scholars, Via Verde, WomenSV and Youth Drama for All.
Rotarian George Stafford supervised selection of 20 finalists for scholarships for seniors at Alta Vista, Los Altos and Mountain View high schools. Funds for the $35,250 in scholarships were contributed through
the Endowment Fund, including scholarships donated in honor of local residents Charles Cowan, Karen Greguras, Hardy Jones, Mary Marley, Jean Newton and Allan Varni.
This year’s 20 scholarship winners and their chosen colleges: Pamela Aguilar, San Jose State; Olivia Andje, San Jose State; Akanshya Bhat, UCLA; Nhu Bui, UC Davis; Jason Calderon, UC Irvine; Jiapci Cardenas, San Francisco State; Lauren Casey, University of San Francisco; Samantha Tejeda Castillo, Hawaii Pacific University; Catherine Delafuente Garcia, San Jose State; Marianna Horna, San Jose State; Jessi Jha, University of Pennsylvania; Nazlican Kaplankiran, San Jose State; Amy Leon, UC Merced; Luis Lucero, UC Merced; Alissa Hernandez Perez, undecided; Samara Enriquez Reynoso, San Jose State; America Sandoval, San Jose State; Jaimee Sandoval, Foothill College; Rosemarie Trujujillo Tejada, UCLA; and Nicole Zavala, UC Merced.
Marlene Cowan is a member of the Rotary Club of Los Altos. For more information, visit losaltosrotary.org.