Local 2015 AFP honorees recognized at Los Altos History Museum lunch

Liz Nyberg/Town Crier
The Association of Fundraising Professionals honored a local organization and couple at a recent lunch. Attendees included, from left, Joe Eyre, representing the Los Altos Community Foundation; Los Altos residents Donna and John Shoemaker; and AFP representatives Amber De Buize and Karen Kwan.

The Los Altos History Museum hosted an Association of Fundraising Professionals Silicon Valley Master’s Series brown bag lunch Oct. 28.

Guests included this year’s National Philanthropy Day honorees – Outstanding Volunteer Fundraisers Donna and John Shoemaker of Los Altos and representatives from the Los Altos Community Foundation, the Outstanding Foundation Grant Maker.

The foundation and the Shoemakers are slated to be honored at the 28th annual Silicon Valley Philanthropy Day Nov. 20 at the Santa Clara Convention Center. Organized by the Association of Fundraising Professionals Silicon Valley Chapter, the event is expected to draw more than 750 community leaders, philanthropists, corporate sponsors and fundraisers.

The association recognized the Shoemakers in part for their work in chairing the “Fulfilling the Promise” initiative for Mental Health at El Camino Hospital. The couple last year donated $1 million to the hospital’s Behavioral Health Services. Hospital officials plan a new 36-bed Behavioral Health Services building as well as expanded outpatient mental health and addiction services.

Donna Shoemaker said the new building is the only volunteer-led initiative of its kind in the country. The Shoemakers are collaborating with hospital officials to move the facility forward. Donna hopes that it won’t be too difficult to encourage donors to help fund the project, because she learned through this effort that nearly everyone has been deeply touched by a mental illness of a loved one, co-worker or friend.

For nearly 25 years, the Los Altos Community Foundation has inspired local philanthropy, strengthened the community and addressed its needs through a blend of grantmaking, directly managed and incubated programs, and philanthropic services and funds for local private foundations, individuals and organizations.

The foundation’s Community Grants have supported more than 120 local nonprofit organizations and programs with grants that stimulated new initiatives, capacity building and operational excellence. The foundation also assists the David and Lucile Packard and the Heising-Simons foundations with their re-granting programs.

“LACF is proud of its integrated approach to community philanthropy,” said Joe Eyre, executive director. “Through our grantmaking, programs, funds and convening, we have creatively strengthened the community and its nonprofits with financial resources, partnerships, volunteers and new leaders.”

“Having a local advocate dedicated to enriching our community and funding worthy projects has been a lifesaver for nonprofits like mine,” said Laura Bajuk, executive director of the Los Altos History Museum and recipient of past foundation grants.

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