Local foundations distribute grants to nonprofit groups

Los Altos Community Foundation and its donor-advised funds disbursed more than $910,000 in grants and scholarships to nonprofit organizations serving Los Altos, Los Altos Hills and Mountain View, a 34 percent increase over the previous year.

The foundation focuses directly on the needs of local residents, according to Jim Boin, development director of the Mountain View-based Community Services Agency.

“Money from the community stays in the community,” he said.

The foundation’s Community Grants target nonprofit organizations that help vulnerable populations, seniors, youth, education, the environment and the arts. Grants support new initiatives as well as existing programs.

The program operates in partnership with the David and Lucile Packard Foundation and the Heising-Simons Foundation. Additional grants and scholarships come from the foundation’s programs and donor-advised and scholarship funds.

“We value our role connecting donors and resources with nonprofits to address community needs,” said Joe Eyre, Los Altos Community Foundation executive director.

Kicking off its first Community Grants cycle this fiscal year, the foundation recently awarded an additional $73,000 to local nonprofit groups. Recipients include:

• Bay Area Furniture Bank, which provides furniture and household items to local families in need and those transitioning out of homelessness.

• Cantabile Youth Singers scholarship fund, which provides tuition assistance enabling students in need to participate in a choral music education and performance program.

• Los Altos Dispute Resolution Services, which offers free mediation services to resolve local neighborhood, landlord-tenant and business disputes.

• Hope’s Corner, which provides free breakfast and lunch for hungry children, families and seniors every Saturday in Mountain View.

• JustREAD, which offers one-on-one tutoring services for struggling students.

For more information, call 949-5908 or visit

SVCF commits nearly $1.4M for area housing

Silicon Valley Community Foundation recently awarded nearly $1.4 million to support initiatives aimed at easing housing and transit problems from San Francisco to San Jose.

In the past, the Mountain View-based foundation has provided grants that support affordable housing and transit programs in Santa Clara and San Mateo counties, the traditional boundaries of Silicon Valley. With the launch of the Silicon Valley Regional Fund, the latest round of grants expands to include projects that also serve residents of San Francisco County.

“The housing, land-use and transportation problems we aim to solve can be tackled more effectively using a regional approach,” said foundation president and CEO Emmett D. Carson. “These issues don’t stop and start at county lines. We are confident that expanding our grantmaking will have benefits for all Silicon Valley residents and commuters.”

Data from Joint Venture’s Silicon Valley Index, for example, show that more than 16,000 commuters travel daily from Santa Clara County to San Francisco (up by 23 percent from 2011), and more than 27,000 from San Francisco to Santa Clara County (a 28 percent increase). Meanwhile, the median price of a single-family home in the Bay Area rose to a record $750,000 last summer, up 7 percent from the previous year, according to research firm CoreLogic.

“Silicon Valley is the envy of the nation for our region’s strong job growth, but the problems faced by our most vulnerable residents are worsening rapidly, including traffic congestion and insufficient public transit, and a dearth of affordable low-income housing investment,” said Vu-Bang Nguyen, program officer for the foundation’s grantmaking strategy.

For a list of grantees and projects, visit

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