The Los Gatos Community Foundation was a dream in 1990 of three ladies who were on the Parks Commission of Los Gatos. Emma Vargo, Susan Huntley, and Ardith Sams were dedicated to our town and worked hard to make Los Gatos a beautiful place to live. They had dreams, one of which was building a bandstand for community use. In 1991 a steering committee was formed and late in 1992 the first meeting of the board of directors was held.
The Los Gatos Community Foundation's vision is "to support, strengthen, and enrich the quality of life in the Los Gatos Area Community." The original board members wanted to enhance our community so under the direction of the late Paul Dubois they started a campaign called "Dare to Dream."
The campaign raised money to build the Lyndon Bandstand in Oak Meadow Park with the Historic Lyndon Cupola on top. It took 10 years to raise the money to complete this project. In 2003, the Los Gatos Community Foundation held its dedication ceremony with president Adu Bagley giving a speech thanking everyone who had been a part of this dream.
Sandy Decker, mayor at that time, accepted the dedication on behalf of the Town of Los Gatos. It was a very moving day relinquishing the baby everyone had worked so long and hard to build, but it was and still is rewarding to know the our community will enjoy this part of history for many years to come.
Over the years the Los Gatos Community Foundation has completed many other projects such as rebuilding Belgatos Park and also dedicating it to the town. They have helped many groups and organizations to realize their dreams and have been involved in town activities such as the July 4th celebration and the Children's Holiday Parade. It's also co-sponsored the annual tree lighting with the town that is held in the Town Plaza Park the evening before the Children's Holiday Parade for 14 years.
The annual CATillion Gala is held in November at La Rinconada to raise money for grants and scholarships programs. The grants program contributes to civic/community investment, cultural enrichment, education, environment, health, historical heritage and recreation. The scholarships program provides a "community service" scholarship to senior students who have shown exceptional community service throughout their high school years at Los Gatos, Leigh and Westmont.
In 2006 the Beautification Committee officially changed and became the Los Gatos Community Foundation Beautification Committee. There are many projects done under the Beautification Committee such as planting daffodil and tulip bulbs each year in different areas of the town to bring beautiful color in the spring.
Clean-up Saturday is held the first Saturday of each month where the committee of volunteers sweep, pull weeds, and clean our downtown and various other areas throughout Los Gatos. They also oversee the Adopt-a-Planter Program in downtown. There are 33 planters along Santa Cruz Avenue where different citizens have “adopted” and maintain them.
In 2008 the Buck-a-Bulb project was formed to help Los Gatos "go green." The Los Gatos Community Foundation raised money to completely re-light the town Christmas tree with energy efficient, colored LED Lights. Through fundraising efforts, and grants from PG&E, it's continuing its tree relighting projects such as assisting the town with the relighting of the 154 trees in our beautiful downtown.
If you are interested in making a donation to this project or would like to know more about the foundation, please contact Executive Director Sharon Childs at 408-399-3131, or visit www.losgatoscommunityfoundation.org.