Supporters and founders of the Palo Alto Community Fund looked back on 31 years of grant-making in Palo Alto and looked forward to a major expansion of its funding capabilities Thursday evening.
The fund also announced that 41 local organizations will receive just over $300,000 in grants this year.
The fund also launched a campaign to push its endowment fund from its present level of about $4 million to $6 million.
"We are in and of the Palo Alto community," fund Executive Director Cammie Vail told the attendees at a reception on a balmy evening in the garden of longtime Palo Altan Bill Reller.
"We are part of this community treasure" that is Palo Alto, Vail said.
Two of the founding board members, Leonard Ely and Charles Schulz, were recognized for their long support of the fund and its mission.
Speakers representing two grant recipients, Director Curtis Haggins of the RoadRunner Sports Club of East Palo Alto and Executive Director Michelle Jackson of the Shelter Network, cited examples of how the grants aid individuals and the community.
Haggins said the club saved his own life as a youth trying to "escape the pitfalls of the East Palo Alto community" through its program of using basketball to teach young persons about life and integrity and creating elite traveling teams.
"Some of my friends didn't make it out," he said of the drug and other pitfalls.
Jackson said that "most people don't realize there are homeless families in the Palo Alto area," but the network just last week received about 2,000 calls from persons who are homeless or about to become homeless.