AwardsHometown HeroesVolunteers

Spotlight on Tom Smith, 2020 Hometown Hero

We are delighted to honor Tom Smith as one of our 2020 Hometown Heroes. Tom embodies the best of community volunteerism and leadership. Over the years, Tom has been active with the Los Altos Chamber of Commerce, serving as president in 1998-1999. He and his wife Karen received the Chamber’s coveted Walter & Marie Singer Award given “to those exhibiting community service, generosity and commitment to business” in 2016. He and Karen remain involved with their church, Los Altos United Methodist Church (LAUMC).

In addition to participating on the Audit Committee, Community Health Awareness Council (CHAC), Tom is on CSA’s Audit Committee and lends his expertise in a variety of fundraising capacities, including major gifts development and helping us build our planned giving program, which, by the way, he and Karen are founding members.

A Michigan native who moved to the Bay Area in 1967, Tom is owner and broker of Toren Real Estate Brokerage. He started his real estate career by acquiring properties and negotiating leases for the national corporation Hallmark Cards. His experience with the greeting card industry led to the acquisition in 1979 of the locally-based McWhorters Stationers retail chain where he served as CFO and co-owner along with his two partners until they sold the company in 1996.

When he’s not busy with work or helping the community, Tom enjoys cultivating his vineyard and spending time with family and friends.

How did you get involved with CSA? The late Duncan MacVicar introduced me to CSA when he was serving on the agency’s board; his passion for CSA’s mission was so heartfelt and inspirational that I quickly got on board. Since then, I’ve served on nearly every committee, including Finance and Development, and as Board president in 2015-16.

What keeps you connected to CSA? The need is growing, especially during these challenging times, and there’s so much to be done. While I am optimistic that our community will weather this storm, there will always be the need for safety net programs and CSA has a proven track record for delivering them.

How would you describe CSA? Beyond what I’ve already said, I think that one of the hallmark strengths of CSA is that it feels local – it’s not tied up in a lot of bureaucracy – and the majority of funding goes directly to carrying out programs. The staff and volunteers, beginning with Tom Myers and continuing all the way through to those working on the front lines, are among the most  dedicated and talented people I have ever worked with. From top to bottom, CSA is a class operation and a true community treasure.

How does it feel to be a Hometown Hero? I’m humbled – speechless actually. A few years ago, I was asked to do the fundraising solicitation at the 2017 Hometown Heroes program. LAUMC was one of the honorees that year, along with two longtime CSA staff members whose combined service was over 70 years. As much as I enjoyed taking part in the celebration that year, this one is very special, and one that I share with my wife, my family and my community. Thank you all.

For more information about the 2020 Hometown Heroes event, please click here.


  1. My Uncle Tom has always been a very giving person. He always steps in to lend a helping hand and make you feel special. Even though we, a lot of his family, are in Michigan, he reaches out often and makes us feel loved and special! When I was first starting out in teaching, I lived in Texas and couldn’t fly home for Thanksgiving. He flew me out to Cali to spend time with him. He will never know how much those seemingly small gestures mean to me and the rest of my family. He loves life, God, family and his California community! We are so proud of him! He has always been one of my heroes! We love you, Unc!!!

  2. Congratulations Dad! What a great honor to be recognized In your community for being a true difference maker. Keep fighting the good fight!

  3. What a wonderful acknowledgement of so many appreciated contributions over the years! We are very thankful to have a Dad and Grandpa who cares for his community and uses gifts and abilities to be a blessing to others! Congratulations!

  4. Congratulations Tom! How wonderful to be honored with this recognition. You have alway been such a caring and generous individual, so willing to share your talent and time. I’m greatful to have learned so much from you and to call you my friend for far more years than I’m willing to admit. Congrats again, well deserved!

  5. Tom,
    My wish as a 9 year old child was for a baby brother-Mother and Dad filled my wish with you. I have always been proud of you and even though we live many miles apart we are close. We are thankful that you have shared your abilities with your community. Your recognition is well deserved. Love, Jane and Don

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