The Commons Foundation



The Commons Foundation (c) 2020


On November 4, 2020 the Larkspur City Council unanimously voted to enter into a Letter of Intent (LOI) between the City of Larkspur and The Commons Foundation (TCF) to build a $5 Million Library building at the Rose Lane Community Facility parcel. The agreement is the result of ongoing conversations between the City and TCF, a non-profit dedicated to fundraising for the development of the property as a home for a new library and community center.

“The Larkspur City Council is pleased with the agreement and appreciates the substantial efforts of The Commons Foundation to support the creation of a new library and community center at Rose Lane,” stated Mayor Catherine Way. “The residents of Larkspur are eager to see one of our most beloved resources, fondly known as the ‘World’s Greatest Little Library’ get a whole lot bigger and better. The Commons Foundation has been instrumental in helping channel that energy into a concerted fundraising effort in support of a new building. We look forward to the next steps and to continuing our partnership through this process.”
“We are very pleased to have a signed LOI and a plan for moving from fundraising to construction of the new Library with the City,” said Joe Jennings, President, The Commons Foundation. “Our joint strategy to start smaller, at a realistic budget, that can start providing new library services sooner, can then lead to a larger building in the future.”

TCF has 24 months to raise $5 Million in cash. After fundraising is completed, the City will solicit bids to design and build a $5 Million facility, which will be designed to serve the dual purpose of a modern library and community meeting space. It is anticipated that the building will serve as the first phase in a multi-phased approach to building a larger library and community center. The phased approach comes after review of multiple options to move forward with the development property. Based on analysis of the site location and its potential uses, the City has determined that a phased approach best meets the needs of the community.

The Commons Foundation
TCF’s mission is to fund, and build and sustain with the City, a modern Larkspur Library and public square for the communities of Larkspur, Greenbrae and Kentfield at The Commons on Rose Lane. TCF has raised $900,000 in cash and pledges to date. To learn more about how to donate to TCF and contribute to the new building, visit: https://www.thecommonsatlarkspur



To fund, build and sustain with the City of Larkspur a modern Larkspur Library and public square for the communities of Larkspur, Greenbrae and Kentfield at The Commons on Rose Lane.

Track Record

  • $900,000 in Capital Campaign Pledges and cash
  • $46,932 2020-2021 Annual Campaign
  • $15,000 raised in 2019 Season of Giving for Annual Fund with Friends of the Library
  • $1.2 M in Planned Gifts


Formerly known as the Larkspur Library Community Center Foundation, The Commons Foundation is a citizen-led 501(c)(3) organization, and an Organization Fund managed by the Marin Community Foundation.

Officers and Board


Moved to Larkspur in 2009 with his wife Marisa.

Retired high technology patent broker, and previously a senior executive, and market development consultant for 37 years.


Co-founded and led the LLCC Task Force and then the Larkspur Library Community Center Foundation (now called The Commons Foundation) since 2018. 


Supporter of: Baltimore Park NRG, Homeward Bound of Marin, Lark Theater, Larkspur Community Foundation, Friends of the Larkspur Library, Larkspur Beautiful, SPARK,. Marin Master Gardeners and co-chairperson of the MMG Opportunity Fund. Member and Board member of the Larkspur Chamber of Commerce. 


MBA, Finance, University of Washington, and a BA, cum laude, Political Science, Whitman College.

 Resident of Larkspur since 1994


Volunteer for Neil Cummins Elementary School, Twin Cities Little League, Hall Middle School, Marin Highlanders Rugby Club, Redwood High School, Larkspur Creekside HOA Board


Supporter of Lark Theater, Friends of the Larkspur Library, Rec’ing Crew, Larkspur Community Foundation, Youth In Arts, Marin Food Bank, Boys and Girls Club, KQED


LARC Committee Member: Appointed by Larkspur City Council to determine use of parcel at Rose Lane development 2012-2013 (results of this became the 2013 Master Plan.)


20+ years experience as complex civil litigation paralegal with specialty in will and trust litigation, representing large high-profile charitable trusts; administration of medium and small charitable trusts for trustees; general State and Federal legal business compliance


15 years experience in real estate support and compliance services, self-employed


North Tahoe native, attended UC Irvine (B.A.-Political Science), Orange Coast College (Certificate-Hotel Management)

Board members

Formerly with Capital Group Companies, Retired Portfolio Manager; UCSF: “Breakthrough Program for Rheumatoid Arthritis Research”, Founder and Supporter; SF Jazz: Board member; Lark Theatre: “Mind Reels”, committee member; Palm Hill (Larkspur) Neighborhood Response Group: Block Captain; and a resident of Larkspur since 1994.

Over 25 years’ experience working with and within Marin communities.


Appointed by the Mayor of Larkspur to the Ad Hoc committee to develop the Master Plan for a new Community Center project.


Serves as a commissioner for the City of Larkspur Parks and Recreation and is founder of the Larkspur Rec’ing Crew, a nonprofit organization, that helps fund youth programs for children in need within the community.


Rotary: President of the Rotary Club of Terra Linda 2015-2016 and Community Services Director 2016-2017, Membership Co-Chair for the Rotary District 5150 serving 42 clubs with 1850 members, and Chairman of the Steering Committee for a joint project between multiple Rotary Clubs and the Center 4 Domestic Peace helping to develop needed bed space for families coming out of domestic violence.


17 years working with the Sausalito Art Festival as the volunteer coordinator and operations director dealing with a work force of over 1,200 volunteers and managing the logistics of the multi-million dollar festival.


Worked with the City of Sausalito managing their city wide events including the Caledonia Street Fair and Jazz by the Bay, as well as the San Rafael Chamber of Commerce.

Accordion Content

Chris has spent a career being both global and local. He has led urban planning projects around the world, and has engaged in multiple citizen initiatives in Larkspur. He is a board member of the Lark Theater and is excited to join the campaign to create a new library and town square for the community. Resident of Larkspur since 1984.


TCF received unanimous votes for authorization to raise funds and collaborate with the City of Larkspur to design and build a library in a phased approach from the following organizations.



5/18 LLCC Task Force Founded

10/18 5 Organizations Unanimous Vote for LLCC to Lead on Fundraising

10/18 City-LLCC Work Group formed

11/18 LLCC recommended, City approved The Commons branding

12/18 City 501c3 Transferred, The Commons Foundation started

12/18 The Commons Foundation Fundraising begins: $280,000 Raised, $213,280 Balance

2/19 The Commons Foundation Hired Partnership Resources Group

5/19 Community and Government Relations meetings ongoing

8/19 City of Larkspur Unfunded CIP Workshop Presentation

9/19 Fundraising Feasibility Study Completed; First major planned gift received; established Organization Fund managed by the Marin Community Foundation

10/19 Erected Future Home of The Commons and the new Larkspur Library sign.

12/19 Initiated Seedling Campaign
2/20 Champions Recruited
7/20 Annual Campaign Launched, First Grant

TCF Legacy Society

TCF Legacy Society was founded in 2020, and supports planned giving for The Commons Foundation. The purpose is to enable individuals and couples to make planned gifts to the Larkspur Library across a wide range of financial options.

Supported by the Marin Community Foundation, TCF Legacy Society offers a wide range of planned giving options to donors. Planned giving gifts can be TCF Board-directed or donor-directed to our Capital Campaign, Endowment Fund or Annual Fund. As of March 15, 2020 pledges to the Legacy Society exceed $1,200,000.


TCF Legacy Society Membership

Joanne Bethlahmy, Honorary Co-Chairperson

Joe Jennings, Co-Chairperson

Marisa Jennings

Christina (Tina) McArthur

Elda Marie Phillips


Seedling Donors 2018-19

The Seedling Campaign was started in December 2018 to raise seed capital for the LLCC Foundation. Our first donors were:


Julie Allecta

Carrie & James Burroughs

Kristi Ellenzwieg

Jeanne Freidel

Barbara & Karl Friday

Gabriel Gesmer

Jan & Robert Ginsberg

Katherine & Brendhan Green

Lynda & Richard Greene

Kathy & Chris Hartzel

Kevin Haroff

Helyse Hollander

Bill Howard

Marisa & Joe Jennings

Alice Kaufman & Frank Gold

Michael & Eliza Koeppel

W.J. (Bill) & J.F. Levinson

Victoria Love

Christina (Tina) Rosetti McArthur

Clarke Miller

Kristina Neal

Lois & Warren Patton

Susan Painter

Dyan & Peter Pike

Catherine Pyke

AJ Rea and Family

Andy Revell

Rosine Reynolds

Sue & Bill Rochester

Sandra Ruliffson & Dwight Pedersen

Judith Saffran

Mary & Jim Scheller

Suzanne C. Shelhart

Steven M. Stein

Natalie & Paul Straub

Lisbet & Stuart Sunshine

Phillip Terry

Catherine Way

Michelle & Jeff Wilcox