We champion threatened natural resources and endangered landscapes around the world.

Environmental grant making at The J.M. Kaplan Fund is distinguished by extraordinary prescience and verve. The Fund has offered early-stage support to natural-resource initiatives that have made transformative impacts in the field. We helped establish the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Land Trust Alliance, and New York City park conservancies, and we led large-scale land conservation efforts in the Adirondacks and the Southwestern United States. Throughout, the Fund has galvanized philanthropic interest in emerging environmental innovations.

deep seabed images

Marine life flourishes in the deep seabeds.

In the recent past, Kaplan has focused its efforts on large-scale, bio-regional initiatives such as protecting Southwestern grasslands, safeguarding marine life, and conserving critical natural resources in the arctic. The Fund sought to expand scientific knowledge of these ecosystems, establish protective policy, build public awareness, and generate additional philanthropic support through funding collaboratives like the High Seas Alliance and the Arctic Funders Network. Specific initiatives have included efforts to curb environmental havoc caused by overfishing and greenhouse gas emissions in the Pacific Islands; strengthen marine protected areas in the Sargasso Sea, Costa Rican Dome, and the Ross Sea in Antarctica; and add vulnerable marine sites to the World Heritage List.

In 2015, Kaplan continued its tradition of activist environmental grant making, including efforts to enhance protection of the Aleutian Islands – a spectacular marine ecosystem under threat from increased shipping traffic – and researching and advocating for the projection of hydrothermal sea vents threatened by deep-sea mining. The Fund recently completed a review of its environmental program and has decided to focus on three areas of grant making. They include protecting the deep ocean, particularly the hydrothermal sea vents; conserving landscapes in Chilean Patagonia and addressing global climate change through advocacy and awareness raising.

Recent News

“From Trees to Tigers, Case Shows Cost of Illegal Logging”

Jani Actman of National Geographic reports on not only the consequences of the illegal timber trade, but also the steps that conservation groups are taking to combat against such decimation. This past week, timber conglomerate Lumber Liquidators was handed a mammoth fine after being found guilty of illegal logging. This conviction is the first time […]