The J. M. Kaplan Fund is a New York-based
family foundation. The four children and seven grandchildren of Jacob
M. Kaplan constitute the Fund’s Board of Trustees. Assets as of
March 2009 are approximately $120 million. Three-fifths of the annual
grants budget is awarded by the trustees acting in common.
I. COMMON GRANTS
There are four official Fund grant programs:
- City Life
- Historic Preservation
City Life Program.
The City Life Program concentrates on public spaces and public
services throughout the five boroughs of New York City. It focuses
particularly on parks and streets.
• Parks. Projects to: assure public access to well-maintained
parks and greenery in all neighborhoods; enhance public uses of
harbor and shoreline; and promote community participation in parks
governance and operations.
• Streets. Projects to: advocate more and better
rail, bus, and water transport; expand pedestrian zones and bikepaths;
and regulate truck and automobile traffic.
The Environment Program concentrates on marine conservation,
especially in ocean waters that lie beyond the jurisdiction of a single
national government. The program currently supports grantees working
to: create international protections for species and ecoregions of
the High Seas; educate scientists and the public about the value and
vulnerability of the ocean as a world system; and foment civil society
movements to protect Arctic waters and Arctic coastal communities.
The Operating Board is currently reviewing proposals for
the preservation and protection of major archaeological sites in
North Africa and Southwest Asia. In addition, the Fund also supports:
development of a movement to inventory and protect North American
industrial architecture; zoning protections for twentieth century
architecture in Miami and Havana; and the rescue of particularly
valuable / particularly threatened buildings in New York City.
The Fund aims to support: a) comprehensive immigration policy reform for the United States; and b) the integration of immigrants into local and national communities. The former aim is pursued through grants for public education and advocacy. The latter is pursued by efforts, initiated by the Fund, to: bolster local immigrant-friendly policies and programs; highlight immigrant contributions to the commonweal; and establish, with the Migration Policy Institute, a new award – the E Pluribus Unum Prize – intended to honor government agencies, non-profit organizations, businesses, and individuals who have succeded in integrating recent immigrants and adding value to the larger community.
The great majority of projects funded through the
four Common Grant programs are solicited by Kaplan Fund staff. Unsolicited
written inquiries are welcome, however. Organizations should submit
a brief letter – no more than two pages – describing their
work and its relevance to the specific program interests of the Fund.
Send to: Angela Carabine, Grants Manager, JM Kaplan Fund, 261 Madison
Avenue 19th Floor, New York NY 10016. Telephone inquiries are discouraged.
In addition to these principal efforts, the Fund also sponsors
Furthermore grants in publishing, a program directed by president
emeritus Joan K. Davidson. Furthermore
supports books on art, architecture, and design; conservation; cultural history;
and public issues. More
information about Furthermore can be obtained from the program’s
office at PO Box 667, Hudson NY 12534, telephone 518-828-8900.
III. DISCRETIONARY GRANTS
Approximately two-fifths of the Fund's
annual grants budget is distributed to organizations selected by individual
on the basis of their own investigations. These discretionary grants
support a wide
variety of activities, including:
- art, architecture, publishing, and design;
- conservation of land and buildings;
- policy analysis and discussion of civic issues;
- human rights and social justice.
Most discretionary grants support groups or activities in New York City and New York State,
the traditional focus of Kaplan Fund philanthropy. Discretionary grant proposals are by