The J.M. Kaplan Fund is a family foundation.
What does that mean in this rapidly changing world?
How do we honor the intent of our founder, who established the Fund more than seventy years ago, and the good work of the many family members who have served before, fighting the battles of our time?
We seek to answer these fundamental questions each year here at the Fund.
My grandfather, Jack Kaplan, established the Fund when he sold his business, the Welch’s Grape Juice Company, to its growers, creating one of America’s first and largest agricultural co-ops. Jack’s goal was to create a more just world, and, with the money generated by that transaction, he – and the Fund- were able to support the growth of the labor movement, free education for immigrants, and access to nature for all through public parks.
My mother, Joan Davidson, took this even further. During her seventeen years as the Fund’s president – 1977-1993 – her work made the Fund a powerhouse in historic preservation and nature conservation. During her tenure, the staff and trustees of the Fund led countless hard-fought preservation efforts and became the largest funder of parks in New York City.
Today, under a third generation of leadership – with the names of Davidson, Fonseca, Pickering, and Amis joining the founding Kaplan – we honor our past and confront new challenges and opportunities by focusing on three core areas:
• Social Justice, particularly for immigrants and young people of color in the U.S.
• The Environment, with a focus on slowing the impacts of climate change.
• Conservation of the history of the world’s earlier civilizations.
All three areas continue to be of great interest and passion for our family, as they were for the first two generations of Fund leadership.
As the challenges we face change, so we adapt. We are fortunate to have an extremely talented staff who crafts our response to an ever-evolving nation and planet. And our commitment to all that makes the United States and our culture both livable and idealistic remains constant.
I welcome you to the work of the Fund and thank you for visiting us.