Mayer and Morris Kaplan Family Foundation: Grants for Climate Change and Clean Energy

OVERVIEW: The Mayer and Morris Kaplan Foundation focuses its grantmaking on mitigating the effects of climate change, climate change education and promoting clean energy policies.

IP TAKE: Kaplan prioritizes short-term threats and opportunities, using data to make informed decisions and innovative approaches to solutions in its climate change grantmaking.

PROFILE: Established in 1958 by Mayer Kaplan and his son Morris, the Mayer and Morris Kaplan Family Foundation is a “[m]ulti-generational family foundation inspired by the tradition of Tzedakah, a lifelong learning and commitment to social justice.” Morris Kaplan, along with an executive team developed the Sealy Posturepedic Mattress. Based in Highland Park, Illinois, the foundation gained a large portion of its assets from the sale of the family business and a gift from longtime family friend, Jerome Joss.

The Kaplan Family Foundation focuses its giving on mitigating the effects of climate change through its Environment program and increasing access to college through its Education program.

The foundation’s Environment program support organizations “[r]education the negative impacts of climate change in order to promote the health of people, places and the planet.” Specific areas of interest include clean energy policy and climate change education. Kaplan's clean energy policy grantmaking seeks organizations that use policy-focused and legislative action to affect climate change. It also seeks organizations that work to reduce fossil fuel use and mitigating the impacts of fossil fuel extraction; promote clean energy; and work with local and state governments, as well as other key actors, to addressing climate change through clean energy solutions.

Kaplan’s climate change Education focus area seeks organizations developing climate change curriculum and those working with educators and community-based organizations to promote climate change curriculums and advocacy.

Climate change grant amounts typically range between $10,000 and $35,000. Past grantees include Renew Oregon, which received support for its cap and trade legislation; and the Conservation Law Foundation, which received a grant for its campaign against natural gas infrastructure. To learn more about the types of organizations Kaplan supports and at what level, explore its recent grants lists.

The Mayer and Morris Kaplan Foundation accepts unsolicited letters of inquiry and requests for funding; however, grantseekers must first contact program staff prior to LOI submission.

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