Mayer and Morris Kaplan Family Foundation: Grants for College Readiness

OVERVIEW: The Mayer and Morris Kaplan Foundation focuses its college readiness grants on increasing access to college and helping college students complete their Associate’s and Bachelor’s degree programs.

IP TAKE: Kaplan limits its college readiness grants to organizations located within the city limits of Chicago, Illinois and Los Angeles, California.

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. Areas of giving priority for Kaplan’s Education program include college access and post-secondary opportunities and success.

The Kaplan Family Foundation’s main grantmaking programs are Environment and Education. Its Environment program focuses its giving on mitigating the effects of climate change and its Education its program and concentrates its grantmaking on increasing access to college and helping students complete their college degrees.

The foundation’s college access prioritizes organizations that prepare students for college enrollment, supporting students during the summer prior to their first year of college and helping students through the first year of their post-secondary education. 

Kaplan’s post-secondary opportunities and post-secondary success prioritizes organizations that focus on freshman and sophomore student retention, connecting students with university resources, and offering student support for the completion of their degree programs. The foundation also seeks projects and programs helping students transition from college to their careers, transfer between higher education institutions, and connect with vocational, training, and apprenticeship opportunities.

Education grant amounts typically range between $10,000 and $60,000. 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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