Mayer and Morris Kaplan Family Foundation: Grants for College Readiness

OVERVIEW: The Mayer and Morris Kaplan Foundation invests in the environment and education. Its education program prioritizes college access and post-secondary opportunities and success.

IP TAKE: Kaplan funds college readiness through its college access funding program. Subprogram initiatives include support for students during the college application process, the summer prior to college matriculation and the first year of study. Funding is limited to Chicago and Los Angeles.

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 foundation supports causes related to the environment and education. priorities are college access and post-secondary opportunities and success.

Kaplan’s education funding initiatives are college access and post-secondary opportunities and success. Supporting college readiness through the access program, which aims to support students throughout the college application process, during the summer prior to their first semester and throughout their first year of study. One grantee, College Track L.A., provides students in the Boyle Heights area of Los Angeles with college counseling and instruction in prerequisite STEM and digital media skills. Another grantee, the Umoja Student Development Corporation of Chicago, supports low-income youth with college and career counseling, curriculum planning, test preparation and family workshops.

Kaplan’s education grants range from $500 to $626,000, with an average grant size of about $25,000. Funding is restricted to organizations operating in Chicago and Los Angeles. Lists of past grantees by year are available at the foundation’s recent grants page.

The Mayer and Morris Kaplan Foundation invites potential applicants to contact foundation staff members by phone to “determine fit with the foundation’s portfolio.” Letters of inquiry are accepted by invitation only.

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