Mayer and Morris Kaplan Family Foundation: Grants for College Readiness

OVERVIEW: The Mayer and Morris Kaplan Foundation broadly funds projects and organizations concerned with education—namely college and career success—and the environment, with a focus on clean energy and climate change.

IP TAKE: Kaplan limits its college readiness grants to organizations located within the city limits of Chicago, Illinois, and Los Angeles, California. It invites applicants to contact its program staff before submitting a letter of inquiry.

PROFILE: Established in 1958 by Mayer Kaplan and his son Morris, the Mayer and Morris Kaplan Family Foundation is a “multi-generational family foundation inspired by the tradition of Tzedakah, 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’s main grantmaking programs are Environment and Education.

Kaplan’s Education focus area is primarily concerned with college access and postsecondary success. It “funds direct service and programs in these interest areas, as well as applied research or evaluation intended to develop or improve evidence-based programming.” College Access grants prioritize organizations that “prepare students to apply and enroll in college,” “ensure that students are supported during the summer before the start of college,” and “follow and support students through at least the first year of college.” Its Postsecondary Opportunities grants support “College Completion – Getting students through college,” “Career Success – Making successful transitions from college to career,” and “Progressive Pathways – Progressively building toward college and career success.” Note that education grants are available only to organizations based in Chicago and Los Angeles.

Education grant amounts 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, but grantseekers must first contact program staff prior to LOI submission.

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