The Mayer and Morris Kaplan Family Foundation is a multi-generational family foundation inspired by a tradition of Tzedakah, lifelong learning, and a commitment to social justice. We are dedicated to advancing educational opportunities for young people and promoting the sustainability of our natural environment. We focus our efforts in Chicago and in communities in which family members live.
Through family engagement and a commitment to lifelong learning, the Foundation strives to improve under-resourced communities by focusing on issues of social justice. Utilizing a rigorous, compassionate, and innovative approach, we endeavor to strengthen our own family as well as families in our communities.
The Mayer and Morris Kaplan Family Foundation: A Brief History
Our multigenerational family foundation is the culmination of the work of our founders, whose influence continues to be an example for successive generations. Mayer Kaplan escaped the Soviet Union in the early 1900s and arrived in America with limited English speaking ability and no employment. His grit and perseverance eventually led him to open a small mattress factory in Chicago, where he was joined by his son Morris after he graduated from college during the Great Depression. The company became a franchise of the Sealy Mattress Company in 1939 and their business grew exponentially over the decades. Mayer and Morry adhered to the Jewish tradition of Tzedakah in which giving to those less fortunate is an obligation: to help the recipient become self-reliant and to help the world become a just and equitable place for all. They created the Mayer & Morris Kaplan Family Foundation in 1955 as a vehicle to live out their philosophy of civic participation and responsibility. Their legacy continues and inspires us as we strive to appreciate beauty, art and the environment, and to engage in meaningful work.
Kaplan Foundation Values
We believe in the importance of being a multi-generational family who engages with one another in the present, and in the pursuit of effective and impactful philanthropy. It is through the time we spend working to help others, debating strategies and building consensus that our family continues to grow together as a cohesive community of diverse individuals.