Here at Inside Philanthropy, we have covered hundreds of foundations that give locally in New York, since it is such a major hub of philanthropy in America. New York and the broader Tri-State Area have lots of big-name funders with prominent reputations and well-known missions. But the region is also home to numerous low-key foundations that fly under the radar and that give quietly without all that attention. One such funder is the Debra and Kenneth Caplan Foundation—and here’s what local grantseekers should know about it.
It was Founded by a Blackstone Group VeteranExec
The Caplan Foundation is the creation of Kenneth and Debra Caplan. Kenneth Caplan is the co-head of global real estate for Blackstone and has been with the firm since 1997. He’s a Harvard alum and previously worked in the real estate investment banking group at Lazard Freres & Co. Kenneth and his wife, Diane, started their foundation around 2014 to channel their charitable giving. The foundation does not have a website or make its guidelines or preferences clear to the public.
Health and Education are Top Interests
As with many wealthy couples, Kenneth and Debra Caplan regularly support the schools they went to. This has translated into a substantial number of grants for their alma maters, Harvard University and the University of Michigan. Other education interests are tutoring programs and progressive charter school education for underprivileged students. Kenneth serves on the board of trustees of Prep for Prep, which “develops ethical and effective leaders who reflect our diverse society for the enduring benefit of all.”
In health funding, the Caplans typically focus on cancer care and research. Grants have gone to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.
Many New York and New Jersey Groups Receive Support
Through annual grants, the Caplan Foundation regularly supports local organizations, such as the East Harlem Tutorial Program and Harlem Village Academies. In New Jersey, the couple has recently supported the Saint Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston, Sharing Network Foundation in New Providence, and National Council of Jewish Women in Livingston.
Many of the Caplans’ local grants total between a few hundred dollars and about $100,000. A majority of this support comes in the form of general and unrestricted funding.
Unsolicited Funding Requests are Unwelcome
Not only does the Caplan Foundation not have a website to guide grantseekers, but it also indicates on its tax forms that it only funds preselected organizations. Therefore, this is not a foundation to submit to unsolicited. However, it is still relatively new on the grantmaking scene and worth keeping an eye on, should the Caplans alter their procedures and involvement.