J. M. Kaplan Fund
"Jacob Merrill Kaplan (1891-1987) established The J. M. Kaplan Fund, a 501(c)(3) organization, in 1945 and was its president until 1977, his eighty-fifth year. The Fund was capitalized by profits from Mr. Kaplan's business operations, most notably the sale of the Welch Grape Company to the National Grape Co-operative Association in Westfield, New York."  The Kaplan Fund has 4 official grant programs: City Life which focuses on public spaces and services, Environment which aims particularity for marine conservation, Historic Preservation which is concentrated on preserving major archaeological sites and architecture, and Migrations, "aim[ing] to support comprehensive immigration policy reform for the United States and the integration of immigrants into local and national communities".
In 2011, J.M. Kaplan Fund reported a total annual revenue of $30,260,336 and gave $9,317,658 in contributions, grants, and funds.
Finances and Funding the Right Wing
2011 Finances and Donations
In 2011, the J.M. Kaplan Fund gave a total of $9,317,658 in grants and reported receiving no contribution, gift, or grant money itself. J.M. Kaplan donated to the following think tank organizations which make up the State Policy Network.
- Manhattan Institute for Policy Research - $100,000 for social entrepreneurship.
Other major industry connected right wing organizations that received donations from the J.M. Kaplan Fund in 2011 include:
- Atlas Economic Research Foundation - $220,000 for a study of spontaneous orders
- The George Mason University Foundation - $70,000 for a project for new inquiry into social science research
Ties to DonorsTrust, a Koch Conduit
DonorsTrust is considered a "donor-advised fund," which means that it divides its funds into separate accounts for individual donors, who then recommend disbursements from the accounts to different non-profits. Funds like DonorsTrust are not uncommon in the non-profit sector, but they do cloak the identity of the original donors because the funds are typically distributed in the name of DonorsTrust rather than the original donors. Very little was known about DonorsTrust until late 2012 and early 2013, when the Guardian and others published extensive reports on what Mother Jones called "the dark-money ATM of the conservative movement."
The Kaplan Fund contributed $308,000 to DonorsTrust and Donors Capital Fund between 2009 and 2011 (see links to the foundation's IRS forms 990 below).
A report by the Center for Public Integrity exposes a number of DonorsTrust funders, many of which have ties to the Koch brothers. One of the most prominent funders is the Knowledge and Progress Fund, a Charles Koch-run organization and one of the group's largest known contributors, having donated nearly $9 million from 2005 to 2012. Other contributors known to have donated at least $1 million to DonorsTrust include the Richard and Helen DeVos Foundation, Donald & Paula Smith Family Foundation, Searle Freedom Trust, Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, and the John M. Olin Foundation.
Since its inception in 1999, DonorsTrust has been used by conservative foundations and individuals to discretely funnel nearly $400 million to like-minded think tanks and media outlets. According to the organization's tax documents, in 2011, DonorsTrust contributed a total of $86 million to conservative organizations. Many recipients had ties to the State Policy Network (SPN), a wide collection of conservative state-based think tanks and media organizations that focus on shaping public policy and opinion. In 2013, the Center for Media and Democracy released a special report on SPN. Those who received DonorsTrust funding included media outlets such as the Franklin Center and the Lucy Burns Institute, as well as think tanks such as SPN itself, the Heartland Institute, Illinois Policy Institute, Independence Institute, Mackinac Center for Public Policy, South Carolina Policy Council, American Legislative Exchange Council, Manhattan Institute for Policy Research, Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs, and the Cascade Policy Institute.
2010 Finances and Donations
In 2010, the J.M. Kaplan Fund gave a total of $6,140,007 in grants and reported receiving no contribution, gift, or grant money itself. J.M. Kaplan donated to the following think tank organizations which make up the State Policy Network.
- Manhattan Institute for Policy Research - $100,000 for social entrepreneurship initiative.
Other major industry connected right wing organizations that received grants from the J.M. Kaplan Fund in 2010 include:
- Donors Trust - $131,753 - the project for new philanthropy studies
- The George Mason University Foundation - $100,000
- Betsy Davidson
- Brad Davidson
- Joan K. Davidson -- President Emeritus
- Matt Davidson
- Peter Davidson -- Chairman
- Caio Fonseca
- Elizabeth K. Fonseca
- Isabel Fonseca
- Quina Fonseca
- Mary E. Kaplan
- Richard D. Kaplan
- Conn Nugent - Executive Director
- Laura Hansen - Director, Life City Program
- Angela D. Carabine - Grants Manager
- William P. Falahee - Controller
- Ann Birckmayer - Program Associate, Furthermore Grants in Publishing
2003 Discretionary Grant List
- The New York Foundation for the Arts Artists' Fund/ The Richard D. Kaplan Donor-Advised Fund/ For the poster, "My Architect" $305,000
- Historic Annapolis, Inc. - Legacy Campaign/General Support $270,000
- Essential Information, Inc. - General Support $179,400
- Regional Plan Association Inc. - General Support $160,000
- Atlas Economic Research Foundation - The Fund for the Study of Spontaneous Orders $135,000
- Manhattan Institute for Policy Research - Social Entrepreneurship itiative/SocialEntrepreneurship Fund $125,000
Other groups that received less include:
- The Nature Conservancy - $12,500
- Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute - $10,000
- Lawyers Committee for Human Rights - $5,000
- Rainforest Alliance Inc. - $5,000
- Asia Society - $1,000
Resources and articles
Related Sourcewatch articles
- The Free Africa Foundation
- National Audubon Society
- Mark Kaplan
- Energy Future Coalition
- Sudan Open Archive
- National Security Archive: Funders
- Northern Jaguar Project
- United Nations Foundation
- The New Press
- The Consultative Group on Biological Diversity
- WWF Canada
- David Padwa , Ram Dass
- , The JM Kaplan Fund, Grant Programs, Kaplan Fund Website, accessed June 7th, 2013.
- J.M. Kaplan Foundation, Inc,2011 Form 990, organization IRS filing, 2011.
- Rebekah Wilce, A Reporters' Guide to the "State Policy Network" -- the Right-Wing Think Tanks Spinning Disinformation and Pushing the ALEC Agenda in the States, PRWatch.org, April 4, 2013.
- Andy Kroll, Exposed: The Dark-Money ATM of the Conservative Movement, Mother Jones, February 5, 2013.
- Suzanne Goldenberg, "Secret funding helped build vast network of climate denial thinktanks," The Guardian, February 14, 2013.
- Center for Media and Democracy, DonorsTrust and Donors Capital Fund Grant Recipients, SourceWatch.org, accessed December 2014.
- Paul Abowd, Donors use charity to push free-market policies in states, Center for Public Integrity, February 14, 2013.
- Donors Trust, GuideStar.org, IRS form 990, 2011.
- , J.M. Kaplan Fund,2010 Form 990, organization|IRS filing, 2010.