The HG Kaplan foundation has been instrumental in providing aid and improving the quality of life for communities in need throughout Latin America. Their team has worked tirelessly on a wide variety of projects that target a range of important goals, including health, education, and community development.
The foundation was established by Gary Kaplan, a businessman from Brooklyn who relocated to Costa Rica with his family in the 1990s. One of Kaplan’s first charitable projects was assisting Costa Rican families who were displaced after catastrophic mudslides by providing funds to rebuild their homes.
Most of the foundation’s projects are built around a few primary goals. First, health education is a priority for improving safety, hygiene, and nutrition. This reduces illness and empowers children to stay healthy into adulthood. The foundation also aims to provide daycare services for families with young children, which allows one or both parents to work without worrying about childcare.
The foundation provides basic necessities to families and children in need, too. Volunteers build beds for children, improving their health and quality of life. Additionally, the foundation works with grocery chains to source food and water.
In 2018, the HG Kaplan Foundation began one of its largest and most impactful projects to date. As protests and unrest spread through Nicaragua due to anger with the country’s president, many Nicaraguans fled the country in hopes for a more stable life for their children. By the end of 2019, it’s estimated that over 55,000 Nicaraguans traveled to Costa Rica for refuge.
Costa Rica has been commended for its support for refugees. Asylum in Costa Rica is accessible for many refugees, and the country aims to provide education for all children regardless of citizenship or nationality. However, resources are stretched thin, and many refugees in Costa Rica are still in need.
The HG Kaplan Foundation made financial contributions to the organizations that were assisting Nicaraguan refugees in Costa Rica. With this support, many local communities were able to offer more resources to families.
While Gary Kaplan was honored that his foundation could help in this way, he also wanted to connect with the refugee families personally. He recognized how important fun is for all children, especially children in the midst of a crisis.
At the end of 2019, Kaplan, his family, volunteers from the foundation, and local citizens hosted a massive party and dinner for refugee children. Donning a chef’s hat, Kaplan served food to more than 800 children in an event that brought fun, socialization, and memorable moments to the community.
Gary Kaplan led another charitable endeavor when traveling to Zambia. While there, he saw women and children standing in line to gather water from a small, dirty stream. He was struck by how water, a necessity that he had taken for granted, was not available to everyone. Although this is a vital resource for health and well-being, millions of people don’t have access to adequate quantities of safe drinking water.
As a businessman, Kaplan says that he immediately tries to think of solutions for problems he sees. He realized that the problem was far more widespread than he could manage on his own. However, he knew he had the means to help at least one community, so he got to work.
With help from a local magistrate, Kaplan was able to plan and fund a pipe to pump water from a nearby river to this Zambian community. Then, he financed the building of a well so that the community members could store and ration the water.
The HG Kaplan Foundation bases their work on four major philosophies:
1. Innovation is a must.
2. Integrity is the way.
4. Every penny counts.
Their goal is to find creative solutions to problems with complete honesty and transparency. No matter where in the world they work or what the specific project goals are, the foundation aims to keep a consistent vision.
The HG Kaplan Foundation also works to inspire and educate volunteers, which leads to a long-lasting impact as they continue their philanthropic work elsewhere. Through the charity’s orientation and training programs, volunteers learn a range of skills that empower them to continue performing community service effectively.
Gary Kaplan and the HG Kaplan Foundation have served communities in need with both hands-on work and financial support. The foundation has big plans for future projects to help communities access the resources they need to live safely, healthily, and happily.