More than 30 years ago, Gary Kaplan left his hometown of Brooklyn, NY to become a traveling entrepreneur and philanthropist. Kaplan formed the HG Kaplan Foundation, an organization designed to assist children in underserved and underprivileged communities. He offers mentorship programs and financial resources to these children and their families to provide young people with opportunities for future success.
Gary Kaplan’s Traveling Inspires Him to Give
Kaplan’s inspiration for his foundation came from his extensive travels to various parts of the world as a young adult. He wanted to know what life was like outside of New York, so Kaplan went to Cuba and parts of Africa, where he saw that women traveled long distances to find necessities for their families, including clean water. Kaplan was surprised that so many people live without basic necessities and decided to do something about it.
Kaplan relied on his natural business acumen to view underserved African communities as a failing Fortune 500 company that needed capital and administrative assistance to be restored. Kaplan encountered many of the challenges he faced this way: assessing the problem and coming up with a solution.
Kaplan’s Help With the African Water Crisis
When Kaplan went to Zambia, he saw several malnourished women and children carrying buckets for water. They were waiting in line in the intense African heat to gather water from a small hole in the ground. Since the hole was in the ground, there was dirt at the bottom of the hole. This meant that the people were collected dirty water in containers that were already contaminated. Kaplan was deeply moved that the people of Zambia had to live like this.
While he had the resources to help some of the people in the community, he wanted to find a way to help everyone. So, he researched ways to revive the community systems in Zambia to improve the water system.
Gary Kaplan talked with a local magistrate who helped him survey the landscape in the community to make it easier to get water from the makeshift wells in a safe and effective manner. Kaplan and his team taps into the closest freshwater supply and got a pipe to pump water from a nearby river to the center of the community. Kaplan also paid for the construction of a well to store water so members of the community could safely ration the water.
More of Gary Kaplan’s Charitable Efforts
Kaplan’s work to better the lives of individuals and improve communities doesn’t stop at providing water. He has also led efforts to build new roofs on people’s homes or find gainful employment for individuals who are struggling to provide for themselves and their families. Kaplan serves as the liaison between contractors and community members and facilitates the building process. He researches contractors who will offer a fair price to ensure that the construction process is a rewarding one for everyone. Kaplan also takes lots of photos of the projects to share with community members so they can witness the progress.
Gary Kaplan enjoys being involved in community improvement projects and works hands-on as much as possible. While he acknowledges that it is rewarding to fund programs that better the lives of others, it’s especially fulfilling to interact with members of the community that will benefit from his efforts with hands-on activities and building social connection.