Thursday, November 12, 2015
In Chronicle OpEd, JM Kaplan’s Leaders Discuss Innovation Prize
In January, our foundation put out a call to anyone in America with a promising solution to a social problem.
In return, we offered 10 prizes, each worth up to $175,000 over three years — enough, we hoped, to set a fledgling effort on the path to success. We held our breath, watching applications trickle in. Would we catch the eye of wildly inventive social innovators?
As a family foundation, the J.M. Kaplan Fund has supported early-stage innovation for 70 years. So we knew well that talented people are seeking to solve social challenges in creative ways. We also knew that there aren’t nearly enough resources to launch and sustain worthy ideas to transform society. The J.M.K. Innovation Prize gave us an opportunity to find and fund those projects, priming the pump of future aid from other grant makers.
But we’d never done anything quite like this. For us, the prize was an experiment in philanthropy. . .