The New York Women’s Foundation Mourns the Loss of Marion Kaplan

The New York Women’s Foundation mourns the loss of Marion Kaplan. An alumna of our Board of Directors, Marion served as Chair of Board, chaired our programs committee and was  a leader of many advisory councils here at The Foundation. A kind, gracious leader, Marion expertly and wholeheartedly guided The New York Women’s Foundation to where it is today. We are grateful for her passionate support and leadership. She will be deeply missed by our community.

Board Alumnae Remember Marion 
From Millie Chan
I remember that when I chaired the board in the 90’s, Marion had cycled off and I convinced her to return. To my surprise she did…Her generous participation was important to the success of The Foundation.
From Elizabeth Fernandez 
I had the great privilege of serving on the board with Marion during my tenure. She was a kick-ass champion for women and diversity, both on the board and in the selection of grantees. This was sad news indeed. Regards to all.
From Karen Phillips
For me as a new member of The New York Women’s Foundation Board, Marion Kaplan embodied the spirit of The Foundation! She displayed warmth and sincerity in welcoming me to the organization. Most of all, her unwavering focus on The Foundation’s mission demonstrated to me immediately that she was ‘WOKE’ – and that was 20 years ago. Marion will truly be missed as a compass to ensure that the work of The Foundation empowers women in New York City.
From Judy Hall
This is such a loss ! I will miss her razor-sharp wit, humor, and unwavering commitment to NYC women and girls. I know many of the alum will have so many memories to share about our Marion.
From Adria Hillman
Marion and I came of Foundation age at about the same time. We were both fierce advocates in our own ways for women. Marion was an amazing collaborative spirit. It was in her bones. I’d be rushing off and she’d say let’s see what the rest of us have to say about that. My most vivid memory was at the day of our Anita hill day with 2000 women looking on Marion opened the session with welcoming warm and wise words about Anita hill sex harassment domestic violence and women’s rights. She will always me remembered.
 From Shona Chakravarty
I had the wonderful pleasure and privilege of working with Marion not only on the Board, but at my day job as well, at the Jewish Fund for Justice (JFJ).  She was a board member there and I was a Program Officer.  So, I was doubly lucky in benefiting from her expertise, insights and humor, for several years!
Marion was instrumental in getting The Foundation to fund policy advocacy and community organizing that led to systemic change in New York.  Her influence cannot be overstated, especially now, when The Foundation is at the forefront of supporting gender and racial justice struggles in New York City.  In those days, when we both helped develop The Foundation’s grantmaking strategy and lead the Grants Committee and shape Grants Allocation process, I liked to think of her as The Foundation’s guiding conscience.  She definitely kept us focused on making the tough, but right, strategic decisions.
On a personal note, she was also a true mentor and friend to me– a real role model.  One of my earliest memories of her was when she received an award from JFJ for being a ‘Woman of Valor,’ which she definitely was.  I don’t think Marion cared much for awards—she didn’t like the fuss – but she would put up with it if it meant more money raised for the causes she believed.  She was a warrior for justice.  She will be deeply missed.
From Madeline Lamour Holder
Marion and I served together on the Programs Committee of The Foundation’s Board. I was a community organizer and she was my mentor. She knew so much about policy advocacy, community organizing and why it was important to learn from the communities served by The Foundation’s mission. How does one live with purpose and conviction? Just be remember Marion Kaplan. Wise, witty and fun, Marion was the gardener of all our hearts. She planted some good seeds in me- in many board Alumnae. She taught us how crucial it was to effect systemic change and who should be leading that change. To her, it was to imperative to include the voice of NYC communities – especially our grantee partners in our work. This is one of the reasons why The Foundation blossomed. One never left Marion’s presence without feeling heard because Marion would remind you that you are important and loved –every time you speak to her. Her gardener’s heart was quick to fight against the weeds -injustices-in our society. This is why we continued to grow.  We all need a Marion Kaplan in our lives. I am so grateful for the time spent together with her. Thanks to her, many of us blossomed. Rest in peace, Marion.
From Rhonda Joy McLean
It was my honor and privilege to serve on The New York Women’s Foundation’s Board of Directors with Marion Kaplan, and I shall always be grateful for her courage, candor, vision and generosity. She was our sister-friend, advisor, counselor and confidante as we worked together over the years to expand our thinking about the role, mission and structure of our beloved Foundation.  We shared a love for music and the arts and I so enjoyed her company. She always pushed us to be strong, think big, work hard and support one another, and we will continue to do so in her memory.

Join us at the Celebrating Women® Breakfast on Thursday, May 4!