How Kaplan Educational Foundation (KEF) helps traditionally underrepresented students

Today, Kaplan is a global educational leader serving 4,000+ education partners and over 12,000 corporate clients across 27 countries, so it can be hard to believe that the company’s origins date back to a basement in Brooklyn, New York. In 1938, Stanley H. Kaplan founded his company after being denied entrance to medical school due to anti-Semitic quota policies that were in effect at the time. Stanley Kaplan believed in accessible education for all students, regardless of their backgrounds, and sought to help any student in need.

Today, accessible education for all is the organization’s core value. Nothing better illustrates Kaplan’s commitment to this value than the Kaplan Educational Foundation (KEF).

The Kaplan Educational Foundation is a 501(c) (3) charity that offers scholarship opportunities and other assistance to community college students who are traditionally underrepresented, including African Americans, Latinos, and Native Americans. KEF’s trailblazing program, The Kaplan Leadership Program (KLP), utilizes a unique model that addresses the needs of the “whole” student for low-income, high-potential community college students.

The program facilitates the successful transfer of community college students of exceptional academic merit from New York City’s community colleges to top 4-year universities throughout the country. The program prepares them to succeed academically and assume leadership roles in their professions and communities. Since its inception in 2006 through 2022, the program has provided comprehensive support to 15 cohorts of 129 scholars.

The KLP Program proves that the KEF vision of a world where a college education is accessible and attainable for all is within reach. All the Kaplan Scholars receive comprehensive financial and academic support, transfer admissions consulting, and leadership skill development opportunities as a part of the KLP.

KLP’s numbers speak for themselves. More than 85% of all Kaplan Scholars earn a bachelor’s degree, graduating from top-tier schools including Yale, Stanford, Brown, Amherst, Cornell, Mount Holyoke, and Smith. Today, scholars practice law and medicine, conduct scientific research, serve in business, education, and engineering, and lead in government and public and private industries.

KEF is supported by a generous endowment fund and operates under the umbrella of Kaplan. Kaplan’s employees are highly involved with KEF, often volunteering their time to help mentor students or contributing financial donations toward assisting scholars. Kaplan Educational Foundation is known for its tireless work toward achieving accessible education for all. In 2017, Nancy Lee Sánchez, the KEF Executive Director at the time, accepted City and State Magazine’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Award for Philanthropy on behalf of Kaplan and its employees for their support of KEF.

The award recognizes individuals and organizations that donate their time, resources, and finances to charitable initiatives that serve the greater good. This year, City and State Magazine has also recognized incoming KEF Executive Director Nolvia Delgado, who is a KLP alumnus herself, as one of their “Above & Beyond: Innovators.” The highly selective list recognizes transformative leaders across New York who work in government, business, and the nonprofit sector and have dedicated their time and work to improving the lives of students and professionals.

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