High Atlas Foundation (AFGG IF 2012 Grant Recipient)


Organization’s Geographic Region of Focus: Morocco

Alliance Areas of Concern: Poverty, Education, Environment

Challenge: Grow earned income of resident client population, as well as create source of sustainable revenue for organizational needs.

Solution: Obtain organic certification for residents’ agricultural products; create supply chain that eliminates middle man, and allows organization to benefit.

Excerpted from the Proposal:

“The High Atlas Foundation (HAF) works to establish development projects in different parts of Morocco that local communities design and manage, and that are in partnership with government and non-government agencies.  HAF serves rural villages with little electricity, water, or road infrastructure, where communities still practice a subsistence economy of agriculture and pastoralism in steep, difficult terrain and earn some of the lowest incomes nationally.  HAF initiatives involve planting fruit and nut trees, thereby facilitating a transition from subsistence farming to intentional cultivation of crops for market.

This project builds on the agricultural success of the High Atlas Foundation with rural Moroccan communities by creating a value-added enterprise that includes organic certification of almonds and walnuts (doubling the products’ value for farming families) and establishing partnerships to export the nuts to the U.S. organic market where they are in short supply.   Gaining organic certification and establishing buying partners in the United States will realize the great potential for rural Moroccan development and enable HAF’s community work to run the full cycle from building tree nurseries to the export of the products at maximum value for the communities.

Once organic certification is acquired, HAF will manage the export process of almonds and walnuts through its community facilitators.  HAF will create a Moroccan-US organization that will work with farming families and their village associations and provide technical advice regarding organic fruit tree agriculture and support the export of their products. This project that will guarantee for farming families the purchase of their nuts at double the amount that they currently receive will also create a new revenue stream (about 2% of the purchase value) for HAF by providing this service to the communities of the Toubkal commune, and beyond (there are ten such communes in the High Atlas Mountains that are next targeted by this project).  In addition to tree nurseries, the new revenue stream will support HAF’s community projects in irrigation, clean drinking water, women and youth development, and experiential training.”

For more information about High Atlas Foundation.

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Leonard Kaplan’s creation of the Alliance for Global Good was the expression of his passionate philanthropy.  It’s also the logical outgrowth of all that came before it.  Together with his wife and philanthropic partner Tobee, and through a family foundation later renamed TOLEO, they gave unselfishly of resources and time to improve their community and the world for more than twenty-five years.

Tobee & Leonard Kaplan

Tobee & Leonard Kaplan

The Alliance’s focus on five areas of giving—health, education, environment, poverty, and world relations—is mirrored in Leonard’s past.  He has made major gifts to Duke University Medical Center and the Duke Comprehensive Cancer and Heart Centers, to the Lineberger Cancer Center at UNC Chapel Hill, to the Cardiac Rehabilitation program at Moses Cone Hospital, and had a leadership position at the Greensboro Cardiac Rehabilitation Program.  In 2004, Leonard and Tobee built the new building for the Women’s Resource Center in Greensboro. He created scholarships for residents of Guilford County to attend North Carolina colleges and universities, and was a founding donor of Elon University Law School.  Critically, in partnership with the Kellogg Foundation, Leonard helped create the Center for Organizational Leadership, a philanthropic studies program (which was one of first nationally to educate non-profit executives).

“Everyone wants to leave something to their grandchildren.”

“The money won’t matter if the world they live in is so far gone,” Kaplan says. “The opportunity now is to take some of what might become their inheritance, and use it soon to make the world a better place.”

Addressing poverty, Leonard made possible the building of two houses for Habitat for Humanity, and by providing food for hungry people both close to home in Greensboro, and as far abroad as the former Soviet Union.   The Kaplans were staunch supporters of Trickle Up, which provides grant financing to women in the developing world who want to start their own microenterprise.

Leonard gave not only of his wealth, but also of his time and expertise, taking on leadership positions in many organizations and campaigns such as the Greater Greensboro United Way DeToqueville Society, and as a Core Member of ACTION Greensboro, a nonprofit dedicated to improving public education, revitalization of downtown Greensboro, and leveraging economic development.

Active in their community of faith, the Kaplans built a new building for the Greensboro Jewish Federation, and for the Hillel youth organization at U.N.C., Chapel Hill.  He served on the board of the Jewish Foundation of Greensboro, and on that of the national Hillel organization, and was a founder of Camp Ramah Darom.

Viewing giving as a responsibility of affluence, Leonard led by example, and encouraged others to do the same.  He created Wealth & Giving, an educational program designed to inspire the largest wealth holders in this country to be more generous.  The Alliance continues that work by promoting and providing donors with opportunities for effective and efficient giving.

Read more about the Five Guiding Principles.