Leonard Kaplan’s creation of the Alliance for Global Good is the latest 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 have given unselfishly of resources and time to improve their community and the world for more than twenty-five years.
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 and remain active and enthusiastic supporters of all of its programs.
His gifts to education have been similarly generous. 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 have been a staunch supporter of Trickle Up, which provides grant financing to women in the developing world who want to start their own microenterprise.
Leonard has given 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.
In recognition of his leadership, Leonard was recognized by the Greensboro Chamber of Commerce with its Thomas Z Osborne Citizen of the Year Award and the Benjamin Cone, Sr. Leadership Award. In 1999, he received an honorary Doctorate in Humane Letters from the Jewish Theological Seminary.
Active in their community of faith, the Kaplans have 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 has led by example, and has 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.