Hello to all,
First and foremost, we would like to thank everyone for their continued support of the Foundation in Jay’s honor. The first six months have been an incredible experience, and the James Joseph Kaplan Foundation has raised nearly $23,000.
In May, we proudly established the Foundation’s first award at Jay’s high school, Ithaca High School (IHS). The James Joseph Kaplan Independent Spirit Award will be given each year to a senior who best exemplifies the qualities and characteristics of Jay, approaching their work and lives with great creativity, kindness, and humor. Jay’s teachers, coaches, experiences and especially his friends at IHS played a great role in shaping the person he became, and it seemed only fitting that the Foundation’s first award be at IHS.
We are pleased to announce that the first recipient of the James Joseph Kaplan Independent Spirit Award is Jacob Evelyn. In addition to his incredible academic performance, there are numerous things about Jacob that feel so fitting for him to be the first recipient of this award. From selling sections of his own hair to raise money for charity, to writing and filming a spy comedy for a senior project (“Mission: Improbable”), to asking his date to prom in a rap over the PA system during morning announcements, the more we get to know Jacob, the more thrilled we are to have him as the first recipient of this award in Jay’s honor. His free-spirited nature, overall good humor and humility make his achievements that much more impressive – not to mention that he’s just an all-around really great guy.
The following is a poem Jacob wrote that placed second in a regional high school poetry contest:
The Road Not Taken for a Reason
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And I remembered that line of Frost
In which another traveler stood.
I did what Robert said I should,
And took the path that’s rarely crossed.
‘Twas poorly marked, and I lost the trail,
But neither could I find my way back.
I cried out for help, to no avail,
Heard only the echo of my wail,
So on I walked, and made my own track.
It soon grew dark, and though I was lost,
Cut up by thorns, and dying of thirst,
I kept in my head the words of Frost,
And vowed to walk, no matter the cost;
I thought that I had bested the worst.
Still to this day, I’m under the sky,
Lost in the woods to wander about,
I took the road less traveled by,
But not a day’s passed in which I don’t sigh,
And wish I had taken the other route.
Jacob has spent the summer traveling in France and London, and he will be attending Yale University this fall. We wish him the very best of luck in his many future endeavors and look forward to keeping in touch.
We have several things in development for the Foundation, so please be sure to check the website again in a couple of months. Furthermore, we are always excited to hear more ideas for activities worth considering. Because the Foundation is under the umbrella of the Fidelity Charitable Gift Organization, we are currently limited to ideas that involve other charitable organizations, such as schools, charities and other 501(c)3 nonprofits. In other words, gifts, grants and awards cannot be made directly to individuals at this time. However, we love hearing all ideas, and even if they don’t work now, they may work further down the road. Please feel free to e-mail any suggestions to JamesJosephKaplanFoundation@gmail.com.
Unrelated to the Foundation but still very exciting, we are grateful to Collegetown Bagels (CTB), a local restaurant in Ithaca that Jay frequented while growing up, who has named a sandwich in Jay’s honor. Next time you’re in town, consider stopping by CTB and enjoying a Jay Kaplan. Thanks to Jay’s vegetarian ways, it’s both delicious and economical.
Thank you all so much for your continued support, enthusiasm, and encouragement. We could not do it without you, and we are thrilled to have as many people involved in the Foundation as would like to be. As mentioned above, please feel free to e-mail any ideas, suggestions and/or questions toJamesJosephKaplanFoundation@gmail.com.
We look forward to hearing from you, and we will be in touch to keep you posted on the Foundation’s activity.