Martin S. Kaplan

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Biographical Information

"Martin S. Kaplan has been a guiding force in developing the field of Religion and Ecology through his energy, intellect and passionate commitment to a better world for all people and all species. He played a leading role in arranging the grants for the ten conferences on World Religions and Ecology held at Harvard’s Center for the Study of World Religions (1996-98), and the culminating conferences at the United Nations and the American Museum of Natural History. He helped enable the two conferences at the American Academy of Arts and Sciences which led to the Fall 2001 issue of Daedalus entitled “Religion and Ecology: Can the Climate Change?”

"As Trustee and Managing Director of the V. Kann Rasmussen Foundation and Trustee of the Germeshausen Foundation, he was instrumental in promoting their progressive grantmaking relating to the environment and other causes. Mr. Kaplan was also a key participant in organizing the Consortium for Conservation Medicine, the Wildlife Trust Alliance, the South Carolina Sustainable Universities Initiative, the Associated Colleges of the South Environmental Initiative, and Grist Magazine, the largest on-line environmental news service. He has provided leadership in supporting environmental programs at Harvard, Columbia, MIT and Yale.

"As Chairman of the Interreligious Affairs Commission of the American Jewish Committee, Mr. Kaplan was active in that institution’s continuing dialogue with Roman Catholic Church leaders. In addition, he has served as a member of the Dean’s Council of Harvard Divinity School and on the Board of the Center for the Study of World Religions at Harvard.

"As Chair of the Massachusetts Board of Education (1992-96), appointed by Governor William F. Weld, he was a leader in the Education Reform Movement, and served as a member of the Education Commission of the States and a director of the National Association of State Boards of Education.

"Mr. Kaplan is a graduate of Columbia College and Harvard Law School. Following a clerkship with Chief Judge Bailey Aldrich of the United States Court of Appeals, Mr. Kaplan has spent his entire legal career at Hale and Dorr and its successor, Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP, recently retiring as a partner. His practice included the representation of public and private corporations, and the development of philanthropic strategies for families and foundations. He has been a frequent speaker on interreligious affairs, environmental issues, education reform, family businesses, and foundations.

"Mr. Kaplan was for ten years a member of the Board of the Boston Foundation, one of the largest community foundations, and chaired its Program Committee. He has also served on the boards of many charitable organizations in the fields of education and youth, and arts and culture, including the Board of Overseers of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. He has held a number of leadership positions at Columbia University, including president of the Columbia College Alumni Association, and was honored by Columbia with the University Alumni Medal (1993) and the John Jay Award (2000)." Mr. Kaplan is married to Wendy Tarlow Kaplan. [1]

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  1. Thomas Berry Foundation 2009 Thomas Berry Award Recipient, organizational web page, accessed April 25, 2012.