The Jack Kagan Foundation has four main themes for giving. These include veterans, children, medicine, and community. There are many organizations whose programs touch more than one of these mission areas, such as assistance dogs and therapeutic riding. Our four main focus areas for giving include:
As a veteran of WWII, Jack Kagan was very supportive of those who also served their country in the military. His personal love of sailing and other water sports, combined with this passion for helping veterans, culminated in his desire to find ways to enable veterans (especially disabled veterans) to sail, dive, and learn other skills on or in the water. The Jack Kagan Foundation provides grants to support several ongoing programs that serve this purpose, as well as several outstanding organizations who serve veterans in other ways. Current and former grant recipients from our Foundation include:
At the Jack Kagan Foundation, we are passionate about supporting those who have served their country in the armed services. We are committed to sustaining Jack’s legacy of supporting veterans through organizations dedicated to helping them. Jack’s determination to support veterans arose from his own service in the Army during WWII. He experienced the realities of war, and saw first hand the ways in which veterans are underserved once their service ended. It is alarming, but perhaps not surprising to know that approximately 83% of US military members have experienced some form of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) as a result of their service just since 9/11. Many of their significant needs go unresolved, and disabled veterans are impacted the most.
We select what our research shows to be among the best veteran’s charities to support in their ongoing efforts to help veterans living with disabilities and trauma. These organizations have been vetted by our team and have run some of the most effective veteran assistance programs in the US. Current and former grant recipients from our Foundation include:
Chesapeake Region Accessible Boating (CRAB)
CRAB’s mission is to bring the thrill, freedom, and therapeutic value of sailing to people with disabilities, recovering warriors, and local youth from at-risk neighborhoods. CRAB provides sailing experiences and instruction to over 1,000 guests every year from its base of operations at Sandy Point State Park in Annapolis, MD. Thanks to the numerous CRAB volunteer skippers, crew, and support staff, sailing programs are held every week from April through October and include Family Sail Sundays, Group Sails, Sailing Camps and Clinics, and Regattas.
In 2017, the CRAB fleet was modernized and six new Beneteau First 22A boats (A for Adaptive) were acquired and modified for guests. In addition, the fleet offers a Martin 16 with a “sip & puff” steering system that allows a quadriplegic skipper to adjust the sails and move the tiller.
Jack Kagan became extremely interested in CRAB, and envisioned replicating their efforts one day. He began supporting them with significant donations of both funding and materials. The Foundation continues this legacy of support, and has purchased three Beneteau boats for CRAB. Each of the three boats is named for a Kagan family member or one of Jack’s boats – the Little Bit, the Lainie (for Elaine Kagan) and the Andrea (his deceased daughter). The Foundation is also supporting their effort to acquire a new marina to expand the fleet.
Diveheart works to build confidence, independence and self-esteem in children, adults and veterans of all abilities through scuba diving, scuba therapy and related activities. Utilizing certified adaptive dive buddies, Diveheart provides safe and inclusive activities for adaptive divers to enjoy the wonders of the aquatic world. Diveheart focuses on abilities – not disabilities – to instill the can-do spirit in order to inspire participants to take on challenges that before might have seemed impossible.
Diveheart works with individuals who have a variety of disabilities, including physical and developmental disabilities, vision and hearing impairments, amputations, traumatic brain injuries, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and more. They have programs across the globe.
Servicemembers Undertaking Disabled Sports (SUDS)
SUDS is designed to help improve the lives of wounded, injured and ill service members who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. The program is for service members who have a permanent physical disability requiring adaptation. By training the warriors in a challenging and rewarding activity it can help facilitate the rehabilitation process and promote mobility. Offering this venue provides the warrior with a sport they can enjoy during their rehabilitation and throughout their life.
SUDS was established in February of 2007 at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, DC. Run by a dedicated staff of volunteers, they are passionate about helping our service members learn about adventure sports.
U.S. Sailing Center for Martin County (USSCMC)
USSMC began as a handful of dedicated sailors committed to the development of a community sailing center. They were granted a charter from US SAILING. Bolstered with this endorsement the United States Sailing Center – Martin County opened for business in 1992 on the shores of the old Jensen Beach Causeway.
The initial Sailing Center consisted of a modest tent, a camper and a few donated boats. The facility became designated by the United States Sailing Association as a US Sailing Center. This honor recognizes that USSCMC exceeds all the required standards set forth by U.S. Sailing and maintains an impressive commitment to high quality public access to sailing. The USSCMC hosts large-scale elite events like Junior Olympics on an annual basis.
The mission of the 23rd Veteran organization is simply to “provide happier, healthier lives for veterans living with trauma.” Personal trainers, positive psychologists, and military personnel collectively created the 23V Recon Playbook. This playbook is a unique 14-week full exposure focused on removing the negative effect of trauma.
The 14 weeks consist of and outward-bound type outdoor adventure, intense focus on fitness training and positive psychology, and exploring and addressing trigger associations.
Based on self-reported data, this is one of the most effective programs developed for military and veterans who’ve experience trauma.
Canine Companions for Independence (CCI)
Founded in 1975, Canine Companions for Independence® is a non-profit organization that enhances the lives of people with disabilities by providing highly trained assistance dogs and ongoing support to ensure quality partnerships. They have locations throughout the country.
Canine Companions Provides Assistance Dogs for:
- Adults– Adults with disabilities are partnered with service or hearing dogs to increase independence.
- Children – Assistance dogs perform physical tasks for children with a range of disabilities to increase independence with support from an adult.
- Veterans– Wounded veterans and veterans with disabilities are matched with assistance dogs for greater independence*.
- Professionals – Assistance dogs are expertly trained and partnered with a working professional in a health care, visitation, criminal justice, or education setting.Horses for Heroes
Horses for Heroes
A unique horsemanship, wellness and Skill-set Restructuring™ program based in Santa Fe, NM, the Horses for Heroes program is provided free of charge to all post-9/11 veterans and active military, focusing on those who have sustained Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, physical injuries, or have experienced combat trauma during their time serving our country.
Here, veterans are hands-on with horses. They begin with groundwork and progress to riding, as well as participating in other aspects of ranch life including working cattle. Horse and handler bond through communication, trust and understanding of the horses’ natural instincts. Acknowledging the value of the military skills that each participant possesses, horsemanship and ranch skills are a perfect template to restructure those skills.
The ranch is drug and alcohol free, and most importantly, comrades not counselors.
The Jack Kagan Foundation is committed to help children in need, especially those orphaned or who are in foster care. Jack was orphaned at birth, so he was acutely aware of the impact that can have. He felt strongly that children who were orphaned, or in a similar situation should be seen and supported. He believed all children, regardless of physical, familial, or financial challenges, should have the opportunity to succeed in life. Today, there are fewer orphanages and many more foster parents, which can also be problematic. According to the most recent data, there are approximately 400,000 children currently in the foster care system in the United States. This is why we extend financial support to a variety of children’s aid organizations and youth charities. Many of these organizations help children in foster care, help facilitate adoption processes, and work toward ensuring that families receive the support they need to provide a positive environment for children.
To meet this important mission, our Foundation has supported many deserving youth organizations including:
New Mexico Children’s Foundation
The New Mexico Children’s Foundation (NMCF) is a visionary, grassroots organization that funds small non-profit children’s organizations throughout New Mexico. They support a variety of efforts, from start-ups with a strong mission to those that are growing. Many have special needs programs, and the spectrum represents all shapes, sizes, and ethnicities. NMCF’s core belief is that most children have a wide range of under-served needs, and the goal is to provide meaningful grants to serve as many of those needs as possible.
The YES Institute
Their mission is to prevent suicide and ensure the healthy development of all youth through powerful communication and education on gender and orientation. They were founded in 1996 to address the high rates of teenage suicide impacting young people who identified or were labeled as gay. Although based in Miami, Florida, the YES Institute has reached communities across the country – from Alabama and Georgia to New York. They have worked in Latin America – including Bogotá, Colombia and Cuernavaca, México. In addition, people travel to Miami from all over the world to participate in their courses.
Las Campanas Compadres
Las Campanas Compadres (LCC) was founded by Lawrence and Suzanna Becerra in May 2007. They started this program devoted to people with special needs, which has access to the Las Campanas club’s top-notch facilities.
They initially began as a therapeutic riding program only, with a North American Handicap Riders Association-rated instructor and a pool of volunteers. Subsequently they expanded to include a therapeutic swimming program. Together, the program had over 100 registered students and underwrote approximately 1,500 lessons per year.
We are sad to say that they have recently ended the LCC endeavors.
Horses that Help
Horses that Help provides free horseback riding and horsemanship training to special needs children, at-risk youth, veterans, and their families, using rescued and rehabilitated horses.
The Children’s Museum of the Treasure Coast
The mission of The Children’s Museum of the Treasure Coast is to offer children and families a place to explore and learn through hands-on activities, educational programs and cultural experiences. Located in the heart of Indian Riverside Park in Jensen Beach, Florida, the Children’s Museum opened in August 2008 and has welcomed over 400,000 visitors and over 50,000 to experience the power of education through their field trip and outreach programs.
The Birthday Party Project
Their mission is to bring joy to children experiencing homelessness through the magic of a birthday party. Pre- and post-pandemic, they host monthly birthday parties at homeless and transitional living facilities across the country. They celebrate all children ages 1-21 that have a birthday that month, and invite all children and family members staying at the agency to join in the party. During the current pandemic, they are not idle: they initiated a new program called “Birthday in a Bag,” and birthday gift for children on their birthday.
MEDICAL SERVICES AND RESEARCH
Jack Kagan was a long-time supporter of local hospitals as well as the latest efforts in medical research. He was personal friends with many of the directors of the Anne Arundel Medical Center, and was a generous supporter of many medical groundbreaking efforts. He was especially interested in the medical research conducted there, and plans for upgrading medical technology.
The Foundation seeks to make grants to continue these foundational efforts. Examples include:
It goes without saying that hospitals and medical research foundations do some of the most important work in today’s society. The medical advancements that have occurred in the last century are astonishing and have enhanced the lives of most people in the world today. Jack Kagan deeply understood the importance of advancing research in the medical field in order to save and improve lives. Throughout his life, Jack Kagan was a long-time supporter of local hospitals, and hospital research foundations. He took a particular interest in medical research, and upgrading medical technology specifically.
For this reason, The Jack Kagan foundation supports organizations that continue these foundational efforts. Examples of these organizations include:
The St. Vincent Hospital Foundation
The St. Vincent Hospital Foundation (SVHF) was established in 1980 by forward-thinking, philanthropic community members who recognized the value that philanthropic support could add to a hospital. They founded SVHF, which is governed by its own independent volunteer Board of Directors drawn from the local community. The Foundation supports the CHRISTUS St. Vincent Health System in providing excellent, compassionate healthcare to patients and families in Santa Fe and northern New Mexico, regardless of ability to pay.
The Bobby Jones Chiari and Syringomyelia Foundation
The Chiari and Syringomyelia Foundation (CSF) is a non-profit organization originally founded in 2007. In 2019, the family of Bobby Jones and the CSF partnered to form the Bobby Jones Chiari & Syringomyelia Foundation (Bobby Jones CSF), remaining a non-profit organization with the goal of raising awareness and finding a cure for Chiari malformation (CM), syringomyelia (SM) and related disorders.
Bobby Jones CSF has funded over $6 million dollars for education and research projects, and meetings, in its first 13 years and has impacted more than 3.5 million people around the world.
Bike MS (Multiple Sclerosis)
Bike MS is a fundraising cycling series of the National MS Society, and raises more money than any other cycling event for any other cause. Cyclists, volunteers, and donors raise funds to help end MS forever. Route distances vary from 15 to 150 miles, with some rides being one or multi-days. The Jack Kagan Foundation annually sponsors Mr. Mike Esmonde, who rides for the MS Florida Chapter.
METAVivor’s mission is to transition metastatic breast cancer (MBC) from a terminal diagnosis to a chronic, manageable disease with a decent quality of life. They exist to sustain hope for those living with stage 4 (MBC). They are a volunteer-led, non-profit organization that funds vital research to help improve the longevity and quality of life for MBC patients.
METAvivor is the only organization in the US that exclusively funds MBC research through a scientific peer-review process. They award research grants to experts engaged in areas of metastatic breast cancer research, and whose proposals show distinct promise in making a difference for the stage 4 breast cancer community.
METAVivor brings attention to the specific issues of stage IV MBC, and raises public awareness about the facts of the disease. For example, each year, 200,000 Americans are diagnosed with breast cancer. Six to ten percent of these diagnoses are metastatic, or stage IV, and approximately another 30% of breast cancer patients develop metastatic breast cancer.
A community of support is one of the most basic needs for anyone facing metastatic cancer. METAvivor began as a support group in Annapolis, Maryland, for local people living with metastatic breast cancer. They have evolved to focus primarily on awareness and raising funds for MBC research, their original support program remains intact.
METAvivor is led by a small staff and volunteers, most of whom are living with metastatic breast cancer. Grants and donations are dedicated to their research grants.
Jack Kagan contributed to his local community. He admired local efforts dedicated to improving the community’s services, education, quality of life, and functional efficiency. He would often review local non-profit organizations and meet with their leaders prior to donating funds or personal assets. In honor of this legacy, the Jack Kagan Foundation seeks out deserving efforts by charities and non-profits in many local communities. Trustees for the Foundation currently reside in Florida and New Mexico, so many community grantees are in these areas, as well area previously supported by Jack. For example, in Florida we support organizations that advance regional/community art and culture, and enhance the quality of life. In New Mexico, we also aid charities that help to preserve and promote Native American history and artwork, service and therapeutic animals, and the exciting sport of Dressage.
Some examples of local charity organizations we support include:
Assistance Dogs of the West (ADW)
ADW has placed more than 300 service dogs with client recipients (including veterans) since 1995. Dogs are specially trained to fill the need for many, including those who require: individual and family support for mobility impairments; autism spectrum disorders; developmental disabilities; seizure disorders; diabetes; post-traumatic stress disorder; and anxiety disorders.
Assistance training is among the most demanding fields of dog training. ADW believes in allowing the dogs to select their human partners – thus choosing their life’s work.
Southwestern Association for Indian Arts (SWAIA) aka the Santa Fe Indian Market
The Santa Fe Indian Market, celebrating its centennial year in 2022, brings together the most gifted Native American artists in the U.S. with millions of visitors and collectors from around the world. The extended weekend of beauty and celebration ranks as the world’s largest and most highly acclaimed Native American arts show. SWAIA’s mission is to bring Native arts to the world by inspiring artistic excellence, fostering education, and creating meaningful partnerships.
Winter Garden Art Association
The Winter Garden Art Association’s mission is to: encourage individual creativity and artistic expression; to promote community involvement and cooperation; and to advance the appreciation, education, and availability of Visual and Cultural arts. They meet this mission by maintaining a facility with programs that nurture the individual and foster growth in the arts.
Family of Friends, Inc.
Family of Friends is a licensed Florida Assisted Living Facility with the Agency of Healthcare Administration and is also licensed as a Limited Mental Health specialty center. Their non-profit program is a cost-friendly alternative to higher priced residential placement facilities in the area.
Central Florida Dreamplex
Their mission is to provide opportunity and inclusion for sport, recreation, therapy, and employment for all persons regardless of ability. Located in a center designed specifically for individuals with physical and/or cognitive disabilities, their programs range from traditional and recreational therapies, to adaptive sports and group fitness classes for the whole family. Members, patients, and visitors include those with autism spectrum disorder, Down syndrome, sensory processing disorder, cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, spina bifida, spinal cord injury, traumatic brain injury, amputees, visual impairments and other learning and intellectual disabilities.
The Santa Fe Dressage Association
The Santa Fe Dressage Association (SFDA) is a Group Member Organization of the United States Dressage Federation. SFDA is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization whose mission is to promote the sport of dressage through education and recognized shows.
The Dressage Club of New Mexico
The Jack Kagan sponsors a scholarship through the Dressage Club of New Mexico. This scholarship is awarded to a promising young/junior dressage rider in need of financial support to continue in the sport.