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Crowd-sourced prosthetics, services for incarcerated parents, military veterans growing sustainable food, and fish tacos in public schools are all projects deemed worthy by the first JMK Innovation Prize.
While seemingly disparate enterprises, this new initiative was started in December of 2015 by the JM Kaplan Foundation to support social-sector innovation. According to an article in InsidePhilanthropy.com “Kaplan set out in January 2015 to ignite change with its Innovation Prize, which is giving up to $175,000 over three years to 10 early-stage social innovation projects across the U.S. that offer "cutting-edge, interdisciplinary and actionable approaches to important social problems."
The J.M. Kaplan Fund was created by Jacob M. Kaplan, who made his fortune when he sold the Welch's Grape Juice Company to a cooperative of grape growers, an unusul move that spawned other agricultural co-ops in the food and beverage industry.
The JMK Innovation Prize will help Bay2Tray grow. Bay2Tray is an extension of Real Good Fish, which social entrepreneur Alan Lovewell co-founded to connect people back to the natural environment including the people that harvest food. Bay2Tray recognizes the need for healthier foods for children, and the need for people to have more contact with fishermen and appreciation of the ocean.
“Given that we are an organization improving access to healthful local seafood, I realized that the people in our community that should benefit the most nutritionally and educationally, are children,” said Bay2Tray co-founder Alan Lovewell. “Children who will be the future stewards of our oceans and planet—and children who get their most nutritious meals from school lunch programs and face health risks that no generation before them have experienced.”
“Bay2Tray helps solve multiple problems including food waste and poorly nourished school kids while supporting local fisherman and the Bay area fishery, Real Good Fish,” said the J.M. Kaplan Fund’s Executive Director Amy Freitag. “We are especially impressed with Bay2Tray’s focus on transforming school lunches while educating kids and communities about the bounty of their local waters.”