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Founded in 1965 by world famous diamond cutter Lazare Kaplan as an educational endowment providing scholarships for students to attend Sullivan County Community College, the Lazare and Charlotte Kaplan Foundation has grown in scope while remaining true to its original mission –“ to keep kids off the streets”.  The Foundation serves the Livingston Manor first and then the remainder of the Town of Rockland (Roscoe/Lew Beach) if funds allow, awarding scholarships to high school graduates who attend all colleges and trade schools and enabling students to participate in extra-curricular educational programs. In addition, the Kaplan Foundation offers grants to non-profit community organizations to assist them in providing services and programs focused on the youth of the community.  To date, the Foundation has awarded over $2 million to more than 1500 students and numerous community organizations.


The Lazare and Charlotte Kaplan Foundation is managed by a volunteer Board of Directors and its operation is facilitated by the Community Foundation of Orange and Sullivan Counties.  Since 1999, the Community Foundation of Orange and Sullivan Counties (CFOS) has empowered donors to make a profound difference to the quality of life in our region by its effective stewardship of the community’s charitable resources.  CFOS is a leader in scholarship administration and grant making for the benefit of non-profit organizations in our community, region and beyond.


Contributions to the Lazare and Charlotte Kaplan Foundation Fund may be made to CFOS-Lazare and Charlotte Kaplan Fund and may be sent to the Community Foundation of Orange and Sullivan Counties, 30 Scott’s Corners Drive, Suite 203, Montgomery, NY 12549, or may be made securely online at  The Community Foundation of Orange and Sullivan Counties is designated by the IRS as a 501©3 organization and gifts made to the Foundation are recognized as tax deductible under current law.


Gary Siegel - President

Don Simkin - Vice-President

Margaret (Peggy) Schleiermacher

Sims Foster 
Michele Hemmer 


Patti Casey

Mary Fried

Lee Siegel* 

Jo Diescher*
Otto Hoos*

Irving Avery*
Russell Ludlum*

Victor Shaver*

George Kaplan*

*indicated deceased

Lazare Kaplan cutting the Yonker Diamond.

Lazare Kaplan, one of the world’s best-known diamond merchants and the man who cut the 726-carat Jonker diamond in 1936, established this educational foundation in 1965 in his and his wife’s name.


Descended from three generations of jewelers, Russian-born Lazare grew up in Belgium. In 1896, at the young age of 13, he began his apprenticeship at his uncle’s diamond cutting factory. His manual dexterity and knack for cleaving flawed and irregular stones made Kaplan one of the most well-known diamond cutters of his time. At age 20, Kaplan started his own diamond business and eventually moved his family to the United States. He was an amazing diamond cutter recognized for over 75 years of innovative design and diamond cutting. 


In the early 1920’s Lazare purchased a family farm in Lew Beach just outside of Livingston Manor in Sullivan County and embraced the community, becoming active as a Livingston Manor Rotarian in the mid-sixties.  Lazare passed away at the age of 102 at the farm.

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