Institute for Caring partners with advocacy group

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The Institute for Caring’s plans for a $2.4 million budget include presenting a system to Americans nationwide and establishing state pilot programs to demonstrate its effectiveness. This push comes via a partnership with the FreedomWorks Foundation of Washington, D.C., a grassroots advocacy group established a couple of months ago.

The Cash Allocations to Remediate Inequities, Nurture and Give system is a solution to many of the nation’s ills drawn up by Richard Kaplan and Marcus Robinson. The pair believe the nation’s existing socioeconomic programs, originally designed to promote social and financial equity, have become ineffective. 

This ineffectiveness, as argued in their book, “CARING for Democracy: The American Fix,” is tearing U.S. culture apart, driving the country towards financial collapse, and threatening the existence of American democracy.

The system is the co-authors’ answer to sustaining political, legal and economic systems in a capitalist democracy. By establishing five Caring organizations focused on access to quality education, health care, housing/nutrition, drug rehabilitation, and social security, the nonprofit aims to replace over 20,000 federal, state and local government agencies. 

The ultimate mission of these organizations would be to make the American people self-sufficient while saving taxpayers 40 percent to 60 percent of the costs of existing programs.

The idea for the Caring system came to Kaplan when he took over his father’s company, Max Pies furniture stores, in 1972. After expanding the company throughout Rochester, Buffalo and Syracuse through 1982, Kaplan made the decision to sell the company rather than construct more brick-and-mortar stores in the Northeast. 

Kaplan saw the changes being made to Social Security during the mid-1980s, and how the national debt began to grow. Since he knew taxes were bound to increase, he decided to part with the business, he says.

“I thought retail was not a good place to be, so I was better off selling the company while it was doing well. I decided to do that, but it made me angry because expanding the company was my dream, and the name of the company was my grandfather’s name,” says Kaplan, an entrepreneur known for his role at many companies including Pictometry International. 

Richard Kaplan

“Then I was at lunch one day with an associate. I was going on about how we needed businesspeople in government when he raised his hand, told me to stop and asked me if I had a solution. I realized I didn’t, and after some time I realized I needed to find one.”

What came next for Kaplan was a series of discussions with academics and meeting Robinson. A consultant, Robinson has been a trainer in diversity, equity and inclusion areas for Eastman Kodak Co. and the city of Rochester. He now continues his work in nonprofit management as the executive director of Collaboraction Theatre Company in Chicago. In addition, there was a trip to Washington, D.C., to speak with every senator or their chief of staff. 

The book followed as did the nonprofit. 

The next step for the Institute for Caring was finding a partner that would help extend its reach and get its system in front of the American people. In Kaplan’s view, FreedomWorks is a necessary and beneficial partner to accomplish this.

“FreedomWorks is a great organization. They have over 30,000 registered activists nationally, 5 million followers across their social media, do research, and have access to the attention of congressmen and congresswomen,” says Kaplan. “FreedomWorks has come up with a budget and a plan for the next year, and we are both raising money to achieve our goals of presenting this system to the American people.”

The plan developed through the partnership is broken down into four phases. The Institute for Caring and FreedomWorks are currently in Phase I, which is slated to last through the end of  summer. This phase involves refining the organization’s message, conducting research, and launching an online course through the FreedomTeams Academy website.

Phase II, which starts in the fall, involves building strategic partnerships, conducting polling, and launching marketing efforts. Phase III focuses on activism and community building. By the end of 2023, the partners hope to create a promotional video series, build an active email list and social media base, and build relationships with charismatic spokespeople from different sides of the political spectrum.

The final portion of the partnership, Phase IV, allocates $1.5 million of the budget to scale the nonprofit’s operations. This will include a more than 200-person coalition development event and making progress toward implementing pilot programs in a target state for education or health care. 

Evan Coleman is a Rochester Beacon contributing writer and a recent University of Rochester graduate. The Beacon welcomes comments and letters from readers who adhere to our comment policy including use of their full, real name. Submissions to the Letters page should be sent to [email protected]

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