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This article by Barbara Fox was prepared for the September 25, 2002 edition of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.
On the Move
So you want to give a donation to McCarter Theater.
You check the "my employer matches gifts box" on the form,
and McCarter will certify it received the donation and request the
equivalent. "That request has a good chance of coming through
us," says Roy Kaplan of the JK Group. Headed by Kaplan (the "K"
to Glenn Johnson’s "J"), the JK Group outsources employee
matching gifts and volunteer programs for Fortune 1000 companies.
This 12-year-old company has been so successful that it has bought
a 42,700-foot building, built on spec by Woodmont Properties at 104
Morgan Lane, and is moving from Princeton Meadows Office Center. "It’s
nice but we outgrew it," says Kaplan. "It was a choice between
buying the space we are in and a couple more of the buildings here
— or going to new space. We drove by this site and called the
realtor." He and his partner paid about $4.5 million for the shell
plus $1 million for the buildout. They are using 31,000 square feet
and leasing the rest. Kaplan is looking for new hires, including keystrokers
and customer service personnel, with some part-time and evening positions.
Think of the JK Group as performing the same functions as the back
office of the bank — lots of check entry and paper work, much
of it done electronically. "We help companies administer the paperwork
to assist employees making charitable donations, whether through matching
programs, annual giving campaigns, volunteer hours, or PAC programs,"
says Kaplan. JK takes care of validating the charities to be sure
they are on the up and up, and that they conform to a particular corporation’s
giving guidelines. "We know we are helping the employees get the
funds to the agencies they want to get it to — and helping the
corporations give money."
"We are not in the business of raising funds. We are not a competitor
to United Way." he says. "The United Way is trying to raise
money. We are trying to help corporations give it away as cost effectively
Less than one-third of JK’s clients are in the tri-state area, but
it has most of the pharmaceutical companies in New Jersey. Microsoft
was an early client, as was Johnson & Johnson and Merrill Lynch. Some
clients are fairly wealthy but small corporations that don’t want
to do the matching gifts work themselves. But the typical client has
Kaplan keeps a minimum sales staff of two and says that most clients
come from word of mouth. For these companies, giving away money is
an ancillary job to the main business, sometimes handled by the human
resources staff, sometimes by volunteer committees.
"Clients talk to each other through community groups that meet
once in a while. In the New York area, there are several dozen corporations
that say, `Let’s get together every quarter and talk about how we
do our giving’."
One of Kaplan’s parents was a bookkeeper, and the other was in the
garment industry. Kaplan majored in accounting at City College of
New York, Class of 1967. He worked as a field agent for the IRS, in
Seattle for Boeing, as a software programmer at Bell Labs, and from
1973 to 1989 he was an employee at ARAP on Washington Road where he
met Johnson. In 1989 he and the 52-year-old Johnson (an industrial
engineering major at the University of Illinois) formed their own
software company. Kaplan’s wife, Rita Kusler, is the CFO. The gift
administration business came by happenstance. A client asked for grant
administration software and then asked for help entering the data.
To keep the client happy, they enlisted the after-school services
of one of their children. That company, Polaroid, told other companies
that the JK Group does matching gift administration.
The JK Group has fended off most competition and has 90 percent of
the market, says Kaplan, unless you count United Way, which takes
care of its own matching funds. In 1996 the biggest competitor, Matching
Center, had 30 clients and JK had 13. "We now have 150 clients
and they have about 13. Another competitor, CoreMatters, folded on
the west coast. A start-up dotcom, Charitable Way, saw the charitable
market as ripe for picking. They were big competitors for two years
until they realized they couldn’t make money as a pure electronic
business, and to do both electronic and paper, you need people to
answer the phones when something doesn’t go right with the website,"
"We provide an 800 number, human beings to talk to rather than
menus and voice mail," says Johnson, "and that’s in part why
we are growing so quickly and doing so well."
"We end up being anywhere from 20 to 30 percent cheaper than inhouse
departments, but it is more of a question of other benefits. Since
it is not a job for a full time person, the employee never understands
how to do it right — how to validate a nonprofit, how to insure
that the agencies meet the criteria the corporation has set up,"
says Kaplan. "There is a good chance they will get behind the
eight ball and not be able to do it thoroughly."
— Barbara Fox
500, Suite 508, Box 7174, Princeton 08543-7174. Roy Kaplan, president.
609-799-7830; fax, 609-799-8019. Home page: www.easymatch.com
<B>David Botstein has been named director of the
Lewis Sigler Institute for Integrative Genomics, Princeton University’s
multi-disciplinary center that will do research on dynamic properties
of biological systems using integrated computational and experimental
approaches. A graduate of Harvard with a PhD from the University of
Michigan, the 60-year-old Botstein has taught at MIT and most recently
at Stanford University’s School of Medicine. For two years he was
vice president for science at Genentech, known for being one of the
first biotech companies to be successful.
"David and alumni from his Stanford laboratory have made a huge
impact on the biotech industry in Silicon Valley. We expect that the
Princeton area will benefit in the same way from his presence here,"
said Nils Lonberg, senior vice president and scientific director
at Medarex, headquartered on State Road. Botstein succeeds Shirley
Tilghman, now president of Princeton University, and his new quarters
are scheduled to be completed this year.
and president Shirley Tilghman are scheduled to speak at Frick
Laboratory for the September 25 inauguration of a $17 million NASA-funded
Institute on Biologically Inspired Materials. Princeton will join
four other institutions to work on materials that can replicate the
strength and self-healing abilities of such natural substances as
bone and seashells.
08619, Box 8627, Princeton 08540. Andy Quinn, CEO. 609-584-9696; fax,
At a trade show in Dallas September 17 Princeton Optronics demonstrated
its tunable laser platform, which launches a minimum of 30 megawatts
of optical power. This product produces more than the output level
required for long and ultra-long haul network applications, says Timothy
Hays, vice president of sales and marketing.
superintendent at Princeton Township’s public works department.
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