Co-Founder, President of the Lustgarten Foundation
Kerri Kaplan is the President of the Lustgarten Foundation, which is America’s largest private funder of pancreatic cancer research and is relentlessly focused on improving patient outcomes. Kerri oversees all aspects of the Lustgarten Foundation’s operational activities, including major fundraising initiatives, patient outreach, and the Foundation’s in-depth research portfolio.
Early in her career at the Foundation, Kerri worked with Cablevision Systems Corporation to secure its commitment to underwrite all the Foundation’s administrative expenses. This unique partnership ensured that 100% of every dollar donated went directly to funding significant research on early detection, new treatments and personalized medicine. A decade later, the Foundation’s board of directors established a separate dedicated fund, not from general contributions, to cover administrative expenses, so the Foundation can continue its strong commitment to allocate 100% of every donation to research.
Under Kerri’s leadership, the Lustgarten Foundation has directed more than $165 million to research, which has led to significant breakthroughs, including the first FDA approval of an immunotherapy treatment for pancreatic cancer and a promising early detection blood test. She was instrumental as well in establishing a collaboration with Stand Up To Cancer to jointly fund several pancreatic cancer research teams and in expanding that collaboration to form the Pancreatic Cancer Collective to accelerate research for pancreatic cancer patients who desperately need better treatments. Through the Collective, the Lustgarten Foundation and Stand Up To Cancer are creating a dynamic and fluid network to engage and influence medical institutions, researchers, and companies, aligned to achieve something bigger and more meaningful for patients.
In addition to Kerri’s role in shaping the Foundation’s research program, under her direction, the Foundation’s community outreach program has grown significantly, encompassing more than 300 local events and over 40 Lustgarten Walks annually, raising substantial funding to support the Foundation’s research program.
Kerri has also played a significant role in expanding outreach to pancreatic cancer patients by co-founding Let’s Win! Pancreatic Cancer Foundation, an affiliate of the Lustgarten Foundation. This unprecedented platform enables doctors, scientists, and patients to share fast-breaking information on potentially life-saving pancreatic cancer treatments and clinical trials.
During Kerri’s tenure, the Lustgarten Foundation has received numerous accolades. The Foundation has continuously been rated as a four-star charity by Charity Navigator, the country’s premier independent charity evaluator, a designation that only 2 percent of the charities rated by this prestigious organization have received. The rating is an invaluable measure of the public’s opinion on how trustworthy, ethical, and fiscally responsible a nonprofit is. The Lustgarten Foundation was also honored by Long Island Business News with a Nonprofit of the Year Award for Corporate Citizenship for the Foundation’s efforts in going above and beyond as an outstanding corporate citizen and for the Foundation’s commitment to the greater good.
Prior to joining the Lustgarten Foundation in 2006, Kerri served as the executive director of the Long Island chapter of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. In this role, she managed all chapter activities and oversaw the implementation of local patient services, including the creation of programs to improve the quality of life for patients and their families. Previously, Kerri worked in the organization’s New York City chapter.
Kerri holds a degree in business administration from Emory University and lives on Long Island with her husband and two sons.