Remembering Calvin Cafritz

January 27, 2023

The Meyer Foundation is sad to learn of the passing of Calvin Cafritz, a Washington-area developer and one of the region’s leading philanthropists.  

Cafritz was a native and longtime resident of Washington, DC. His father, Morris, established one of the Washington region’s leading philanthropic entities, the Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation.  

For Calvin, philanthropy demanded broad and diverse partnerships.  He and his wife Jane made major charitable contributions to the city of Washington, DC and the region, along with the family foundation. In the last half-century, the Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation awarded more than $507 million in grants. In 2021 alone, 430 grants were given to 413 diverse nonprofits, including the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the Washington National Opera (through the Cafritz Young Artists of Washington National Opera program), the Phillips Collection, the National Gallery of Art, and countless colleges, universities, and schools throughout the DC area.  

In 2000, under Cafritz’s leadership, the Foundation’s board established the Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation Awards for Distinguished DC Government Employees, an annual program designed to recognize and reward outstanding performance and exemplary service by locally based federal employees. The Meyer Foundation received the 2007 Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation Community Partnership Award with the Center for Nonprofit Advancement and The Nonprofit Roundtable of Greater Washington. The award is presented to organizations that represent a partnership between a business entity and a nonprofit for their successful collaboration on a community project.  

“Calvin lived a life of generosity and vision. A seasoned businessman, he valued growth and advancement, but his commitment reached beyond writing checks to sharing time and effort for causes he supported,” said George L. Askew, M.D., president and CEO, the Meyer Foundation. “Calvin Cafritz will be remembered for his commitment to bolstering philanthropy area-wide. We honor his life and mourn his passing.”  

The Meyer Foundation extends sincerest condolences to the Cafritz family and sends prayers of comfort and strength.