A new plan to increase the income of the Federation for the Support of Jewish Philanthropic Societies in New York City was presented before the 500 members of the Business Men’s Council and the Women’s Division of the Federation, last week.
The plan, as proposed by Mr. Herman Lissner, councillor of the Clothing and Textile trades, was taken up at a dinner given in honor of Sol. M. Stroock, newly elected president and other recently chosen officers of the Federation, at the Pennsylvania Hotel.
The other officers in whose honor the dinner was given are Felix M. Warburg, chairman of the board; Arthur Lehman, associate chairman of the board; Joseph L. Buttenweiser, president emeritus; Mrs. Sidney C. Borg, Henry F. Samstag and Ludwig, Vogelstein, vice-presidents; Col. H. A. Guinzburg, treasurer; Walter E. Beer, associate treasurer; Dudley D. Sicher, secretary; Mrs. H. B. L. Goldstein, comptroller and Solomon Lowenstein, executive director.
Mr. Felix M. Warburg presided.
“More than half the battle is over for the solicitor,” declares Mr. Lissner, “when he tells the prospective subscriber right at the start that he has come in for a contribution of so many dollars.”
Mr. Lissner divides the givers into three classes. Group I, The Wealthiest, or those reputed to be worth upwards of $2,000,000; group 2, The Millionaire Class, or those rated at $1,000,000 and up-wards and Group 3, the merchants and professional men.
In the wealthiest class, Mr. Lissner’s figures show, there are 74 men listed, the contributions ranging all the way from $1,000 to $76,000, the amount depending entirely on the ability of a particular solicitor. If this group does not regard its subscriptions as a group problem, Mr. Lissner points out, the rank and file of contributors in the general community will select inadequate contributions as a standard for comparison.
In the second group, or the Million Dollar Class, there are 192 names listed, five contributing nothing and the others contributing amounts from $50 to $4,000 for a total of $244,720. The wide difference, Mr. Lissner feels, results because of the standard set by the wealthiest men in a given trade, so that the man who happens to be in one line of business gives much more than the men of equal wealth and standing in another line.
Mr. Felix M. Warburg and David A. Brown participated in the discussion. Mr. Warburg declared that the money raising work of the New York Federation in recent years showed that progress had been made in the raising of greater sums, but not in the number of subscribers.
Mr. Brown, referring to the United Jewish Campaign, declared that East European Jewry could only live by funds from America. “Did we know at the outset of their dire need, we would have called for $15,000,000 in one year, instead of three years.”
In response to the tributes paid him by the speakers of the evening Mr. Stroock declared that he looked to the day when social service in New York will be organized on along even more efficient lines and he referred to the communal survey of the present and future needs of Greater New York which is about to be undertaken. This survey will result in findings, he predicted, which will be of inestimable benefit to all social service groups in the city in their efforts to improve standards.
The plan outlined provides for the organization of a million-dollar division whose task it will be to supply it sown standard. No man properly belonging to this group will want to give less than the standard his own group has fixed and consequently a much higher average for contributions will result.
Out of 30,000 concerns in group 3 among 93 industries there are only 8,343 contributors. Because the twenty-one councillors in the twenty one groups of trades have their individual standards for giving, the level of leadership is inconsistent and while the hundreds of solicitors “have hearts of gold,” they are not equipped with adequate information.
All of the chairmen and councillors of the various trades, the recommendation continues, should confer first with contributors and then among themselves to arrive at a uniform standard of giving, so that in all of the trades, men in certain rated groups shall be requested to give at least the same minimum amount.
“Through this plan, “Mr. Lissner concludes, “our solicitors need neither lose their self-respect nor their courage to continue their good work.” As a tentative figure Mr. Lissner submits one-tenth of one per cent as the amount which should be regarded as the standard minimum.