The need for full support of private philanthropies throughout the country was stressed by former Supreme Court Judge Joseph M. Proskauer, president of the Federation for the Support of Jewish Philanthropic Societies, at the dinner opening the Federation’s campaign to complete a budget of $3,923,000 for the support of 91 affiliated institutions. Telegrams were read from President Hoover and Governor Roosevelt, also urging the importance of nationwide support for private philanthropies and wishing success to Federation in its drive.
The shift of emphasis during the depression has been away from the regularly organized private charities, according to Judge Proskauer, who pointed out the danger of allowing this attitude to prevail at a time when the success of emergency relief measures is dependent upon the continuance of the regular charities. He demonstrated that every one of the institutions affiliated with the Federation has had its scope and usefulness increased by the depression, although available funds have decreased.
Felix M. Warburg, noted Jewish philanthropist and a member of the Steering Committee of the drive, presided. Speakers included Dr. Harry Emerson Fosdick, Lt. Gov. Herbert H. Lehman, U. S. Attorney George Z. Medalie, Miss Fannie Hurst, Mrs. Alfred A. Cook, of the Women’s Division; and Paul Felix Warburg and Ira M. Younker, co-chairmen for the campaign.
President Hoover, in a telegram to Paul Felix Warburg, said, “In a year when all privately supported philanthropy is being put to the most severe test, the success of the Jewish Federation’s appeal for funds is doubly important. Your notable achievement in years past gives me confidence that your community will again respond to your call. I wish you every success.”
Governor Roosevelt, in a telegram to Samuel D. Leidesdorf, chairman of the Business Men’s Council of the Federation, stated that government and emergency committees would be seriously handicapped by a breakdown in private philanthropy.
The coming winter will see one of the most serious situations that the community has ever had to handle, Dr. Fosdick said.
Unemployment relief is only a part of the need brought about by the depression, Judge Proskauer warned.
“Unemployment relief in itself is not enough; that has been demonstrated,” he said. “If such relief is to be effective at all, it must be based on the firm foundation of the regular philanthropic agencies, which serve year in and year out.”
Judge Proskauer said that the shift of emphasis away from privately organized philanthropies has brought these face to face with a serious crisis, true not only of the Federation and other philanthropies in New York City, but of such organizations throughout the country.
“There is a point beyond which we dare not go in reducing the budgets of these institutions,” Judge Proskauer said. “That point has been reached. Further cuts will strike at the foundation of the entire social work structure we have reared so carefully and guarded so zealously.
“What confronts us is a crisis of the first magnitude. The campaign of the Federation is the first major appeal for funds of the regular philanthropic agencies of the country. The eyes of the country are turned upon us for an answer to the question, ‘Shall Private Philanthropy Survive,’ and accomplish the work it needs to do at this time?”
Mr. Warburg introduced Lieutenant Governor Lehman as the man who will undoubtedly be the next governor of New York State.
Colonel Lehman stressed the importance of the work of the Federation and stated that people must not be led to believe that the work will be cared for by the government. The work of governmental, official and temporary relief agencies can only be supplemental in character, he said.
“Federationâ€”a Pageant,” under the personal supervision of S. L. Rothafel (Roxy), utilizing unique lighting and sound effects, presented to the spectators a graphic survey of the Federation’s work among the poor and needy, in which the institutions were symbolically represented as beneficent donors of health, shelter, and parental care. Numerous stage and radio luminaries were in the cast.