Cleveland (Oct. 31)
The National Council of Jewish Federations and Welfare Funds,, whose purpose it will be to develop standards and principles of effective community organization, was formally constituted here yesterday at an all day session at the Hotel Statler.
William J. Shroder of Cincinnati was elected president of the organization; Vice presidents named are Dr. Solomon Lowenstein of New York, executive director of the Federation for the Support of Jewish Philanthropic Societies and Edward M. Baker of Cleveland, member of the board of the local charities; secretary, Irwin Bettman, of St. Louis; Eugene Warner of Buffalo, Treasurer; George W. Rabinoff, Associate Director of the Bureau of Jewish Social Research was named executive director. Headquarters of the organization are to be in New York City.
Eighteen cities were represented at the sessions. Organizations in sixty-three cities have been invited to join the national body.
Membership in the Council is to be made available to any local Federation, Jewish Welfare Fund or similar organization of planning and the financing of Jewish Social Work.
The general assembly of the National Council is to be composed of representatives of the member agencies on the basis of the population of the cities.
Regular meetings are to be held annually.
The budget of the new organization is to be based on dues received from members, which are to be based on their receipts other than moneys secured from tax funds, endowments and earnings. Dues will range from $25 to $2,000.
Discussing the problems of the federation, Mr. Goldsmith placed fund raising among the most important undertakings. The fund raising problem has been a situation of long concern, he said. There exists today a dominant disintegration of means to support social agencies on account of depressive economic conditions. We must finance our institutions by keeping up our private philanthropies, he urged.
“Tax funds may be used directly by agencies,” he said, “but there is danger of using tax money for private welfare. The Federation should reserve the right and responsibility of planning the work in the Jewish community to co-relate with constituent agencies and in a measure supervise these agencies. The citizenry should then join in co-operating with the fund raising program.”
Ira M. Younker of New York stated in his address that the present situation calls for some radical departures from the past basis upon which we have been operating. “We believe that we have in the Federation excellent representative leaders of the social work of our community, but they are tied down by traditions. Our leaders must have the courage to face our own root problems and the dislocations and turmoils this may involve. The central philanthropic body must become the organization for community planning as well as for fund raising with responsibility and power for elimination, consolidation and reorganization of social work functions,” he stated.
“We must also take into greater consideration the work of other sectarian and non-sectarian groups whose work is closely allied to our own. The development of local governmental activity in social work is becoming of overwhelming importance,” Mr. Younker stated.
Dr. Lowenstein, talking on the tax supported program of welfare federations declared that social agencies have resorted to governmental aid, assuming loans on legal rates of interest although they are to be used for relief measures for home and work only. This necessity has arisen in view of the falling off of private philanthropy. Mr. Lowenstein stressed the need for a definite attempt to establish a high standard of public administration.
Presentations were given on “Jewish Community Problems in My City” by Irwin Bettman, St. Louis; Eugene Warner, Buffalo; Edward Benjamin, New Orleans; Henry Wineman, Detroit; Sol. Weinthal, Cleveland. Harry Greenstein of Baltimore and Kurt Peiser of Detroit, discussed the “Use of Funds for Non-Relief Purposes.”
Four Actions Committees were appointed to summarize the discussions of the federation problems at a meeting of the Executive Committee to be held in New York in February.
The following were named : Extension activities, Solomon Lowenstein, chairman; Fund raising, Samuel A. Goldsmith, chairman; Distribution of Responsibility for Financing, Henry Wineman and Kurt Peiser, co-chairmen; Cultural and Educational Activities, Jacob Billikopf and Harry Greenstein, co-chairmen.