Philadelphia Leaders Meditate Ending Merger of Welfare Drive with Non-jewish Agencies

Is it desirable for the Federation of Jewish Charities to merge with the non-Jewish Welfare Federation in a common endeavor to raise the annual budget?

The leadership of the Jewish community of Philadelphia is now giving a great deal of thought to this problem. The failure of the United Campaign to reach its goal of $6,000,000 has served to aggravate the situation. As matters stand, it is fairly certain the shortage will be in the neighborhood of $2,000,000. This means that the budgets of both agencies that are a party to the merger will of necessity require considerable pruning.

This is the third year of the so-called merger of welfare agencies in this city. Last year a number of the members of the Federation Board felt that this partnership should not be continued. A number of reasons were advanced why the Federation should enter into no alliances. Among these were the following: (1) The spiritual stimulation produced by a separate Jewish campaign; (2) The more intimate contact with the contributors, emphasis on the purely Jewish aspect of charity, stressing the educational features, etc. resulting in increased contributions; (3) Reaching a greater number of smaller contributors, thus broadening the base of the Federation; (4) Sustained interest in constituent agencies; (5) The value of a distinct Jewish identity. It was pointed out that though the Federation’s budget was safeguarded by the merger with the general Welfare Federation, the actual number of Jewish contributors was diminishing. Despite these and other considerations, a merger was effected again for the coming year.

Failure this year is ascribed largely to the drastic reductions made in their contributions by the wealthier members of the community. Those in position to know, however, point to the fact that the Jewish men of means are among the least offenders. It is felt that the number of Jewish contributors would have been greater and the amounts of the smaller contributors would have been larger if the Jewish Federation were conducting a campaign for itself.

On the basis of a $6,000,000 campaign the Federation of Jewish Charities was to receive $1,400,000. With indications clearly showing a shortage of $2,000,000, the question now asked is what will the Federation of Jewish Charities do under the circumstances? Salaries of Federation employees have already been reduced to a minimum. There is talk of a supplementary campaign in the Spring, though there are a number of objections to such a plan.

It is customary for the Federation budget committee to meet immediately after the annual campaign in order to make allocation to the various constituent agencies. The directorates of these agencies as well as those interested in the problem as a whole are facing the immediate future with a great deal of apprehension and misgiving.

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