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30 Percent Increase in Jewish Fund-raising Reported by Communities

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Spring welfare funds are “moving into the homestretch” of their campaigns with results ranging far above the 1955 drives, it was announced today by Herbert R. Abeles, president of the Council of Jewish Federations and Welfare Funds. Reports from 43 of the largest communities show campaigns running ahead of last year by 30 percent. As of May 11, these cities raised $40,741,303 thus far this year against a comparable total of $31,354,191 for 1955.

“These impressive results demonstrate the understanding and the determination of our welfare funds to meet the great challenges on every front,” Mr. Abeles declared “Great responsibilities rest upon our people–in their own communities, nationwide needs, and the critical emergency overseas. It is to their everlasting credit that they are responding so generously.”

Eight of the 16 largest cities have already exceeded last year’s totals, and with the drives still far from complete, several others are within percentage points of surpassing their 1955 totals. Cleveland, with a total of $4,825,560, has raised more money this year than any other year, including 1948. This compares with $4,055,000 raised last year, and $4,811,000 raised in 1948. Detroit, with $5,113,000 raised thus far, is running 32,3 percent ahead of last year’s campaign and has already raised 24 percent more than last year’s total campaign results. Houston, with $471, 723 has already raised 29 percent more than last year’s final figure.

Toronto is also mounting an impressive campaign, with results running 47.5 percent ahead of 1955 from the same people. Baltimore, Cincinnati, Kansas City, Newark and Pittsburgh are within close reach of last year’s totals and are expected to exceed them in the near future.

ISRAEL AND NORTH AFRICA ARE MAJOR FACTORS SPARKING THE 1956 DRIVES

Of the 23 intermediate cities reporting, twelve have already exceeded last year’s totals while several others are close to them: Akron, Atlantic City, Columbus, Dallas, Indiana-polis, Louisville, Norfolk, St. Paul, San Diego, Syracuse, Trenton and Worcester, with campaigns still incomplete, have topped last year’s totals with as much as a twenty percent lead to date.

The major factors sparking the 1956 campaigns have been the crises in Israel and North Africa. The American Jewish communities through their central community organizations locally and the United Jewish Appeal nationally have relieved the beleaguered Jewish state of much of the responsibility for resettling 45,000 North African Jews in Israel in the next year.

At the same time, communities have responded to urgent local, regional and national Jewish needs through their federation and welfare fund drives. They geared their campaigns to the pressing situation and launched their drives earlier this year and campaigned harder, Mr. Abeles said. In many instances the communities have benefited from last year’s campaign re-examinations and consequent tightening of their campaign structures.

Other factors credited by Mr. Abeles with aiding the campaigns are: continuing favorable economic conditions; increased emphasis on worker recruitment and training, infusion of young leadership in the campaign structure, individualized attention to big givers; and increasing personalization of the campaign appeal.

The Council of Jewish Federations and Welfare Funds is the national association of 234 federations, welfare funds, and community councils, representing almost 800 communities throughout the United States and Canada. It provides central services for its member agencies in campaigning, community organization, budgeting, social planning and campaign and community interpretation.

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