NEW YORK (Jan. 25)
The American Jewish Committee’s National Project on Ethnic America, established a year ago to help ease black-white tensions, has received a $262,536 grant from the Ford Foundation to underwrite its work for the next two years. AJCommittee president Philip E. Hoffman praised the foundation for having “once again taken the lead in a most difficult area of problem-solving,” He added that “Millions of Americans with lower-middle-income salaries, who live in older city neighborhoods or new suburban communities and whose roots are of second- and third-generation European origin will be pleased to know that their needs are being seriously looked into, and that vigorous leadership increasingly will be coming from those forces deeply opposed to polarization and dedicated to social progress and racial amity.” Bertram H. Gold, AJCommittee executive vice president, said the Ford Foundation money would be used specifically for experimenting with new techniques for depolarizing racial tensions; for working with the communications media to end the “stereotyping” of white ethnics; to aid both white ethnics and non-whites in improving their lot; and to work with professionals, community leaders and scholars on “ethnic programs at all educational levels” and “the present importance and the future discretion of ethnicity in America.”
Irving M. Levine, the AJCommittee’s director of urban projects, and the creator-director of the National Project on Ethnic America, said that “At the completion of our project, we should be able to give such prominent words as separatism, integration, identity, group power, polarization, neighborhood, ethnicity and community greater meaning for more effective problem-solving.” During its pilot year, the ethnic project led a fight for community improvements in Baltimore, set up a leadership training program in Philadelphia, sought to case racial antagonism in Brooklyn, and conferred with ethnic, religious, labor and human rights leaders in Los Angeles, St. Louis, Chicago, Philadelphia, Detroit, Kansas City, Providence, New Haven and Buffalo. It operated on grants from the Stern Family Fund, the Aaron E. Norman Fund, the Leonard M. Sperry Foundation and the J. M. Kaplan Foundation. The project recently received grants from the Catholic Center for Urban Ethnic Affairs, the National Opinion Research Center of the University of Chicago, the University of Michigan’s Center for Policy Research, and the Research Foundation of the City University of New York.