Jewish Social Service Agencies Must Have Minority Representation on Boards or Lose Givers Fund Aid

Three Jewish social service agencies in the Greater Washington area will be deprived of financial aid from the area-wide United Givers Fund if by Sept. 1 at least 20 percent of their boards of directors are not members of minority groups–Blacks of Spanish-speaking persons. The three organizations, according to an outside source, received a total of $399,603 last year from the UGF. The heads of the three Jewish agencies confirmed that figure yesterday and provided the Jewish Telegraphic Agency with individual budgetary breakdowns.

The Jewish Social Service Agency was given $225,000 toward a budget of $800,000. The Hebrew Home for the Aged of Greater Washington receive $90,000 in its budget of $2,496,600, and the Jewish Community Center of Greater Washington got about $80,000 toward its budget of $1.3 million.

Representatives of the three organizations and the United Jewish Appeal which largely underwrites their budgets, will meet Jan. 24 with the Health and Welfare Council which has laid down the quota demands. The HWC is the dispersing agency for UGF collected funds.

Seven local Red Cross chapters which last year received a fifth of the $14.2 million donated to the UGF are not members of the HWC and therefore are not subjected to its rulings. Fifteen of the 87 UGF groups have not yet complied with the quotas. It was indicated that they will by the Sept. deadline with the possible exception of the Jewish agencies which have not reached any decision in advance of the forthcoming meeting.

Some Jewish community leaders have indicated privately, however, that they would seek to have the Jewish groups withdraw from the UGF before submitting to the quota system which they fear will ultimately cause the disappearance of their organizations’ Jewish character.

SECTARIAN INTEGRITY MUST BE RESPECTED

According to Thomas Fetzer, HWC deputy director, the quota system was established in 1970 for implementation in 1972. The quotas are 51 percent minority group membership on the directorates of Washington-only organizations; 20 percent in groups serving both Washington and the suburbs; and six percent in suburban areas only. The Jewish groups are centered in Rockville, a nearby Maryland suburb.

The Jewish population in Greater Washington is approximately 120,000. About 20,000 Jews live in Washington proper and most of the rest in suburban Maryland. There are very few Black Jews in the region.

Harry Van Cleve, president of the HWC said, “We intend to drop groups if they don’t comply but we are hopeful that nearly everyone will comply.” George M. Pikser, executive director of the Jewish Social Service Agency said, “I don’t know why a Black person would want to serve on the board of this organization when there are so many problems in the Black community that need all the leadership available.”

Leonard Abel, president of the Hebrew Home for the Aged, pointed out that the UGF was created to avoid duplicate fund-raising efforts. With racial issues becoming more intense and with changes in the population in Washington, now 3/4 Black, the HWC seems to be trying to cause each agency to be come inter-denominational or inter-racial irrespective of what that agency serves, Abel said. He emphasized that the Hebrew Home for the Aged was created to serve Jewish people and the specific criteria for both guests at the Home and board members was that they must belong to the Hebrew faith. The sectarian integrity of these institutions must be respected, he said.

Isaac Franck, executive vice-president of the Jewish Community Council of Greater Washington, an umbrella organization for area Jewish institutions, observed that “It is important in terms of American culture to have agencies which serve specific cultural groups.” The JCC does not receive UGF funds.

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