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Joseph Willen Dead at 88

A special memorial service will be held for Joseph Willen, a former executive vice president of the Federation of Jewish Philanthropies of New York, who died Saturday at Mount Sinai Medical Center at the age of 88.

During his tenure as executive vice president, from 1941 to 1967, Willen organized a system to raise funds that brought in more than $1 billion. Rather than campaigning to a small group of wealthy people, Willen directed his fund-raising efforts to trades and professions, boroughs, a women’s division and other circles, a formula still used by the United Jewish Appeal today.

Willen, who served on numerous committees during his 50-year career, was responsible for the Federation’s reserve fund which protects against economic decline.

Born in Russia, Willen came to the United States in 1905 and graduated with a B.A. from City College in 1919, the same year he joined the Federation as a clerk. He received honorary degrees from Boston University and the Jewish Theological Seminary of America.

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