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Wants Jewish War Relief Apparatus Used for National Philanthropies

May 14, 1923
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

A radical change in money raising methods for National Jewish philanthropies was proposed at the National Conference of the Jewish Social Service which began its sessions this afternoon here at the Hotel Washington. The proposal, made by Mr. Samuel A. Goldsmith of the Bureau of Jewish Social Research, New York, on behalf of the Committee of Nine appointed last year was that instead of these institutions obtaining their maintenance and other funds by direct, personal solicitation, a national budget be established based on the requirements of these institutions.

In order to raise this national budget, it is suggested in the Committee’s proposal that the apparatus of the American Jewish Relief Committee be utilized. This Organization which was called into existence in order to relieve the distress of the Jews of Europe due to the war, raised nearly sixty million dollars for war relief purposes, through the cooperation of local committees organized in over 1200 American Jewish communities.

“Now that the emergency which called this committee into being is practically over, it should not be permitted to go out of existence”, Mr. Goldsmith declared. “It is the most efficient agency that has thus far been developed for the collection of funds from the Jews throughout the United States. It has shown a capacity for raising in a given year a sum upward of $12,500,000. It ought to be asked to continue in existence for the purpose of raising a national budget for national organizations ministering to the philanthropic needs of American Jewry”.

Mr. Goldsmith prefaced his proposal by an analysis of the fund-raising methods of seven institutions, most of which get their funds by direct, personal solicitation.

“They do not work on a budget”, Mr. Goldsmith said the committee had found, “and practically all have collected more money than they have spent. They renew subscriptions and get new subscriptions through the collectors, who work on either salary of commission, and they raise about #13,000,000 a year, at an approximate cost of $450,000. The average cost per institution is 28 per cent., though in the case of one institution it runs over 40 per cent”.

The national budget, which is proposed as a substitute, is to be set up according to the needs of the institutions, falling within its scope and raised by voluntary committees in the same manner as the funds for war relief were raised. The local committees would be assessed according to the service they actually receive from these institutions and also according to their means and local problems.

“A limitation must be placed on unnecessary expenditures and funds raised for such work only as is absolutely insisted”, Mr. Goldsmith’s committee insisted. “If this plan is carried out it will liberate a great spiritual as well as a great national force, which will react for the welfare of American Jewry and its national institutions”.

Strong opposition to the plan was voiced by representatives of several national philanthropies. Mrs. Seraphina Pisko, Secretary of the National Hospital for Jewish Consumptives of Denver, pleaded for the retention of that personal contact with the communities which is possible only through field secretaries. In this plea she was joined by Dr. Charles D. Spivak, Secretary of the Jewish Consumptives Relief Society also of Denver, and Isidore Herschfeld of the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society of New York. A resolution which they offered was adopted, referring the question to a committee representing the conference and the philanthropies involved, which will submit a final report at next year’s convention.

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