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New York, Brooklyn Federations Merge, Forming Largest Welfare Group

February 8, 1937
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The largest group of voluntary social welfare organizations united in a single appeal in the United States arose today from a decision to merge the fund-raising efforts of the Federation for the Support of Jewish Philanthropic Societies of New York City and the Brooklyn Federation of Jewish Charities.

An agreement bringing together the 116 medical and social welfare agencies of the two federations was announced at separate annual meetings of the organizations. While no goal for 1937 was indicated, it was known that the combined budget will considerably exceed the two 1936 budgets.

The agreement provides: “One, to join forces in a single, united appeal to the community in 1937 on behalf of the philanthropic societies embraced in the two federations and to merge their fund-raising organizations for this purpose; two, to appoint committees which will immediately study the services of the institutions of the two federations with a view to exploring the possibilities of a merger of the functional and institutional activities of the two federations.”

The action was impelled by the increasingly critical situation of the social agencies in Brooklyn, according to the report presented by Samuel D. Leidesdorf, president, on behalf of the board of trustees to the annual meeting of the New York Federation at the Community House of Temple Emanu-El, and by Judge Algeron I. Nova, president of the Brooklyn Federation, to its meeting at Union Temple.

The new plan, which was hailed by Felix M. Warburg as one of the most notable communal advances in recent years, culminates efforts at unity over a period of years and followed lengthy discussions between the two boards of trustees during the past few months. It combines the 91 New York institutions and the 25 constituent Brooklyn welfare agencies.

The joint statement cited social and economic trends operating to add to the needs for welfare services in Brooklyn while simultaneously diminishing the sources of income. The past two decades have seen an accelerating movement of middle-class and lower-income groups to Brooklyn and a corresponding shift of residents with larger means to Manhattan from Brooklyn, it was stated.

In 1929 the New York Federation, serving a Jewish population of 900,000 made more than $5,406,000 available to its institutions, it was pointed out, while Brooklyn, serving a Jewish population of 916,000, was able to raise only $815,000. Depression conditions served to make the situation more acute, and last Fall it was seen the Brooklyn Federation’s maximum prospects for 1937 would not maintain the services of its agencies on their present basis.

The agreement became effective immediately. Reorganization of fund-raising activities of the federations will begin at once. Volunteer trade committees and fund-raising staffs will be merged with the joint appeal under the direction of the Business Men’s Council of the New York Federation.

Meanwhile, successful conclusion of the New York campaign for 1936 was announced by Mr. Leidesdorf at the annual meeting. The $2,901,000 raised completed the budget of $4,344,000, wiping out a deficit. A further increase in the budget for 1937 was forecast. At the Brooklyn meeting, it was reported that $526,326 was raised last year.

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