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Family Service Association of America: Part II

Family Service Association of America: Part II

By John E. Hansan, Ph.D.

Editor’s Note: As listed in the historical time line in Part I, in the year 1905 “….Executives of 14 charity organization societies agreed to exchange form letters, printed material record forms, material describing charity organization, etc., each month. Charities, the periodical issued by N.Y.C.O.S. (later Charities and Commons, later the Survey) undertook to handle the mechanical details of the Exchange — the cost of printing, postage, etc., to be met by a membership fee of $30 annually from each participating agency. It was known as the Exchange Branch; it was supervised by a special committee of Charities, Miss Richmond was Editor (she was then general secretary of the Philadelphia society….”

Several years later, on June 14, 1909 in Buffalo, a committee was elected to consider the question of a national organization of societies for organizing charity, and to report with recommendations at the St. Louis meeting of the National Conference of Charities and Correction in 1910. Mr. Francis H. McLean volunteered to undertake a study of existing national organizations in order to learn more about their form of organization. Below is a transcribed copy of Mr. McLean’s report on existing national organizations. (Note: Spelling and grammar is from the original document.)




The Question of a National Association or National Committee of Charity Organization Societies naturally requires some consideration of the other forms of national federation now in existence. I shall first present, therefore, the result of certain investigations made by the Associate Secretary and myself.


Taking analogous organizations in their increasing suggestiveness to us we may dismiss in a word those organizations which began as national bodies and then attempted to organize local societies. Among these may be noted the American Tuberculosis Association (short title), the National Child Labor Committee, the American Association for Labor Legislation. Their Problems are just the reverse of those in the charity organization fields theirs it is to organize local societies strongly, from a strong central body. Their woes are with weakling local bodies grafted on from above. It is the local bodies who cry out for money, because the national bodies have absorbed it all; there can be no question that with the child labor movement for instance, though less true of the tuberculosis movement, there is the problem of the national associations becoming top heavy leaders and the local societies furnishing comparatively too little initiation and leadership. Our problem is to build up a strong national federated body from numerous associations, some weak, it is true, by some who are crammed full of energy, brains and the power to lead.


I had thought before examining into the latest of national organizations that it had more points of resemblance to our proposed movement than it has. In other words I had thought its representation was based on individual denominations. It is the highest ecclesiastical bodies in each denomination, as representatives of each denomination, which have federated. In a sense, therefore, they are in much the same position as the national bodies before alluded to. For their plan of campaign involves the preaching of enlarging the number of city federations with paid officials. While in general form the may have nothing to teach us, there is a very important point in the articulation of our plan, which their system presents to us. The national body has a Commission on Social Service. The local federations, there are not many as yet, are organizing similar committees and in addition committees on church visitation. This last is undoubtedly going to mean neighborhood work. To my mind, there are increased elements of danger in this movement, for I believe it is bound to grow unless I all, excepting the greater cities, at least, the charity organization societies do not take the lead in developing something similar to the Central Council of Charities in Pittsburgh. The form is not important, but it is essential that not in informal conferences, but in an official Council, represented by official delegates, all the social organizations of each city, including these new ad infants, should be brought together. The situation is one which may be productive of much good or much friction and harm. There is another point about national co-operation presented here which will be considered later.

Contributions are being solicited individually in addition to contributions from the denominational bodies.


The W.C.T.U has the most beautifully worked out and logical organization, which unlike many logical and theoretically perfect systems, has been entirely successful, we are told. Any seven women, who sign the pledge, may form a local union and each local union is represented on the county Union and each local union and each county union on the state union and each state union upon the national body. In a similar way the dues percolate up through the hierarchy and everything is as pleasing as a marriage bell. To be noted however is that the propaganda work which has a by no means uniform growth in the different states, is often carried on by a joint action of national and stare unions. The national union may furnish the organizer and the county or local unions may pay the expenses for a campaign in neighboring sections; which may rebound to the benefit of the cause and the older societies. This gives us a hint of the possible relation of the larger societies in out field, to the expenses of the national movement upon the basis of specially organized funds.

The percolating dues pay all other expenses which are not large. Of course the movement requires no field work beyond the propaganda campaigns.


This is a type of organization which Mrs.Kelley describes as delightfully illogical and complicated, permitting of double representation and all manner of similar evils, but somehow getting there. Both individual clubs and state federations may send delegates to the biennial conventions. Indeed clubs do not belong to the state federation, and one of the principal duties of the state federations is to urge affiliation with the national federation. The double representation has not been criticized and the individual clubs have a lively personal interest in the proceedings of the national body. There is no field work as such. There is again pro-rateing of dues, but we learn that these by no means pay the expenses of committees etc. We learn that it is the habit of members of committees to meet bills of this kind out of their own pockets, I was going to say, but pocketbooks would be true to life.


We come now to an organization of essential social character and whose work and needs therefore some-what more resemble ours. The basis of representation is the state rather than the local league. A number of states only have one league, a state, but in the more important common wealths there are local associations. Each state league is supposed to give a quota out of every annual due for the support of the national league. As a matter of fact this system has proven a good deal of a failure. Only Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania and Ohio appear to be conscientiously scrupulous on this point. In looking over a 1907 report, I found that only about 1/8th of the total of the funds received came into this classification. The remainder of the moneys required comes in, in the shape of contributions. In this direction the State Leagues are supposed to help, but comparatively few do.  Over 50% of the receipts of that year came from New York and about 25% of this from the joint appeal of the National and New York City League. Practically all the contributions were obtained from three states, Massachusetts, New York and Pennsylvania.

Mrs. Kelley has found that the system of state leagues has removed the National League too far away from the local league. She has not failed to notice the difference in feeling towards the national body on the part of these local leagues. And the Women’s Clubs towards their general federation. For that reason the local leagues have not always done these things which they could most effectively do, as for instance the development of white lists and consequent improvement of the condition of their own working girls. It must be remembered that only 10 leagues, state and local, have pad secretaries and that the national league has never had the funds which would provide for a diplomatic field service which might have brought about, by mutual consent, more unity of action among newer societies without involving, of course, any suggestion of identity of action. Still there remains the fact that the local leagues have never felt that they were component part of the National League. The quota arrangement has simply made them very subsidiary feeders to the fund of the National body. It is well to notice that New York has not furnished all the contributions, though a little over a half; we shall see how in an older organization which began in New York as the fountain head of all material supplies, there are now practically nation wide contributions.


Go we now to the oldest and most interesting organization for us to study, the International Committee of the Y.M.C.A. of North America. Not even Mr. Morse the present General Secretary, who has been in the harness for forty years, can hark back to the beginning of things. It was in 1854 that the Committee was formed and it was not until 1969 that the Committee possessed two paid workers. It has taken forty years to bring about the marvelous development of to-day.

It is not necessary for us to go back to the beginning of things, but to state that out of a convention of Y.M.C.A.’s there grew the International Committee. Technically this committee is a creature of the convention and its tenure of the life depends upon the action of each new convention. Its influence is predominant. To this convention come all Y.M.C.A. with representation based upon membership, which are affiliated with the national body. There are certain minimum standards which have been established which new organizations are obliged to attain to before they can be represented in the conventions. At the start, however, there were no standards, because the pioneer movement required such qualities of leadership as would create no Y.M.C.A. which did not possess vigor. The evangelical test has been the hardest problem to start. I have not been bothered to learn just what the present qualifications are because the idea in itself is suggestive to us, but the details would be of no interest.

It may be said that the international Committee issues the call for each convention, but that does not signify a different interpretation than that it is exactly the same kind of call as would be made by the secretary of any committee. The committee again, is the creature of the convention and must call its creator to render an account of stewardship when the appointed time comes around.

The most important committee at each convention is the committee on the report of the International Committee. This committee is appointed beforehand, as it was found impossible for a committee, not appointed until the convention met, to thoroughly digest the report and make its recommendations thereon. (Dr. Gulick also agrees that this prevents throwing the discussions of large policies into a general meeting.)

Instead of the catalogued inventory of powers the committee carries out the will of the conventions, a will generally formulated by the above named committee on the basis of the International Committee’s report. This absence of a crystallized program has in itself furthered the easy adoption of progressive plans.

In order to prevent any complications over the ownership of property, there is a permanent fixed and incorporated body, the Board of Trustees of the International Committee. Yet it was not until the early 80’s that this body was created. About 10% of the expenses of the International Committee come directly from the basis of regular assessment, etc., but it proved a failure. Now as I understand it, the local associations have no direct financial responsibility towards the International Committee. But the International committee will appeal to the associations for help for specific purpose, may ask for $100 apiece, for instance. Otherwise the committee must find its own funds. In this case they are helped by the local associations who suggest people to them, or obtain the contributions from them. Their contributors have increased their subscriptions from year to year, while they are not continually adding new ones. These are drawn from all over the country.

It is interesting to note that at the state the International Committee was entirely composed of New York people. Gradually there have been additions from other places, but the International Committee has had its hardest struggle in connection with the local character of its first representation. It is just getting over this. With one exception the International Committee has been composed of laymen. That is another point to be remembered when considering organization in our own field.


Coming to the National Playground association, we discover the presence of a new principle of equal representation by societies without reference to the number of members in each. With the organizations already mentioned, even the Y.M.C.A., the principle of representation by groups of 100 or other numbers, prevailed. The association also had to have a polyglot individual representation. The Extensions Department of the Playground movement is financed by the Russell Sage Foundation and is entirely distinct from the National Association itself, excepting that they are housed together and Dr. Gulick is an officer in both. When a new Playground Association grows up it belongs to the Extension Department until it becomes a member of the National Association. There are two classes of membership, one involving dues of $5.00 per year, the other of $10.00 per year. The first gives the privilege of receiving publications and of attending the Congress, the second the right to vote in Congress.

These dues do not pay the expenses of the Playground Association, even with the Extension Department separate. The balance is made up with the moneys solicited by the financial agent, by letter, or otherwise, in New York and other cities.



1:      That only a small percentage of expenses for the national movement is ever obtained directly from local organizations as such.

2:      That only the W.C.T.U. and the Federation of Women’s Clubs show any particular success in the carrying out of the principle of representation by fixed geographical divisions.

3:     That the national committee which has had the greatest success, has been a committee composed of laymen.

4:      that the experience of this same committee has shown that with enthusiastic support of the national committee by the local organizations the obtaining of the contributions for other than the populations from other than the populous states of Pennsylvania, New York and Massachusetts, is not an impossibility. And in order to obtain that enthusiasm one must imbue our boards with the same missionary spirit with which the Y.M.C.A. movement was and is imbued.


Based upon the study of other national federations, I would offer these points for the consideration of such a committee during the period of thinking and formulation.

#1:    A National Committee of 15 rather than a National Association.

#2:    This committee to be elected by each second annual National Convention of societies held at the time of the National Conference. This would mean of course that there would be a convention each year but that each committee would have two years leeway without change.

#3:    That certain minimum standards be required of societies desiring admission to the national body as full members, and that at the start these be:

(a)That the society has a paid agent or secretary providing its city has 5,000 population or over.

(b)That it possesses a registration bureau.

(c) That it has signed the transportation rules.

(d) That it agrees to answer inquiries sent to it by charity societies.

The only one of these standards about which I have any doubt is that with reference to the transportation code. Yet on the other hand will it bar out any societies which would give strength to the movement at the start? There may be some few really progressive societies who have not signed, but I fancy the effect on them would be to hurry their signing. You see the whole status of the movement would change with this sort of proposition. Heretofore some of the societies have eyed the Exchange Branch group as considering themselves as self appointed leaders and exclusive. But with this plan every society may seek entry provided it can satisfy a very few rudimentary requirements which indicate whether they know what organized charity means.

#4:    That there be no membership fees whatever required, but that societies which are out of the woods themselves should bestir themselves in assisting in the procuring of contributions for the national work. This would be implied, not understood. Furthermore that this would not bar special appeals being made to individual societies and that possibly the first experimentation in this direction would be in connection with charity organization extension in particular states. Exchange Branch expenses would be met as heretofore.

#5:    That contributions raised as indicated in #4, and contributions raised directly by the National Committee, shall furnish most of the sinews of war.

#6:    That the National Committee before each convention shall appoint a Committee on Report of the National Committee

#7:    That the Convention shall have a short simple constitution providing for a Committee on Credentials and Admissions which shall perform the duties of passing upon credentials and of recommending for favorable action any application for membership to the Convention itself. It may also from time to time recommend higher standards required for admission and may drop from the list any society which within three years does not reach the new standard. All of its actions being subject to review by the convention itself, but no society, dropped, for cause, being allowed to vote on the question of its readmission. This Committee to be appointed yearly by the national Committee.

#8:    The National Committee to issue the call for the convention, basing it upon the list furnished by Committee on Credentials and Applications.

#9:    Each society may be represented by a paid official and by an unpaid member of its central board or one of its committees.

#10:  The National Committee to have at least seven lay members as distinguished from paid officials of societies.

#11:  The National Committee to indirectly represent sections to avoid local jealousies, but only strong persons selected.

#12:  The National Committee to have no Executive Committee. Dr. Gulick believes most strongly that national bodies should not have executive committees, because there is again opportunity for local jealousies to crop in, with convenient executive committee which can easily meet in a certain city.


(a) A strong president and secretary to carry out board policies laid out.

(b) The Convention to elect the National Committee, a nominating committee being appointed in advance by the Committee for this purpose, and to receive and dismiss any matters presented to it by the Committee on Report of National Committee, and act upon same when required.  But all new business to be formulated first by either the National Committee, or the Committee on Report of National Committee or Special Committee Which may be created.  It shall be possible for any member to suggest any new policy of line of work, but his day in court shall be before the National Committee as the representative body of the Convention. I think we should explain very frankly that legislation in order to be on the flight basis must receive committee deliberation and committee formulation. The convention to discuss and take any action as may seem desirable on inter-society and technical questions of cooperation, but even here the tradition of committee formulation should be used. In this way the inevitable evils of a large gathering would be avoided and all societies would have a chance to express their views upon definite and detailed reports. No business outside of nominations, conferences and specific reports to be completed until the National Convention get together.

#14:  The co-relation of such a National Committee with the Charity Organization Extension Department of the Russell Sage Foundation to be of course a matter for later consideration. The further enlargement of the field work itself is of course the largest possibility for the National Committee to take hold of, it being apparent that the Charity Organization Extension Department cannot hope in enlarge its present field staff.

15#:  That with the establishment of a National Committee, such Committee shall do its part in bringing about a joint conference of all the national committees and associations to plan out any possible line of joint attack in connection with national conditions and influencing of national legislation.

Respectfully submitted,

Francis H. McLean

May 18-1909-


Editor’s Note: At the National Conference at St. Louis a plan for organizing national was presented (the Exchange Branch as the only formally organized group in charity organization had assumed responsibility for appointing the planning committee in 1909 and for transmitting its recommendations to the meeting of C.O.S in 1910) It was voted to set  up a temporary organization to prepare for final action in 1911.  The document below is a transcript of the original report of that meeting. (Note: Spelling and grammar is from the original.)


May 24, 1910


This committee was elected at a meeting of the Exchange Branch at Buffalo, June 14, 1909, to consider the question of a national organization of societies for organizing charity, and to report with recommendations at St. Louis. The Committee as elected consisted of Mr. Davis of Columbus Miss Higgins of Boston, Mr. Kingsley of Chicago, Mr. Logan of Atlanta, Mr. Magruder of Baltimore, Mr. Porsons of New York, and Mr. Almy of Buffalo, Chairman. On motion of Mr. Deforest, Miss Richmond and Mr. McLean were added.

The inception of this committee was as follows: the secretaries of various societies for organising charity, of different sizes and different parts of the country, had exposed to the Field Department their opinion that a national organization of some sort was desirable. As the Field Department last June was about to cease to exist and to transfer its activities to Charity Organization Department of the Russell Sage Foundation, there was no remaining body in the field definitely representing the charity organization movement except the Exchange Branch, a group of 24 societies which were in the habit of exchanging matter monthly. The Exchange Branch recognises that it cannot commit the societies of the county to any plan, but as the only organization which represents societies for organising charity, it ventures to make this report after which it will withdraw from this field, and limit its work to the exchange of forms, etc.

At the meeting of the exchange branch in Buffalo June 14, 1909, Miss Richmond, who presided, spoke of the proposed transfer of the Field Department to the Russell Sage Foundation. It was then stated, as expressed in the minutes of the meeting, that “it is most essential at this time to develop a parallel, national, democratic movement, which shall undertake on an increasingly large scale the work of charity organizations extensions; that the work of experimentation, study, teaching, publication, would naturally be done by the Sage Foundation, but that there is a limit to the amount of field work which it can do, although Mr. McLean’s reports show the great demand for this work that the work of the charity organization extension should not be limited to what any one charitable foundation, however generous, can do.”

The belief was also expressed that “co-operation between such parallel movements can be hearty and cordial, with no effort on either side to control or limit the other.”

This is the opinion also of this committee, all of whom have had the opportunity during the year of reading Mr. McLean’s brilliant reports of his valuable work in a vast and growing field.

As the members of this committee live in Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Ohio, and New York, frequent meetings were impossible, but one was held in Buffalo June 16th, 1909; another in New York April 16th, 1910, through the kind generosity of the Russell Sage Foundation which paid all expenses; a third in St. Louis may 20, 1910. There has been some correspondence, and the committee has studied a brief prepared by Mr. Francis H. McLean, which states in detail the method of organization of some of the chief national associations, such as the Y.M.C.A., the Federal Council of the Churches of Christ in America, the W.C.T.U., the Federation of Women’s Clubs, the National Consumers’ League, the National Playgrounds Committee, and the National Tuberculosis Association.

Mr. McLean found that the form of the organization of the Y.M.C.A. was the most helpful in its suggestions, and two tentative drafts of the constitution, considered by your committee, were both based upon the Y.M.C.A. model. Both involve the election of a national executive committee of about 15, as widely representative as possible, of which at least one-half should be laymen rather than paid officers; this committee to report annually to the national association, and to be subject to its control.

Attention was called to the phenomenal success of the Y.M.C.A., since the national organization of the 26 existing American associations which was formed at Buffalo, in 1904. There are now 3000 such associations in America, with, in 1907, 119 national field secretaries. There were also in 1907, 102 secretaries of state committees. Even the Y.M.C.A. movement, however, is not, in one aspect, so broad in a work as that of organized charity, which may properly be termed a mother of movements. A tuberculosis association, a playground association, a child-labor committee, a Juvenile court committee, will each do its special work, but no one of these associations things it its work to organize associations of another sort in the community. A society for organized charity, on the contrary, in addition to its special work of developing adequate treatment looking toward the rehabilitation of individual families, is expected to become also a Community Organization Society, and as a mother of movements, to organize playground work, tuberculosis work, in that, all kinds of social work. With the rush of social spirit sweeping over the country, with every magazine and newspaper just at present preaching social ethics, the societies for organizing charity have an enormous opportunity today if they have the strength to take it. There are a few of the cities and towns of America which have a Y.M.C.A. which will not support equally an organization of their social forces, if the social message of today is carried to them; but it will take many workers and the missionary spirit.

Your committee unanimously make the following recommendations:

1.- That the societies for organizing charity represented at the St. Louis National Conference be asked to extend the courtesy of a hearing to the recommendations contained in this report at their meeting May 24, 1910.

2.-That a National Association of Societies for Organizing Charity be formed.

3.- That a committee on temporary organization, to consist of 9 members, and include laymen, be elected by the societies for organizing charity represented at this National Conference of Charities and Correction, and that for this purpose a nominating committee of three be appointed by the chairman of the meeting of these societies.

4.- That this committee on temporary organization shall carry on the work of propaganda during the year, and shall present a tentative constitution, by-laws, program and budget to the societies at least 3 months before the meeting to be called during session of the National Conference in 1911; and this temporary committee have power to finance its own work.

5.-That after the formation of a National Association of Societies for Organizing Charity, the Exchange Branch shall cease to exist as a group representing the charity organization movement.

6.-that at each National Conference of Charities hereafter at least one day shall be given to a special conference of societies for organizing charity, under the charge of the National Committee or the temporary committee on organization in order to discuss questions of common interest not perhaps appropriate for the regular sessions of the National conference of charities and Corrections.

There was much discussion at the meeting of your committee as to whether it should recommend immediate national organization for work this fall, the organization to become effective as soon as a fixed number of societies should ratify it. Those in favor of this argued that the eight or more lay members of a National committee of 15 could easily raise one thousand dollars each for this work in their sections of the country and that the two hundred or more societies could raise enough more [sic] for a strong stare this autumn without losing time. The prevailing opinion, which in the end was unanimous, was against this and in favor of the recommendations as stated.

Respectfully Submitted.

Frederic Almy, Chairman.




At a meeting of Charity Organization Societies at St. Louis May 24th, 1910, which was attended by 103 delegates, a National Association of Societies for Organizing Charity was formed under a temporary organization. The vote was unanimous, and followed the recommendations of a report, printed in full herewith, which was submitted by the Special committee elected at the Buffalo National Conference of Charities in 1909.

The committee on temporary organization, elected at St. Louis May 24, 1910, was instructed to carry on the work of propaganda during the year, and to present a tentative constitution, by laws, program and budget to the charity organization societies at least three months before the Boston National Conference of Charities-1911.

It is hoped the different societies will come to Boston with the authority to ratify this constitution.

The committee on temporary organization is composed as follows—

John F. Newbold, President Philadelphia Society  for Organizing Charity.

William R. Stirling, Chicago

William H. Bawldwin, Washington

J.H. Hanson, Sec’y Charity Organization Society Youngstown, Ohio.

Alice L. Higgins, Sec’y Charity Organization Society, Boston, Mass.

Joseph C. Dogan, Sec’y Associated Charities, Atlanta,

Eugene T. Lies, Sec’y Charity Organization Society, Minneapolis

W. Frank Persons, Sup’t Charity Organization Society, New York City

Frederic Almy, Sec’y Charity Organization Society, Buffalo, -and secretary of the Committee.

In presenting this statement and the St. Louis report this committee wishes to express its belief that a national organization is important and necessary. It is not proposed to break away from the National Conference of Charities but to have a separate one day session preceding the National Conference at which questions peculiar to Charity Organizations Societies can be more adequately considered than at the National Conference where the charity organization movement covers only a part of one of the eight sections.

The chief work of the new association, if made permanent, would be the formation of new charity organizations societies through-out the country, in response to a call which exceeds all present resources for such work. Some discussion of this subject will be found in the report which was adopted at St. Louis, but that report does not attempt to discribe [sic] the unrelieved misery which exists in cities where there is nothing corresponding to a charity organization society. In such cities the families of widows and deserted wives are ruthlessly scattered and poverty increases through neglect. In such cities a also [sic] the social forces of the community are less likely to be organized for effective action against social evils.

No form of constitution has been considered which will involve more than a very light cost to the societies which join the Association or impose upon them any obligation except to assist in the work of extension according to their ability.

The name “Societies for organizing charity” was used in order to include charity organization societies, associated charities, united charities, bureaus of charity, federated charities, etc.

Question in regard to the proposed new Association may be addressed to the secretary of the committee or to any of the members. The tentative constitution and by-laws, to be acted upon at Boston in 1911, will be sent out for consideration later when a form has been agreed upon by this committee.


John S. Newbold,

Chairman pro tem.

Frederic Almy,





Proposed constitution.


The name of this body shall be the National Association of Societies for Organizing Charity. Its purpose shall be to promote the extension, co-operation and standardization of such societies in this country.


The Association shall hold an annual meeting of one day immediately before or after the sessions of the National Conference of Charities and Correction. At the annual meeting each society represented shall have one vote, to be cast by a delegate in attendance.


All societies for organizing charity shall be eligible for membership, whether known as charity organization societies, associated charities, united charities, or otherwise, provided they conform to the minimum requirements for membership as established from time to time by this Association. These requirements shall include

(a)   A paid agent or secretary on full time provided the society represents a city with a population of 5000 or over.

(b)  A registration bureau.

(c)   Signing the rules governing the issuance of transportation by charitable societies and public officials, as promulgated by the National Conference of Charities and Correction.

(d)  An agreement to answer inquiries sent to it by societies for organizing charities in other cities.


(a)     The officers of this Association shall consist only of a National Committee of fifteen members of whom at least one half shall be lay members as distinguished from paid officials of societies. Five members shall be elected at each annual meeting of the Association for a term of three years. The National Committee shall have power to fill vacancies in its own numbers.

(b)     (The National Committee shall have no executive committee.) The committee shall elect annually a chairman, vice chairman, treasurer and general secretary. All except the general secretary must be members of the committee and must serve without pay.

(c)     The National Committee shall have power to fix the salary of the general secretary or of other assistants engaged by it. The duties of the general secretary shall include those of a field secretary and of a financial secretary.

(d)     The National Committee shall meet at least once a year for a session of not more than two days. In order to equalize the cost of attendance the traveling expenses of the members to and from the place of meeting shall be paid from the funds of the Association. At other times a mail vote of the members of the committee may be ordered by the Chairman, or by any five members of the Committee.

(e)     The National Committee shall report annually in print at the meeting of the Association.

(f)     The National Committee shall in its discretion appoint a Committee on Colleges. It shall be the duty of this committee to interest college undergraduates in both paid and unpaid social work.

(g)     The National Committee shall in its discretion appoint a Committee on Co-operation which shall arrange for co-operation with the Charity Organization Extension Department of the Russell Sage Foundation, or for a definite demarcation of responsibility between the two.


The Association shall elect annually a committee on Membership and Credentials which shall consist of three (five) persons. This committee shall receive and pass upon credentials and applications for membership and may drop from the list of members any society which does not maintain the prescribed standards, but all action by this committee is reversible by the National Association.


To meet in par the expenses of the Association and of the National Committee each society entitled to vote at the annual meeting must have paid to the treasurer a membership fee of one dollar for every thousand dollars received by the society from any sources, including legacies and endowments, in its last fiscal year. Contributions shall also be raised directly by the National Committee, with the assistance of societies when asked for. It is expected that each society will help the National Committee heartily in its field of work.


This constitution may be amended at any annual meeting of the Association by a three-quarters vote of the Societies represented.







Section #1: The Name of this body shall be the National Committee of Charity Organization Societies.



Section #2: The purposes of this committee, and of the National Assembly which creates it, as

hereinafter described, shall be to promote co-operation in, and extension of, the charity organization movement.



Section #1: The Committee shall be composed of 15 members, elected annually by the National

Assembly of Charity Organization Societies, as hereinafter described.



Section #1: At the time of the National Conference of Charities and Correction of  there shall be

called meeting of societies, who shall affirm that they maintain the minimum standards as described in Article VI, Section  #1,  of this constitution. If the proposed organization and constitution are then approved of, societies there represented, who may so desire, shall become charter members of the National Assembly by signing this constitution.

Section #2: At the time of voting upon this constitution, each society represented shall have one vote,

though it may have more than one representative present.

Section #3: At this initial meeting a National Committee shall be created; and thereafter it shall be the

duty of this National Committee to call the annual meeting of the National Assembly of Charity Organization Societies at some time during the sessions of the National Conference of Charities and Correction or immediately thereafter.

Section # 4: At such subsequent National Assemblies the basis of voting shall be one vote for each

society therein represented, though such societies may have mother than one representative at such assembly.



Section #1: Wherever the words, “Charity Organization Society,” or “Societies” are used in this

constitution they shall refer always to any charity organization society or society for organizing charity, or associated charities, or united

charities, or in fact any society which serves in any community the purposes of the organization described  the above terms.



Section #1: Such societies as through their representatives sign this constitution as charter members

shall each affirm that it maintains the following minimum standards:

(a)   That it has a paid agent or secretary, providing it is a city with 5,000 population or over

(b)  Possesses a registration bureau.

(c)   That it has signed the rules governing the issuance of transportation by charitable societies and public officials, as promulgated by a special committee of the National Conference of Charities and Correction.

(d)  That it agrees to answer inquiries sent to it by organized charity societies in other places.

Section #2: This organizing meeting, and thereafter at subsequent annual business meetings of the

National Assembly, there shall be created a Committee on Membership, which shall receive applications for membership in the National Assembly, and recommend action on same to the National Assembly. No society shall be recommended for membership unless it maintains the minimum standards as defined in Article VI, Section #1, of this constitution. Such committee shall also from time to time recommend higher standards for admission to the National Assembly, and upon approval of such higher standards by that body, may drop from the list any society which does not reach the new standards, as defined, within three years.



Section #1: Each member of the National Assembly shall be liable to an annual due of $

Section #2: The National Committee shall be authorized to raise such additional contributions as may be

required to carry on the work entrusted to it by the National Assembly. In pursuance of this it may seek the aid and influence of the different members of the National Assembly and their officers, though without further definite responsibility being assumed by such societies or officers.



Section #1: Immediately upon election the National Committee shall within 24 hours proceed to the

election of a Chairman, Vice-Chairman, Treasurer and General Secretary. Such officers to serve until the election of the next succeeding National Committee, excepting the General Secretary. The General Secretary shall call the new National Committee together, as hereinafter provided. Upon calling the Committee to order he shall at once call for nominations for temporary chairman.  All officers of the Committee, excepting the General Secretary may, or may not, be a member of the Committee.

Section # 2: The General Secretary may serve without compensation, or serve for such compensation as

may be fixed by the National Committee.  All other paid officials shall be appointed by the National Committee and serve at its pleasure.



Section #1: A meeting of the National Committee shall be held on

At this meeting the plans of work for the succeeding year shall be cone over in detail and specific instructions given to the Chairman and General Secretary with reference to the execution of plans laid down, and specific instructions to the Treasurer as to the expenditures of the money may come into his hands.

Section #2: Thereafter is any additional instructions are required during the course of the year and

before the National Committee may be called together at the time of the National Conference of Charities and Correction, these additional instructions shall be given by a mail vote of the members of the Committee, which may be ordered by the Chairman or by any five members of the Committee.

Section #3: A system of vouchering and accounting, which shall be followed by the Treasurer in the

receipt and expenditure of money in his hands, shall be specifically set down by the National Committee at the time of the meeting described under Article IX Section I of this constitution.

Section #4: There shall be a Committee on Audit of three appointed from the general membership of

the National Assembly, which shall audit the accounts of the Treasurer and General Secretary, and present its report as an appendix of the report of the National Committee, and shall be incorporated in its report.

Section #5: There shall be a Committee on Report, consisting of the Chairman, General Secretary and three other members appointed at the meeting of the National Committee, as provided for in Article IX Section I of this constitution. This Committee shall be charged with the duty of making a report of the year’s work, and such report of the year’s work, and such reports shall be submitted to the other members of the National Committee at least 60 days before the time set for the opening session of the National Conference of Charities and Correction.

Section 6: At least 15 days before the time set for the opening session of each succeeding National Conference of Charities and Correction, the above report, with whatever amendments have been approved by a majority of the Committee, shall be submitted to all of the members of the National Assembly.



Section #1: The specific duties of the National Committee shall be as follows:

(a)   To carry out any action or work which it is ordered to do by the National Assembly.

(b)  It may also serve as agent for Exchange Branches, or for any other co-operative movements between the societies.

(c)   As before described, it shall make a report of its work, which shall be submitted to the members of the National Assembly.

(d)  In such report it shall also make suggestions and recommendations regarding the work of succeeding National Committees.

(e)   It shall arrange the time and place for each National Assembly and shall notify all members of the Assembly of such time and place at least five days before the date fixed upon.

(f)    It shall also appoint a temporary Chairman and temporary Secretary of each National Assembly, who shall serve until permanent officers are chosen.

(g)   Shall arrange for the program of the National Assembly and shall present to its officials the accredited list of societies which are members of the National Assembly.



Section #1: The procedure of the business session of the National Assembly shall be as follows:

(a)   The Temporary Chairman X shall be chosen by the National Committee shall call the Assembly to order, and the Temporary Secretary shall call over the roll of accredited members.

(b)  If                        or more members are represented, the Temporary Chairman shall appoint a committee of three on Organization of Convention.

(c)   This committee shall at once retire and immediately return back, recommending the election of a permanent Chairman and permanent Secretary.

(d)  Such a Committee on Organization and action upon various recommendations made in the report of the Nationals Committee. The National Assembly shall then consider and decide upon the various specifications and recommendations of the National Committee.

(e)   During such discussion the Committee on Organization should withdraw and later return, making nominations for membership upon the National Committee of the Succeeding year.

(f)    New business, which may be brought up by any member of the Assembly, provided, however, that if such new business in any way enlarges the instructions given to the National Committee for the carrying out of its work, or which touches upon any general question of policy in connection with the National Assembly, it shall be referred for further consideration either to the National Committee, or a special committee Immediately appointed.

(g)   Any matter so referred to the National Committee or to the Special Committee shall be brought up for final decision at the next National Assembly.

Section #2: there shall be such other sessions of the National Assembly as may be proposed in the

program of the National Committee, or by vote of the National Assembly itself when permanently organized. At such sessions questions of general policy shall be vested in the hands of the National Committee, or a Special Committee at that time appointed. In other words, no question of work shall be finally approved by a National Assembly unless such a statement of policy has been previously formulated by the National Committee, or by some special committee.



Section #1: This Consolidated Constitution and By-laws may be amended in the following ways:

(a)   Whenever the National Committee in its annual report proposes such amendment, it may be considered at the session of the General Assembly, under the head of New Business. It shall go into effect if therein approved by a two third vote of the members there represented, or

(b)  When presented by any member of the National Assembly in writing, it shall be considered at the business session of the National Assembly in the following year, unless unanimous consent is obtained for its immediate consideration. As in (a) a two third vote of members present shall be required for its passage.


Source: Family Service Association of America Records. University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, Social Welfare History Archives. Minneapolis, MN:

How to Cite this Article (APA Format): Hansan, J.E. (2013). Family Service Association of America: Part II. Retrieved [date accessed] from /?p=8423.

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