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United Way Pioneers


A Chronological Digest

Of the Growth and Development of the

United Way in Planning and Financing

Condensed from

research compiled by


Edited by

Barbara Abel * Helen Shenefield * Elizabeth Lund

April 1970





Editor’s Note:This entry is Chapter II from the “History of Federation” (title page above) It is an excellent history of the evolution of federated fund raising and planning councils and their relationship to the National Conference on Charities and Corrections, Charity Organization Societies, the National Association of Societies for Organizing Charity, settlement houses, Jewish Federations and the Russell Sage Foundation.  There are also references to key actors in these developments: Francis H. McLean, John M. Glenn, Charles Kellogg, Jane Addams, Mary Richmond and Elwood Street.

Denver in 1887, having grown from less than 5,000 citizens in 1870 to 100,000 was emeshed in a tangle of relief problems. As the Denver Community Chest later recalled in its Golden Anniversary program,”Many of its people were health seekers, some were wealth seekers who had lost their stakes in search of gold and silver and a great many others were unemployed ‘soldiers of fortune’ who had come West because of the glamour that might be found. Denver was prosperous in many ways but these classes of people brought a serious charity and relief problem to the community.”( 6 )

Recognizing their city’ s welfare problems and the need for cooperative action, four Denver clergymen got together to work out a plan for organization: Rev.Myron W. Reed, who had worked in Indianapolis with the Rev. McCulloch in establishing the COS; Msgr. William J. O’Ryan who had worked in England and was familiar with English fund-raising methods; Dean H. Martyn Hart of St. John’s Episcopal Church, and Rabbi William S. Friedman.

Their activities and plans resulted in establishment of the Charity Organization Society, launched in 1887 at a public meeting of agency representatives and other interested persons. The Rev. Mr. Reed was elected president.

The new organization of 22 agencies had two functions and apparently two names, one official, the other unofficial. As the COS (the legal name) it coordinated relief services, counselled and referred clients to coopera­ting agencies, and made some emergency assistance grants in cases which could not be referred.  In addition it served as agent in collecting funds for charities of a diverse nature, including itself. These fund-participating agencies were unofficially called Associated Charities, a name first used in 1879  by Boston for its local COS.

With the power structure of the city giving leadership and backing, the COS got off to a good start. Ten agencies participated in the first joint appeal, which raised $21 , 700 in November 1888 . Of this, $17 , 880.03 went to the organizations, the balance to the COS for its expenses and emergency relief work.

Denver was aware, however, that more was involved in a united campaign than raising money.  The first annual report said, “Your Executive Committee must not only be a means to the collection of a fund and disburse the same, but must also act in an advisory and supervisory direction in securing greater efficiency in the various societies; carefully examine the financial reports of the different institutions, prevent waste and extravagance; establish such particular branches of charities as may from time to time become necessary and aid the growth of those now in existence; and on the whole give the public a better understanding of the entire charity dispensation in our city.”  (7)

This new federation was popular, active and influential. It persuaded the city council to construct a large hospital, secured the creation of the state department of charities, organized a state conference of charities , brought  the  annual meeting of the National Conference on  Charities and Corrections to Denver in 1892 and secured needed  legislation in  both city and state.

The Federation continued to increase in favor and influence during its first five or six years. Then Congress demonetized silver and the panic of ’93 followed.  Banks and business houses failed on every hand. Probably this new experiment in joint financing  would have collapsed had not the city fathers come to the rescue with substantial appropriations during those dark years. Even with this help the Society found increas­ing difficulty in meeting the growing needs of its agencies.  Some of them withdrew; others put on strenuous individual efforts to raise funds. Federation officials became discouraged and on two occasions recommended that the 0rganization be dissolved, but fifteen loyal agency members would not consent.

Despite the pioneering nature and initial success of the Denver plan, it had little effect on other communities.  Later comment was critical of Denver’s initial efforts toward central financing. When in 19 24 the Chicago Council of Social Agencies considered some sort of Community Chest, a spokesman  commented, “The (Denver) plan had its roots almost exclusively in a desire for economy and the saving of the giving public from annoyance.  It did not sufficiently stress cooperation, community planning, and high standards of work.” (8) Further judgment was added by William J. Norton, director of the Detroit Community Fund, in his book, The Cooperative Movementin Social Work published in 1927.  “Although the Denver people were seeking a charity organization society, they visioned a financial federation at the same time; and the thing that they created was in part an association of agencies, in part an association of people interested in philanthropy, and in part a family welfare society…The plan lacked financial power, partly because of the time and the setting, partly because there was no driving responsibility, and partly because of the intimate association of the office with one of the major portions of the field of social work, family welfare and  relief… Because of its financial weakness it did not correct duplication, at least in money raising, or lower administrative costs, or command the necessary respect to enable it to steer the development of the field.”    (9)

While Denver was developing its pioneer plan for united financing, other social services throughout America were moving toward joint planning and financing of community health and welfare services. From 25 Charity Organization Societies in 1883  there were about 100  in 1895, most of them in the North.   These societies became very influential in American social service and “developed in many…communities a kind of ‘overlordship of charity.’ The dominating position which they came to occupy came from the fact that the business community frequently turned to such organizations for protection from imposters. It was a natural step for them to add supervisory powers which were to eventuate into the work  of charities endorsement.”   ( 10)

The depression of 1873-80 had impressed upon many the need for cooperation in relief measures. Charity Organization Societies had helped substantially in raising relief funds and directing their distribution.  While soup kitchens and bread lines were to be found in many communities, more constructive measures were also being taken. Even while the depression was at its height, thoughtful social workers were pressing for more cooperation in social service.

Surplus wealth from industrial and business expansion following the depression added to charitable funds.

But while benevolence was increasing, so were needs. Industrial­ization reached a high point and there were myriad problems of child labor, employment of women, low wages,  long working hours, bad and crowded housing, poor sanitation, tuberculosis, delinquency, crime and other social ills.  Many voices were raised for reform and social justice. Prevention as well as treatment of human ills became the purpose of many health and welfare organizations.

Reform was not to take place overnight, however.   A long tradition of harshness, the prevailing theory of laissez-faire, fear that aid would encourage laziness, and widespread misunderstanding  ruled against rapid change.  Pauperism was considered a character defect, hereditary and probably due to intemperance.  Almshouses were deliberately kept undesirable in order to discourage people from seeking admission.  There was great need for consolidation of   charitable efforts.

At the annual meeting of the National Conference on Charities and Corrections in 1893,  Charles D. Kellogg, chairman of the Section on Charity Organization, pointed out,”Cooperation  is one of the most difficult (goals) of attainment…In some cities there exists a distinct hostility in the older charity societies to charity organization. They resent the implication that their work may need a mending or they are umwilling to submit to any outside judgment.”   ( 11 )

While national conferences had begun in 1874 with the Conference of Boards ofPublic Charities, regional and state conferences now were being organized. The first State Conference of Charities and Correction was held in Wisconsin in 1881. At the same time national health and welfare agencies were being established: the Young Men’s Christian Assn. in 1854,  American Red Cross in 1881 and others. Between 1870 and 1919 a total of 97 national voluntary welfare agencies were organized. A hand book published in 1892 for the Illinois Conference of Charities and Correction listed 450 charity societies and state institutions.

Social settlements were coming into prominence, adding  to  the  American scene  the concept of  living among those to be  helped .  Jane  Addams founded her famous Hull House in Chicago in 1889, three years after Neighborhood Guild, the first, was established in New York.

In  1893 the International Congress of Charities, Correction  and Philanthropy  was held in Chicago  during the World’s Fair, bringing delegates from  all over the civilized world.    One of the speakers was Francis G. Peabody of   Boston who had made a study of English social service. He  spoke  on the value of   the  Liverpool  plan for  joint fund rais­ing .  “Scattered and disconnected  organizations are enormously extravagant . There is more than one  institution today in most  of our cities calling itself a charity where at least a half of the total income goes  to  support the person who collects the funds .. . Still further, this very multiplicity of demands  makes many persons   shrink  all together from their duty. They are never safe from these irregular appeals, their giving becomes un-systemmatic and spasmodic, and finally they begin to harden their hearts to the whole subject.” (12) He then recommended inauguration of  joint financing plans in America.

Until this time  agency  campaigns  had been long drawn-out affairs, but  in  1893 the Omaha , Nebraska YMCA  use a short-term campaign for new members,  and the  YMCA in  New Westminster, British Columbia obtained pledges  for  $6000 in two weeks . From 1902 to  1904 the Washington D.C. YMCA   raised  $200,000,  the  last $85,000 in  a short time .  These successful plans were later adopted by many Community Chests and United Funds.

Charitable institutions were given  a great boost in 1894 and an important precedent was set when they were exempted from the first federal act imposing a tax on “all corporations organized for profit.” The exemptions for charitable, religious, and educational organizations have been continued in every subsequent Federal Income Tax Law. By   1894, similar exemptions were well established in the property tax laws of the various states, the origin of such exemptions dating back to medieval days.

In several cities, Jewish agencies formed their own independent federations, starting with Boston in 1895 and followed by Cincinnati, Chicago, Philadelphia, Cleveland, St. Louis, Kansas City, Detroit, Denver, New York, Baltimore, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Pittsburgh.  Reasons for this early recognition of federation’s advantages by Jewish organizations included the compactness and mutual concern of the Jewish community, and the rapid increase in Jewish immigration following Russia’s persecutions.  Then “the simple, leisurely pace of helping an occasional immigrant could not be maintained….Some far sighted leaders and generous contributors… (decided) to bring together the various agencies engaged in separate fund raising and to concentrate on a single annual, combined subscription appeal.” (13)

A development of great significance took place in 1898 – the first formal training for professional staff members of health and welfare agencies. It was a summer training course for charity workers, sponsored by the New York COS.  In 1904 this course grew into a one-year program of the New York School of Philanthropy, now Columbia University School of Social Work.  Similar courses and institutes were started at the University of Chicago, and at Boston, Philadelphia, St. Louis and other campuses. Today there are more than 60 accredited graduate schools of social work in the United States and Canada, practically all of which include instruction in community organization.

The Twentieth Century Begins

The Twentieth Century opened with increasing material progress and wealth, but intensified social problems as well.   There was no minimum age for child labor, no regulation of hours and wages, few standards of safety for workers.   Efforts of social reformers were concentrated on easing hardships rather than changing the basic social structure.

An awakening of social conscience was at hand, however, resulting in a rise in social movements and a tremendous multiplication of social agencies. Opposition continued to governmental assumption of responsibility for welfare programs even though  “in 1898 the United States Supreme Court, reflecting the rising liberal trend, affirmed that it was the duty of the state to protect the health and morals of its citizens through its police power, thus making it constitutional to limit the hours of labor in dangerous occupations.” (14)

The vast number and diversity of appeals brought about a new system for protecting the contributor. In 1900 the Cleveland Chamber of Commerce formed a Committee on Benevolent Associations, followed in 1902 by San Francisco and soon thereafter by New York City. Standards were established such as: limiting solicitors’  fees to 15 percent; requiring solicitors to show identification cards and give receipts; and forbidding charities from lending their names to benefit entertainments.  In New York con­tributors were furnished a complete confidential report without endorse­ment or recommendation.

Foundations were organized in great numbers after the turn of the century as men of great wealth recognized the opportunity for providing social services not likely to be supported by either government or private individuals.   The thought was  that such funds would be the venture capital of philanthropy.  They were bold enterprises, dedicated not to direct relief but to the advancement of knowledge and human welfare. Their great weapon against human misery was research, and their purposes included prevention and discovery. Between 1901 and 1913 the following, among others, were established: Rockefeller Institute for Medical Re­search, Carnegie Foundation, Milbank Memorial Fund, Russell Sage Founda­tion, Carnegie Corporation, and Rockefeller Foundation.  A directory of charities published in Chicago in 1905  listed 3000  agencies, including churches, and carried an epitome of laws affecting health and welfare.

Cooperation among agencies continued to be a major concern of the 143 Community Organization Societies then in existence, focusing, as Miss Mary Richmond of the Philadelphia COS explained, on “the restoration of poor families.” Today the emphasis is on the well being of the entire community and overall planning.  Feeling a need to exchange information with other professionals, several COS secretaries attending the 1905 National Conference of Charities and Correction annual meeting in Portland, Ore. agreed to exchange form letters and printed matter each month through a central agency.

At the 1907 annual  meeting of the National Conference in Minneapolis, 10 of the 16 secretaries belonging to the COS exchange decided to employ a field secretary and undertake work on a national scale.  Francis H. McLean, Superintendent of the Brooklyn Bureau of Charities, was hired for the job.  The Russell Sage Foundation made a one-year grant of $7,500 and the new department went to work with Miss Richmond as Chairman.

At the 1906 annual meeting of the National Conference Dr. Walter S. Ufford, general secretary  of The Baltimore Federated Charities asked, “Do we not need a financial clearing house to assume responsibility for the support of our local charities? Let there be in every city and town a representative body or committee to review annually the charitable needs of the community.  Let this committee receive and act upon all separate budgets of existing charitable agencies.  Let it issue an annual appeal…Let the committee’s campaign be an educational one…Let this committee also pass upon the merit of existing charitable agencies, seeking to coordinate their work, to reduce duplication…Here is a chance for some bold spirit to make history, for the rest of us to follow or to avoid.” (15)

In five years such bold action was to be taken and history to be made.  But it was preceded by bold action in joint planning.

America’s First Council

Pittsburgh is generally held to have organized  America’s  first Council of  Social Agencies in  1908, action brought  about as the result of a survey after  the  industrial depression  of  1907 by the  new  Russell Sage  Foundation .

When Russell Sage, an American financier, died in 1906 he left nearly all of his $65 million fortune to his wife.  One of her earliest gifts was that of $10 million for the establishment of the Russell Sage Foundation for “the improvement of social and living conditions in the United States of America.”  The Foundation was incorporated in 1907 and one of its first projects was the Pittsburgh survey which was “expected to be not merely research but ‘an object lesson not only to the city of Pittsburgh itself but to American industrial cities of which it is a type.'” (16)


Conducted by Francis H. McLean, the survey had an explosive impact on the economic and social structure  of the city. “The survey shocked the community out of any complacency it might have had by its description of the deplorable conditions found among the less privileged residents.”  (17) It told of poor working and living conditions and revealed that social agencies were duplicating services to a shocking extent. At this time Pittsburgh had a myriad of agencies but alone among large cities had no COS.

As a result of Mr. McLean’s report and recommendations, Associated Charities of Pittsburgh was established in 1908, largely through the efforts of the Civic Club of Pittsburgh. It was an association of charities which appointed delegates to a central council. Purposes were to form a social service exchange, conduct monthly meetings, hold conferences on case problems and in other ways develop cooperation. It was intended as a general relief organization, but tried to enlist material relief from other agencies where needed.

All did not go well at first. Some of the agencies to be coordinated objected and an investigationwas launched by the Chamber of Commerce. A committee of the Chamber gave Associated Charities a clean bill of health and also gave the premise on which it was founded an enthusiastic endorsement.

In 1909 the nation’s second joint planning body for community health and welfare services was organized in Milwaukee, Wis. and another in Elmira, New York where agencies were housed under one roof and supported by one annual campaign conducted by the Women’s Federation.

Formation of Milwaukee’s Council of Social Agencies also followed a study by Francis McLean of the Russell Sage Foundation.  It consolidated the efforts of 36 local organizations. In its first four years the Council counted among its achievements: appointment of a County probation officer, development of social centers, establishment of standards for relief, breaking up a notorious baby farm, passage of a law limiting night messengers to men over 21, installation of social. workers in hospitals and the Juvenile Court, and efforts toward laws requiring licensing of child placing organizations.

At the 1909 meeting of the National Conference on Charities and Corrections the 23 COS organizations which had been exchanging information monthly selected a committee to establish a national organization.   This was accomplished in 1911 when the National Association of Societies for Organizing Charity was formed , with 60 of the 129 Charity Organization Societies joining.  It assumed the duties of extension work, while the COS Department of the Russel.l Sage Foundation retained the tasks of research, publishing a journal and offering a short course for training COS workers. In 1911. Francis McLean became general secretary of the new organization, which continues today, through several name changes, as Family Service Association of America.  It is now a federation of more than 300 local Family Service Agencies,  providing field service information, conducting research and publishing topical materials and reports.

President Theodore Roosevelt called the first White House Conference on the Care of Dependent Children in January, 1909.    It had a tremendous effect on improving standards of child care, including establishment of the Federal Children’s Bureau in 1912. Proceedings of the Conference pointed out the necessity for overall planning and cooperation. “The most important and valuable philanthropic work is not the curative but the preventive…To secure these ends we urge effi­cient cooperation with all agencies for social betterment.”  (18)

ln Columbus, Ohio in the fall of 1910 a Council was fonned, growing out of Associated Charities which had been established in 1899 to prevent overlapping of services and multiplicity of solicitations. Associated Charities actually served as a community planning group, becoming more and more involved in family service. During the depression of 1908 unemployment was so great that Associated Charities launched a one-clay campaign for funds to pay the unemployed to clean city streets. A team of women in one day raised $9,359.92 with which a dispensary was established.  Provisions, coal and clothing were given to the unemployed in payment for work on the streets at the rate of 15 cents per hour, probably the first city-wide “work relief” program.

In 1910, following a 10 day study of Columbus, Francis McLean made recommendations leading to a new organization, Central Philanthropic Council, which served for 11 years.  In 1921 it organized the Council of Social Agencies and moved further into the field of family service itself, eventually becoming the Family and Children’s Bureau.

In that same year (1910), Mr. McLean, still working as field secretary for the national Exchange, wrote a booklet in which he warned of the danger when churches or charities took the initiative in Council formation because of consequent limiting of scope. He urged that Councils be representative of the entire community and warned that they might not succeed in communities with antagonisms and jealousies among agencies. (19)

Some communities organized informal groups called Social Workers’ Clubs, several of which actively promoted central Councils and later financial federations and Community Chests. One such group was in St. Louis, Mo., organized in 1907. It studied the problems of overlapping and duplicating services.   A committee was named and came up with resolutions to form a Central Council, initiate more complete registration of cases, and organize a charities committee of the Businessmen’s League to supply contributor information and endorse approved appeals.  For the first 10 years the Central Council operated on a small budget, but as work increased pressure built up in favor of hiring a full-time Council secretary. In 1921 Elw0od Street, who had been with the Louisville Welfare League (now  Community Chest); was hired as Executive Secretary and that fall the organization name was changed to the St. Louis Community Council. A year later the Community Fund was formed.

In all these early ventures into joint planning the idea of central registration of clients was important. The Russell Sage Foundation in 1912 published a pamphlet containing recommended standards and administrative practices for such bureaus.

Joint financing was also becoming a matter of gr0wing interest.   In Cleveland a special committee of the Chamber of Commerce made studies and reports which w0uld  lead to the establishment of the first modern Community Chest in 1913. Hearing of this, Chamber leaders in San Antonio went ahead and organized a federation without waiting to see how Cleveland organized and put its plan into operation. This organiza­tion never really functioned and soon disbanded for lack of support. This failure was explained in 1913  at the National Conference on Charities and Corrections by J. J. O’Connor, secretary of Associated Charities in Minneapolis. He said the abortive attempt was made “by  a body of business men who seem to have been ignorant of both the needs of social service and of the proper methods to accomplish their aims…A Chamber of Commerce can very well  initiate a Federation of Social Agencies, but no greater blunder can by any chance be made than to have such a body dictate completely the control of the Federation after its creation.”     He also had this advice to offer: “It is not enough for social agencies to refrain from saying disagreeable things about each other…(There is) present pressing and quickly increasing need for some coordinator of social service activities, some eliminator of social service waste, some developer of effective charity, some corrector of defective charity, some methods of making eccentric charity concentric.” (20)   Mr. O’ Connor made an effective plea for organizing central Councils of Social Agencies and was careful to deny that it should have any part in central financing.

The First Modern Community  Chest_

Growing out of ideas that had been germinating for a long time, the first true financial federation was organized in Cleveland in 1913. As far back as 1873 there had been concern over the haphazard pattern of charitable giving, and the influential Cleveland and Bethel Relief Assn. had recommended that there should be only one organization or channel in the city for investigation and distribution.

Several years of organization work followed and a plan developed by 1881, a plan that might: have worked but for indifference and lack of full representation. Thus the Council never functioned as an instrument of cooperation in the way its founders had intended.  In many communities during subsequent years it was to become a known fact that it is easier to get names than active participants in joint planning.

Crises have often brought important changes. So too in Cleveland where hard times  had hit in 1883-4 and throngs of applicants sought work and relief.  Public pressure for consolidation built up and in 1884 the COS and Bethel Associated Charities consolidated, the union becoming permanent in 1886 when the idea of the innocuous Central Council was abandoned. Representatives from other agencies were added and began making reports on their work at BAC annual meetings. An annual conference of Cleveland Charities was instituted.   In 1900 BAC voted to incorporate and change its name to the Cleveland Associated Charities.  Among those joining and w0rking actively with the new association was the Chamber of Commerce.

By  1906 the Chamber committee had begun to think about the p0ssibilityi of financial federation, but a subcommittee concluded that contributors would be entirely unwilling to relinquish their vested interests in their various ” pet” institutions and substitute an impersonal participation in support of all agencies.

Still the idea did not die and the following year another subcommittee recommended organization of financial federation. This committee’s study made it shockingly clear that the giving public had little interest in or understanding of the broad needs of charity and supported it unevenly.  Backed by strong contributor endorsement the committee started plans for a federated campaign, but the depression hit the city and the idea was postponed until 1908.

New studies, continuing into 1909, showed that budgets had increased while the number of contributors decreased.  Not only this but there was great disparity in development of agencies. “It is apparent,” read a report in 1910, “that unless some equitable force is brought into play properly to distribute charitable funds, it will be only a question of  time when many institutions doing reliable and efficient work will be in a state of bankruptcy, while others will be laying up a surplus and enlarging their work along lines not warranted.”  (21)

The report went on to explain at length the pros and cons of federation, citing the successful experience of Jewish Federations in various cities, and listing safeguards against undue influence or dictatorial control.  It concluded with recommendations for establishing a Federation.

Further consideration was given when the committee called on large givers to secure their commitment if possible.  Among these were Samuel Mather, capitalist and philanthropist, and John D. Rockefeller of Standard Oil fame.  Both men warmly approved.

Finally, in 1911 the Chamber’s Board of Directors gave a tentative “go ahead” to the committee which set out on a hunt for a qualified executive secretary.  It was no easy task, and it was not until November 1912 that Charles Whiting Williams, who had been assistant to the president of Oberlin College, began work in this capacity. Organization proceeded rapidly with a Board of Directors composed of 10 persons elected by member organizations, 10 by contributors, and 10 appointed by the president.  No paid employees of constituent organizations was eligible for board membership.

An “open door” policy for agency membership was clearly stated; designated gifts were recognized; agencies were free to solicit donations from persons who had not contributed through the Federation; benefit bazaars, balls, and other entertainments were eliminated; and member agencies were required to present reports on activities to the board and open their books to it.

In presenting the plan to Chamber members, Chairman Martin A. Marks, prominent in Jewish charities, said, “The proposals put before you seem to the Committee not only reasonable but positively inevitable if the problem of philanthropy in Cleveland is to be solved. The plan proposed differs in essential points from any devised or practiced in any other city.   It is not a federation of institutions alone as in Denver, not of givers alone, nor of both together.     It is a federation for the advancing of charity and philanthropy, of institutions, of givers and of citizens.  It does not intend to be a mere collecting agency, as is the Liverpool project. It will hope to produce its results in the way of a wiser distribution mainly through a better­ educated giver rather than through its own action.   It does not, furthermore, plan to do away with the financial activities of the various constituent organizations, but direct these activities toward the non-giver.

“For the institution, for the donor and for the citizen, the plan is proposed. For the institution, it should mean a larger life because of more money and because of broader, deeper public interest. For the donor, it should mean broader social knowledge and larger satisfaction, without the pleasure of one gift being spoiled by the unhappiness of ten refusals. For the citizen, it should mean a better Cleveland.”   ( 22 )

On March 1, 1913  the nation’s first modern Community Chest came into being, and its first board meeting was held. Reported the Cleveland Plain Dealer:  Twenty thousand donors to charity within the next two years is the slogan of the board of the Cleveland Federation of Charity and Philanthropy, which met Saturday and completed its organization…A meeting of the executive conm1ittee will be held at the Chamber of Commerce  tomorrow afternoon to arrange for reaching the donors, now numbering 6000… ‘The eyes of the universe are on Cleveland’ declared Clinton Rogers Woodruff, secretary of the National Municipal League, in speaking of the work undertaken by the Federation, which is the first of  its kind in the country.” (23)

Cleveland avoided two mistakes made in Denver, recognizing the necessity for an able staff and the need for a steady campaign of public education and interpretation.  A speakers bureau was formed. Much resistance was avoided by letting contributors designate gifts if they wished. Prestige was enhanced by a feature story in the Sunday New York Times of April 6, 1913 in which the Federation’s advantages were emphasized, particularly research and statistics.

Membership was limited to organizations receiving endorsement from the Chamber of Commerce, with each agency free to decide whether or not to accept the invitation. A total of 53 joined during the first year, representing a wide range of Cleveland interests.

The first United Campaign had no goal. The·aim was to get as many contributors, old and new, as possible and to obtain larger gifts if possible.

Despite all the advance preparation and interpretation, financing during the first seven-month year was touch and go. A variety of agency fiscal years, past inadequacies of their financing, slowness in setting up money-raising procedures and increased budgets reflecting high hopes, all contributed to financial uncertainty.  Yet at the close of the fiscal year on September 30, Whiting Williams reported that the Federation had provided nearly one third of the agencies’ receipts, and that there was a net improvement of $33,715 for the agencies.  Fundraising costs were but 10.17 percent of the money handled despite initial expenses, compared to 25% or more before federation.

One of the problems the Federation soon turned to was that of rigidly limited bequests and endowments that had outlived the human needs of their original times.  The dilemma was described by Whiting Williams in a Saturday Evening Post article. (24) He envisioned establishment of an endowment fund within the Federation and accordingly Trust Co. announced establishment of the Cleveland Foundation for the same general purpose.  Although not intended to steal any thunder from the Federation in did in fact dim the Federation’s hope of becoming a major recipient of bequests.

This Foundation, the nation’s first Community Trust, was administered by the Cleveland Trust Co. with a distribution committee composed of five citizens selecting the organizational beneficiaries.  In succeeding years, many other Community Trusts were organized in the United States and Canada.  Today there are approximately 230.

Another problem facing the Federation centered around agency executives, who felt they did not have enough influence in the Federation’s social decisions, and thought the Federation was too concerned with money raising. Then, when Mayor Newton D. Baker established a Department of Public Welfare in 1914 and invited creation of a citizen group to advise the Department, the Welfare Council was organized. Representatives included practically all local organizations plus representatives from the Federation and Department of Public Welfare.  The Council soon achieved a “functional” committee structure typical of Councils of Social Agencies in other communities.  One of the Council’s first activities was to join with the City Council in asking the Cleveland Foundation to study relief agencies.  Results of this study included complete reorganization of relief activities.

An active public relations program was launched by the Federation and a house organ called the “Social Bulletin” published starting in 1914, with the purpose “to make benevolence interesting.”  Weekly posters were distributed and when President Martin A. Marks gave his annual report to the Chamber of Commerce a feature was use of a “talking motion picture” with Andrew Carnegie speaking on “The Duties of the Man of Wealth.”  The film was coordinated with a record of his talk.  This apparently was the first use of talking motion picture by a social agency.

When the “guns of August” boomed out in Europe in 1914, Cleveland immediately felt the impact of World War I.  Depression and unemployment hit, but somehow the Federation and its agencies staggered through the year. In September at the end of the Federation’s first full fiscal year, Executive Secretary Williams reported 3,000 new givers with an increase of $104,695 in contributions.   In 1916 business boomed, agency budgets increased, and again the campaign results were up -·  by 33 percent.

The Federation’s Social Year Book, published in December, 1916 revealed that the Federation would henceforth correlate all welfare work in Cleveland. Its charter was modified and changes made to enable it to perform the larger function of an active clearing house for both public and private welfare work. The new Welfare Council would have representation from the Welfare Department and the Federation plus other organizations such as Chamber of Commerce, Federation of Labor, Board of Education and others. This new plan was similar to that of Cincinnati where the Council of Social Agencies was organized on a widely representative basis in 1913, and of Milwaukee where joint financing became a function of joint planning in 1909. Both these cities had adopted centralized budget plans.

Whiting Williams resigned on January 1, 1917 after the Federation had successfully demonstrated that joint financing of community health and welfare services could be done, and that joint planning must go hand-in-hand with joint financing.  At this time the Welfare Council merged with the Federation. The new organization name became the Cleveland Welfare Federation.

Twenty-five years later, Allen T. Burns, executive director of the National Association of Community Chests and Councils, former director of the Cleveland Foundation and witness of the early Federation organization, looked back and observed, “This quest for a balanced ration of welfare services, this endeavor to see the problem whole, has become accepted as a necessary foundation for modern Chest Policy. But the Cleveland Federation ventured into unproved ground in believing that givers would welcome such a unified, systematized service and finance program.” (25)

Notes for Chapter II,  pages 13-25

6:Allen  D. Breck ,  Chairman ,  Department of   History , University of  Denver, letter to Kenneth W.Miller ,   Ex e c .   Dir. Mile  High  United Fund, May  2 8 , 1962

7. Guy  T .  Justis ,  “After Fifty Years ,  Denver  Looks at Federated Financing,” News   Bulletin ,  CCC,  September 1937 .

8. The Financing  of Social Agencies , a  Fact-Finding Report, Chicago Council of Social Agencies , 1924, p.113 .

9. William J. Norton,  The Cooperative Movement in Social Work (New York, The MacMillan Co., 1927) p. 135

10.  Frank  D . Watson ,  The Charity Organization Movement in the United  States (New York, The MacMillan Co., 1922), p. 222.

11. Charles  D. Kellogg,  “Report of the Committee 0n   History of   Charity Organization ,” Proceedings,  Nationa l  Conference of Charities and Correction, 1893, pp.72-74

12 . Francis  G. Peabody , “The Problem of Charity,”  The Charities Review (Vol . III, No. 1, November, 1803),   pp . 10 –12 .

13 . Max Herzberg, Presidential Address , 1904 National Conference of Jewish Charities, as quoted in Harry F. Lurie, The Heritage Affirmed: The Jewish Federation Movement in America (Philadelphia; the Jewish Publication Society of America, 1961) pp. 47-52.

14. See note 3 above, p. 33.

15. Francis H. McLean, The Family, Vol. XXVII, No. 1, March 1946, Introduction, p. 3.

16- . John M. Glenn , Lillian Brandt, and F. Emerson Andrews,  Russell Sage Foundation, 1907-1946 (Russell Sage Foundation, 1947) pp. 3, 11, 12, 34.

18.  Proceedings of  the  Conference on the  Care of Dependent Children (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1909,  p.14.

19 .  See  note 15 , pp . 12 , 28-29.

20 .  J . J . O’Connor ,  “Cooperation  Between Agencies , “Proceedings,  National  Conference of Charities and Corrections, 1913, pp. 340-344

21.   The Cleveland Federation for Charity and Philanthropy, as proposed by the Committee on Benevolent Associations of the Cleveland Chamber of Commerce, pp .   8-27 .

22 .   Martin A. Marks, “The Cleveland Federation for Charity and Philanthropy,”  comments on the Report of the Cleveland Chamber of Commerce, presented at a    membership meeting, January 7, 1913.

23. The Cleveland Plain Dealer, March 2, 1913.

24 . Saturday Evening Post, December 20, 1913, pp. 17, 18, 31–34.

25. Allen T.  Burns, “25 Years of Chests and Councils,” The Survey Mid-Monthly, April, 1938.

SourceElwood Street Papers, 1963. “43-Elwood Street History: ‘History of Federation.'” University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, Social Welfare History Archives. Minneapolis, MN:

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