Superseding the Federation of Jewish Philanthropies, the first Annual Campaign of the new United Jewish Welfare Fund took place in 1938. It combined the appeals of 37 organizations into one, eliminating much of the inefficiency and competition of the previous twenty years. Money raised was for agencies and causes new and traditional, local and overseas. Recipients included; the Jewish Immigrant Aid Services, Canadian Jewish Congress, the United Jewish Relief Agencies, the Joint Distribution Committee, and Palestine. In 1938, Campaign could be completed within a mere two weeks and raised $161,000. This figure rose to $348,000 in 1942 and surpassed one million dollars in 1951. When the State of Israel was established in 1948, Campaign was combined with the CJC and the United Palestine appeals into a new, combined campaign and re-named The United Jewish Appeal (UJA).
With different local and world challenges and crises over time, annual campaigns have had a variety of foci: for example, the plight of Displaced Persons in Europe after the Second World War; the 1957 Rescue Campaign for refugees in Russia, Europe and North Africa; the first Emergency Campaign in 1967 in response to the Six Days’ War; and Operation Exodus 1990-1991, which raised funds to aid Soviet Jews.
Early Campaign leadership was provided by lay people. Chairmen of the Campaign Cabinet included Samuel Godfrey, Ben Sadowski, Samuel J. Granatstein, Bernard Vise, Morris S. Till, and Samuel J. Zacks. A small administration committee carried out daily operations, but the bulk of the fundraising work was performed by the Service Council, a group of volunteers who planned, canvassed and evaluated each campaign, as well as organizing educational programs and public meetings. A Women’s Service Council and a Young Peoples’ Service Council also played key fundraising roles.
Canvassing was conducted by volunteers from each professional or trade Division, such as doctors, lawyers, retail sales, etc. The volunteers were responsible for canvassing the members of their own group. A special Women’s Campaign had its own chair, sub-committees and programming. Divisions were further added to reflect the amounts of donations, Top Gifts, and Major Gifts for example. By the 1980s, the Service Councils had given way to professional Campaign Associates employed by UJWF. With further changes to UJWF/UJA Federation’s structure, Campaign first fell under the Financial Resource Development Department, then Integrated Development, and, in 2009, the Centre for Philanthropy. It is now supported by the Donor Relations Management, Donor Research, and Missions/VIP departments which cater to the diverse interests of individual donors.
Through the 1940s and 1950s, face-to-face canvassing was the norm, with donor’s names and gifts published in the UJWF annual report. By the 1960s, an expanding community and a need for efficiency increased the use of the telephone, with regular telethons involving hundreds of volunteers. In 1970, a regular springtime Walk with Israel was included within the rest of Campaign events. In the 21st Century, the internet is used to solicit donations, publicize campaign news and events, and register volunteers for telethons and events like the Walk.
Scope and Content
Series consists of two sub-series, Walk with Israel (sub-series 17-1) and General Campaign Records (sub-series 17-2).
Physical description note: Includes photographs, videocassettes, posters, DVDs, artfacts and books.