For many years prior to 1917, Toronto Jewish community leaders had recognized the need to centralize fundraising for all local Jewish charities. The 1912 creation of the Associated Hebrew Charities was a partial improvement, but it proved unable to cope with the rapid growth in pre-war immigration, the effects of the 1916 economic recession, and the funding requirements of many still-unaffiliated agencies. The positive experiences of newly-established Jewish community federations in several American cities did, however, offer a better example for Toronto, where prominent Jewish leaders Edmund Scheuer, Abraham Cohen, and Ida Seigel provided the leadership that finally resulted in the establishment of a Toronto federation.
The Federation of Jewish Philanthropies of Toronto was chartered as a charitable organization under the laws of Ontario in September 1917. Its central goal was to end the frequent, uncontrolled, and competitive fund soliciting by a wide range of individual Toronto Jewish philanthropic and social service institutions and instead substitute a single, coordinated, city-wide community fundraising effort. This would ensure adequate and accountable funding for all its affiliated organizations and agencies in Toronto.
Original affiliated agencies of the FJPT were: the Ladies Co-operative Board, the Jewish Orphans' Home, the Jewish Girls Club, the Junior Council of Jewish Women, the Hebrew Ladies Maternity Aid and Sewing Circle, the Hebrew Young Ladies Boot and Shoe Society, the Jewish Branch of the Big Brotherhood Movement, the Hebrew Free Loan Society, the Jewish Dispensary, and the Hebrew Burial Society.
The original officers were: Edmund Scheuer (president), Joseph Singer (first vice-president), Jay J. Allen (second vice-president), Moses Gelber (third vice-president), Charles Draimin (forth vice-president), Eli Pullan (treasurer), and Abraham Cohen (honorary secretary). A board of trustees consisting of forty-five members was also constituted, one-third of whom were to be replaced each year.
Final decision powers of the federation were originally vested in the board, which met monthly and was responsible for funds distribution and the nomination of officers of the federation. The board also had the power to change, by a two-third vote, any federation bylaws, rules, or regulations. The president chaired all board meetings and had, along with the treasurer, signing authority for orders and cheques. In his absence, the president's responsibilities were transferred to the first or other vice-presidents, in order. The treasurer was responsible for receiving all donations and depositing them in the bank. He also had signing authority for disbursals.
A system of committees was also established in order to deal with individual issues such as annual meetings, fundraising, budgets, day-to-day administration, and policy, constitutional, and regulation changes. Recommendations from these committees were sent to an executive committee. When vetted, they were then forwarded to the board of trustees for final approval. By 1924, a new position of executive director was added to the list of officers in order to provide better management of the FJPT administration and to head up the executive committee. Also, by this time, six further agencies had become affiliated: Mount Sinai Hospital, the Jewish Boys' and Girls' Camps, Jewish Big Sisters, the Family Welfare Bureau, the Federation Health Clinic, and the Federation Employment Bureau.
The first office of the FJPT was at 206 Beverly Street, but by 1924 it was headquartered at 218 Simcoe Street. By 1928, it had moved to 179 Beverley Street, which was renamed Scheuer House after the FJPT's first president.
The onset of the Great Depression in 1929 created unprecedented and ever-growing service and monetary demands on the FJPT. Unable to cope, a major change was urgently required. In 1938, the FJPT was thus absorbed into a new and larger organization with an expanded mission and reorganized fundraising operations, the United Jewish Welfare Fund.
Although the FJPT was absorbed into the UJWF in 1938, meetings of the FJPT Board of Management (responsible for funds redistribution to the FJPT's affiliated agencies) continued to January 1939, when these responsibilities were finally transferred to the UJWF.
Scope and Content
Fonds consists of records documenting the incorporation, public reporting, planning, financial, administration and operational records of the FJPT. Included are: the incorporation certificate, committee meeting agendas and minutes, correspondence, budgets, annual reports and special reports. FJPT operational records document fund-raising, fund re-distribution and ongoing dialogues with member agencies. Records of specialized, short-lived committees document specific subjects such as salaries, a new community centre, funding of camps, and policies concerning the future of the organization are also included.
Series within this fonds are; 1. Incorporation, 2. Annual Meetings, 3. Annual Reports, 4. Board of Trustees, 5. Constitution Committee, 6. Executive Committee, 7. Budget Committee, 8. Sub-Committee Studying Salaries, 9. Policy Study Committee, 10. Fund-raising Campaign, 11. Federation and Camp Representative Group, 12. Committee on the Community Centre, and 13. Board of Management.
Federation of Jewish Philanthropies of Toronto
For records of the United Jewish Welfare Fund, successor to the Federation of Jewish Philanthropies, see Fonds 67.
Federation of Jewish Philanthropies of Toronto (1917-1939)