January 11, 2013

Functional Groups

As the Federation of Jewish Philanthropies evolved throughout the 20th century, there were significant changes in Federation’s functional groups throughout the decades.  As stated in a previous blog, a functional group is a group of agencies that served similar functions within the community.  Names of functional groups were typically derived from the subcommittee divisions of the Distribution Committee. For example, the Child Care subcommittee of the Distribution Committee had an associated functional group, Child Care, in the Budget Department’s annual agency files.  Over the course of the 20th century, groups changed and agencies moved from group to group, as Federation determined how the budget should be split amongst the groups.

In the first four years of FJP from 1917 to 1920, eight definite categories were defined by the budget department for Federation’s funding, plus additional categories listed (unnumbered) after the outline numbered ones.

I.          Child Care

II.        Delinquency

III.       Education of Handicapped

IV.       Care of Aged

V.        Medical Care

VI.       Medical Social Service

VII.     Relief

VIII.    Vacation Activities


Jewish Community Service


Technical Education

Starting in 1921, the budget files were categorized into eleven main categories with an optional twelfth category, Subventions, depending on whether any agencies were subvented in the year (see below). A subvention was given to an agency that was not an official agency of Federation but nonetheless received financial support from the FJP. Please see the outline of budget files that started in 1921 below:

I.     Child Care

II.     Correctional Work with Delinquents

III.     Education and Recreation of Handicapped

IV.     Care of Aged and Infirm

V.     Medical Care

VI.     Medical Social Service

VII.     Relief of Sick & Needy

VIII.     Religious Education

IX.     Vocational Education

X.     Community Center Activities

XI.     Fresh Air Activities

[optional XII. Subventions]

By 1939, Medical Care (formerly Subgroup V) and Medical Social Service (formerly Subgroup VI) shown above were lumped together as one functional group (Subgroup V) and in 1945-1946 was renamed simply as Medical Care.  Also in 1945-1946, Delinquency, Handicapped, Relief and Vocational Education all merged under the heading Family Welfare & Vocational Services (Subgroup IV below).

In the 1945-1946 fiscal year, a new functional group scheme was adopted, consisting of eight series as follows:

I.     Child Care

II.     Care of Aged & Infirm

III.     Medical Care

IV.     Family Welfare & Vocational Services

V.     Religious Education

VI.     Community Centers

VII.     Fresh Air Work

VIII.     Subventions

Besides these categories, FJP had another category called “Other Allotments,” for other expenses incurred by FJP.

Several more changes happened to the overall functional group scheme during the 1950s and 1970s.  In the 1952-1953 fiscal year, Fresh Air Work became simply known as Camps.  In the 1970-1971 fiscal year, the functional group, Religious Education became known as Jewish Education.  In 1973-1974 fiscal year, the Family Welfare & Vocational Services group changed its name to become the Family, Children, Vocational and Rehabilitation (FCVR) Services, which reflected the name change of the Subcommittee of the Distribution Committee in 1972.

As Federation evolved, several agencies started out as one functional group and eventually became part of another functional group. Several examples are as follows.  Blythedale Home started out as a Child Care agency and then became a Medical Care agency in 1945-1946 fiscal year reflecting the fact that its services had become more medical in nature; the name of the agency eventually changed to the Blythedale Children’s Hospital in the 1964-1965 fiscal year.  The Jewish Board of Guardians (JBG) started out as a Delinquency agency and became a Child Care agency in the 1945-1946 fiscal year.  Initially Child Care agencies for many years, First Hebrew Day Nursery and Louise Wise Services became agencies of the FCVR category in 1974-1975.

Special grants were grants given by Federation to organizations that were not fully funded by Federation or were not considered a subvention.  In 1976, there was a subcommittee of the Distribution Committee called “Subventions, Special Grants, and Membership” and FJP started awarding these special grants to organizations in the late 1970s.  We are hoping to learn more about the “Special Grants and Other Allocations” agencies once these become processed.

In processing the Budget Materials – Annual Agency Files (our team’s administrative category M-1), each folder for a particular agency has the functional group written on it accompanied by the name of the agency in order to facilitate a researcher’s use of the collection.  In addition, we have retained agency numbers whenever possible.  For instance, the agency Surprise Lake Camp would appear on the folder as VII. Camps – Surprise Lake Camp (106) and in the EAD finding aid as well with the same string as the title.  In addition, in each box to distinguish between functional groups, we have used dividers to differentiate between the functional groups and when there are two fiscal years within a box, we have used a divider to separate the years.

So far, the logical groupings in FJP utilizing functional groups are the Budget Materials – Annual Agency Files (category M-1), reports to the Budget Department to the Distribution Committee (category M-2), and the audited agency reports.  We hope that the processing work we are undertaking will enhance the research potential of these rich files.


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