Earlier this week, we received a reference request regarding the actual starting date of the Federation of Jewish Philanthropies of New York, then called the Federation for the Support of Jewish Philanthropic Societies of New York City. We all knew that the Federation began in or around 1917, but found a good deal of variance in the actual date. From our research, here are some of the contenders for exact founding date:
- June 6, 1916 – “Plan adopted by the Committee on Federation” for a “Federation for the Support of Jewish Philanthropic Societies of New York City” – from a pamphlet currently housed with governance documents.
- October 24, 1916 – First use of letterhead in the bound minutes using the name, “Federation for Support of Jewish Philanthropic Societies of New York City.” (This was the name in use until 1944 when NY Federation merged with Brooklyn Federation and became the Federation of Jewish Philanthropies of New York).
- January 1, 1917 – incorporation date used in 1986 booklet published by Federation of Jewish Philanthropies of New York, just before the merger with United Jewish Appeal of Greater New York.
- January 8, 1917 – By-Laws of Federation listed, officers elected, found within the minutes of the Board of Trustees.
- January 10, 1917 – Chartered by act of the NY state Senate and Assembly – “An Act, In Assembly: To enable any corporation, now or hereafter existing, formed primarily for the benefit of the Jews of New York City, for charitable, benevolent, or education purposes, to affiliate with and to become members of the Federation for the Support of Jewish Philanthropic Societies of New York and by agreement with the latter regulate their mutual relations.” Also: an extract from Board Minutes of December 12, 1966 states: “…It was on January 10, 1917 that Federation was formally chartered by the State of New York.”
- January 29, 1917 – First Board of Trustees meeting.
- April 27, 1917 – Actual incorporation date of the Federation for the Support of Jewish Philanthropic Societies of New York City, according to the Certificate of Consolidation dated July 31, 1944, when the Federation merged with Brooklyn Federation of Jewish Charities – from pamphlet entitled, “Organization Papers”, 1944, of all NY-Brooklyn merger documents.
- May 15, 1917 – Date charter became a law, with approval from Governor, passed three-fifths present. Found in the Laws of New York, 1917.
Like a very long multiple choice question on a test, which of these dates or events best represents the founding of the Federation? The first board meeting? The charter? The first use of their letterhead? Regardless of which date is selected, UJA-Federation of New York will soon be celebrating its centennial anniversary in 2016…er, perhaps, 1917.