The Urban Mass Transportation Act of 1964 authorized the New York State Department of Transportation to administer a capital grants program which provided assistance to non-profit organizations in purchasing vehicles for transportation of the elderly and handicapped. The Urban Mass Transportation Administration (UMTA, later renamed the Federal Transit Administration) provided 80% of the cost of the vehicle, and grant recipients were responsible for providing the remaining 20%, as well as the subsequent costs of operation, insurance, and maintenance of vehicles.
In 1976, under the direction of Social Planning Consultant Rachel Radlo Lieberman (and later, Stephanie Newman), nine Federation agencies—the Bronx-Lebanon Hospital, the Bronx House, the Bronx House Emanuel Camps, the JCC of Staten Island, the Gustave Hartman YM-YWHA, and the YM-YWHA’s of Central Queens, Riverdale, Washington Heights-Inwood, and Williamsburg—applied for and received grants to purchase a variety of vehicles.
These agencies, serving all five boroughs, used vehicles to transport frail and elderly passengers, those living far from public transportation, and those needing special assistance, to Federation agency sites, to clinics, to senior citizens clubs, and to do daily chores such as grocery shopping or going to the bank. Many of the agencies still provide transportation services today.
Applying for the UMTA grants was part of an initiative by Lieberman and others to seek additional sources of funding for Federation projects. Working more with government and non-Jewish foundations, Federation sought to persuade these funding sources that they should have an investment in Jewish needs as part of the health of New York City.
Below find information about the vehicles purchased by the nine Federation agencies, as well as rough costs of additional expenses in a memo to Lieberman from William Doll, Executive Director of the Joint Purchasing Corporation (a division of Federation that provided discounts to agencies when purchasing items such as paper, furniture, and fuel).