The Joint Purchasing Corporation (JPC) of the Federation of Jewish Philanthropies was established in 1922, just 5 years after the formation of Federation (until 1944 called the Federation for the Support of Jewish Philanthropic Societies of New York City). According to a UJA-Federation pamphlet from 1989-1992 when UJA-Fed was considering an alternative structure for shared services, JPC was established as “a not-for-profit corporation to serve primarily the procurement needs of the institutions supported by the Federation of Jewish Philanthropies of New York”.
JPC started a newsletter in the 1970s. In Volume II No. 2 dated May 1974, among other articles “The J.P.C. Exchange” lists as items available from Federation member agencies to other Federation agencies a diverse group of items which includes:
3 Security Guard Shacks … rarely used …
Motorola Paging System … first reasonable offer gets it
Blickman coffee urn
6 racks to hold 9″ plastic covers
Sent along with the May 1974 newsletter was an Index of Purchase Arrangements, listed by type of object. On the “Laundry & Linen Supplies & Equipment” page it is interesting to see that Altro Work Shops, then an agency of Federation, is listed as the supplier for uniforms.
And on the Nutrition Supplies & Equipment – Food” page the list of Jewish-style and kosher foods is evocative of the era and geographic location in New York.
A recent blog post on the Urban Mass Transit Act (UMTA) of the 1960s discusses another aspect of JPC’s reach, in assisting Federation agencies in buying cars and vans at lower prices through grants from UMTA. An earlier post, on Federation’s Research Committee in the 1960s, mentions joint purchasing as a subject for future study.
JPC “opened its doors to all not-for-profit institutions and agencies in the New York Metropolitan area” in 1976, and soon after began opening offices in other cities, including Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and St. Louis. “The value of a shared service organization is based on effective, cooperative procurement techniques and the economies of volume contracting”, according to the 1989-1992 pamphlet.
Listed as services in the pamphlet were programs for the purchase of fuel oil, furniture and equipment, travel services, asbestos abatement, medical/surgical purchasing, computer maintenance, and many other services that were of value to the varied agencies in the Federation network. By about 1990, UJA-Federation was considering a new model for shared services, under the leadership of Bonnie Shevins, Executive Director of Shared Services and Administration. The files on the meetings and decisions made in connection with shared services after the merger have recently been processed and are available for research.
It appears that JPC exists today as Healthcare Supplyside Solutions, based in New York City but no longer at the UJA-Federation headquarters, according to the JPC website.