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Cleveland Federation for Charity and Philanthropy: 1913

The Social Year Book

The Human Problems and Resources



December, 1913

Price 25 Cents

Published by the Cleveland Federation for Charity and Philanthropy

401 Chamber of Commerce Building



Editor’s Note: From its inception, the Cleveland-area volunteers were the first in the country to set up a volunteer-driven system to study human care needs, to allocate funds, and monitor their use. The new organization added budgeting to the single campaign concept, i.e., funds were allocated to agencies on the basis of demonstrated need rather than on hopes for as much money as possible.  This “citizen review process” became the model for United Way organizations across the country. The movement had begun. The benefits of a collective volunteer effort were realized dramatically during World War I as the War Commission and the Cleveland Welfare Federation joined the movement, and in 1917 together raised $4.5 million.


“For we are members one of another”




GREATER efficiency and economy, with deeper, more effective  sympathy and wider social benefit” are the aims of co-operative benevolence as represented by the Federation for Charity and Philanthropy. In furtherance of these aims the Social Year Book has been prepared and is here submitted.

That poverty, sickness, ignorance, crime and other evils that cities especially seem heir to are neither superficial nor separate and unrelated problems, but, on the contrary, are both deep-going and, at their roots, closely intertwined and interwoven, grows daily more apparent.

That such problems call for treatment which is similarly co-ordinated and unified as well as scientific—sympathetically scientific—is also obvious. That such problems are genuinely worthy of the attention, interest and understanding of every citizen without exception, should be equally apparent. The purpose of the Year Book is thus three-fold:

I. To show the city’s problems in their broadest and deepest reaches and at the same time to reduce them to their simplest factors:

II. To describe the city’s activities and agencies which have been organized at various times and are now united in an attempt to solve these problems:

III. To secure the interest of every person in Cleveland in these problems and in the activities and agencies aimed at their solution as his or her problems and his or her activities and agencies—and so to enlist the compelling strength of Cleveland’s men, the inspiring and effective vision of her women, and the happy sturdiness of her children in making here in very fact “The City of Good Will.”

To our knowledge a book with this three-fold purpose has never before been published by private effort. With the aid of the frank though friendly criticism and suggestion of every reader, the successors of this volume in later years will not fail to achieve their three-fold purpose more successfully than can be expected of this initial effort.

The Editors:

G. A. Bellamy,
C. Hubert LeBlond
R. H. Bishop, Jr.,
Jeanette Bullis,
Myrta L. Jones.

Its Origin

The Federation is the result of action taken by the Cleveland Chamber of Commerce on January 7th, 1913, adopting the recommendations of its Committee on Benevolent Associations. These recommendations, in turn, grew out of the Committee’s painstaking study of the reasons why the local benevolent organizations and their supporters were both complaining—the first of increased financial difficulties and the second of incessant and increasing financial pressure.

The situation revealed by the Committee’s study was disconcerting. The givers-lists of 73 benevolent organizations in 1909 showed only 4598 different individuals and 788 corporations contributing a total of $5.00 or more. Furthermore, this number, while contributing 22% more than in 1907, showed in comparison with that year a decrease of 11%! The cause of this surprising situation was, in the belief of the Committee, to be found in the fact that “the education of the non-giver and the cultivation of the small giver do not increase in proper proportion to the increase of charity’s financial needs. In times of financial stress such education and cultivation are too slow with their results: in other times they seem expensive and unnecessary. The easiest way is accordingly followed—the necessary financial appeals are made of those whose names appear on the donors-lists of other organizations.”

The Committee’s proposals, accordingly, aimed to create a great body of intelligent givers by spending in broad social and philanthropic education a part of the money which, on the competitive basis of appeal, went simply to making one form of charity appear more attractive or more compelling than another.

In order to make certain that such an educational and co-operative effort should bear equally in mind all the interests at stake, the Committee suggested that the Federation be controlled by a board of thirty trustees, one-third to be elected by the participating organizations, one-third by the givers and one-third chosen by the Chamber of Commerce to represent the city at large. On March first the Board as thus created met and organized. Between that time and previous to October 1, it has been forwarding subscriptions as made by 4,118 givers on a subscription blank bearing the explanation of the plan as shown on the accompanying form.

The Federated Plan of Giving

I.     Federation subscribers are not solicited for current expenses by any of the organizations in the Federation.

II.    Current expenses only are solicited by the Federation; before soliciting funds for other needs, federated organizations are expected to consult with     the Federation board. Gifts to such needs are forwarded by the Federation on request.

III.   Gifts are forwarded in line with the designation of givers to any Cleveland organization, whether listed as a member of the Federation or not.

IV.   Write one check, making it payable to “J. D. Williamson. Treasurer.”

V.     A copy of the subscription is sent as a receipt-record, followed by direct acknowledgment from the designated institutions when forwarded.

VI.    The Federation’s fiscal year began October 1st. Conformity with it, when possible, is appreciated.

The Pledge

I wish to help in the work of making Cleveland a better place in which to live, to work, and to play; and am anxious that every dollar I am able to give for that purpose accomplish the most and the best possible. Believing that the Cleveland Federation for Charity and Philanthropy furthers these ends, I take pleasure in subscribing the sum of  $_______to be paid at the time and to be distributed in the manner indicated below:

(a) To be distributed according to my designations as shown.

(b) To be distributed in repetition of my gifts made last year.

(c) To be distributed at the discretion of the Federation (to be reported to me later).

The Federation’s Aims and Their Attainment

The seven months between March 1st and October 1st, the beginning of the Federation’s first full fiscal year, have shown surprising progress toward the attainment of the organization’s four-fold aim: (1) larger gifts to good works; (2) more effective gifts; (3) more givers, and (4) happier givers.

I. Larger Gifts. A careful comparison of each subscription received by the Federation with the gifts made by the same persons in 1912 shows the use of the federated subscription-blank to cause the following amazing results:

A. In 1911-1912, 4,118 Federation members (October 1) gave to federated institutions. .$126,735  In 1912-1913, Federation members pledged to the same institutions:

(a) Through Federation…. $188,335.00

(b) Direct $26,027.50

Total $214,363—69.1% Gain

Of this amount, 2,063 persons who gave nothing to Federation organizations in 1912 subscribed $14,749

The same persons, therefore, who gave $126,735 in 1912 gave in 1913 directly and by Federation subscription blank $199,614—57.5% Gain

B. Where, in 1912, a giver gave to one organization, he gave to three through the Federation in 1913. (In 1909 two-thirds of all givers of $5.00 gave to one organization only.)

The astonishing increase in amount contributed comes partly from the fact that few persons seem to know how much they are giving and generally suppose the total larger than it actually is— doubtless the result of multitudinous appeals. It comes also partly from the surprising increase in the number of organizations chosen. The widened interest creates a strong impetus to a larger gift. Gifts which combine a certain amount designated for certain institutions with an additional amount placed at the discretion of the board are recommended as most helpful to the Federation’s purposes at this time.

II. More Effective Gifts—gifts not lessened by the cost of a fifty-fold solicitation of the same small group of less than 6,000 individuals and corporations. The Federation’s collection cost for the present year should be considerably less than one-half the average cost of collection on the competitive basis. Until practically all the city’s giving can be directed into the federated channel, solicitors will continue to be necessary to many of the organizations, and the desired saving will remain unrealized. Already, however, the payment of commissions—seldom less than 10% and in some cases as high as 331/3%!—has been abolished by the federated organizations. The expensive method of raising money by benefit entertainments—where the cost is often 40 to 60% of the receipts —is also being abolished as rapidly as people can be helped to see the wisdom and the economy of the out-and -out gift. Co-operation between financial representatives in interesting new givers is also already being practised in a way which will greatly lessen cost while covering the broadest possible field. Cooperation in purchase of supplies is now being studied by a special committee and should permit the saving of a considerable sum, considering that the total yearly expenditure of the federated organizations is more than $1,000,000. Geo. S. Rider & Co., consulting engineers, have very thoughtfully contributed their expert service toward scientific economy in the use of coal: expert services in other directions are now being sought with every prospect of decided savings. The “Social Year Book” also represents a great economy as compared with the publication of separate annual reports by the federated organizations.

Even more important, the co-operative study of common problems by related institutions will effect great savings of time and effort as well as money. With the co-operation of the Committee on Institutional Efficiency, conferences have been arranged for the study of the problem of the unmarried mother and her child. This is still in progress with valuable results growing more apparent each week. A conference for the study of the problem of the city’s crippled adults and children, as requested by the Sunbeam Circle, has led to a citywide survey of the needs of cripples which is to be conducted by the Child Welfare Council, according to present plans.

Each of the 4,200 pins represents a “federated giver.” Individuals giving from their business addresses have been located at their residences, so that the downtown pins stand largely for firms and corporations.

III. More Givers—As the result of the devoted efforts of several hundred good citizens during “Good Will Week,” June 2-9, 2,063 givers were secured whose names were on none of 50 givers-lists possessed by the Federation for 1912. These new givers contributed a total of $14,749. Several plans are now in process for adding other donors. All these plans, it is worth stating, are greatly facilitated when regular or “habitual” givers adopt the federated plan and so free the organizations from directing so much of their energies to informing them of the time and the need of their gift.

Public Interest in Place of Persistent Pressure

To take the place of the calls of solicitors, the Federation aims to interpret social problems and social works to the whole public. The Plain Dealer, Leader, News, Press, Town Topics, Catholic Universe and Waechter und Anzeiger have all co-operated splendidly in this work. During a good part of the time since its organization, the Federation has averaged a page a week in constructive publicity.

A constant discussion of social problems and a sympathetic interpretation of the various charitable activities in the columns of the newspapers are also definitely aimed at securing new givers. Probably no other city is enjoying a similar social benefit in the form of a total of about one full page weekly of “benevolent news” as furnished by the Federation. As the surpassing human interest of these problems and the superlative importance of their proper treatment come to be better appreciated neither the necessary financial nor the equally indispensable moral support of the entire community will be found lacking. The accompanying social interest of such a large body of “Social Stockholders” will be of inestimable value to the city along a number of lines.

IV. Happier Givers—Happier givers and more numerous givers will be obtained only when partnership in meeting the local needs has been made interesting. In the long run, few of us do well—and none of us do enthusiastically—the thing that gives us no satisfaction. The best gift is the gift that represents, not surrender to a solicitor’s appeal, but genuine interest and satisfaction in the kind of result obtainable by each benevolent investment. The “Social Year Book” and the “Bureau of Social Interests” are parts of the Federation’s plan to make closer and plainer than before the connection between the giver-investor and the work his investment-gift accomplishes for the good of others—as well as between the non-giving citizen and the work his gift, when made, will accomplish. “Visitors’ Days” at the different institutions are now in process of arrangement; moving pictures, a little later, will carry the various activities to those who cannot visit them. The co-operation of the churches, of the schools, of the press—as noted above—of the Public Library and of many clubs and other similar local bodies has already been obtained— because most freely offered—for bringing every citizen into more intimate touch with social problems and social undertakings than ever before. Unless this can be permanently accomplished there is no question but that the federated plan will ultimately fail: hearts are much more indispensable in this connection than pocketbooks. But it daily becomes plainer that the broad co-operative plans of the fifty-five federated organizations secure much greater personal interest than do the calls of a score or two of solicitors working without reference to each other. Theoretically every benevolent person receives every one of these callers: as a matter of fact nearly every one refuses to see any more representatives after reaching what appears to be the limit of his or her charity budget. Unquestionably the relation between Cleveland’s benevolences and Cleveland’s citizens, both those who give and those who do not, is today much closer than a year ago.

Most important of all, every “federated” giver is enjoying as never before the double privilege of knowing the whole field of the city’s needs and of then choosing without pressure from anyone those particular needs which it gives him most satisfaction to take part in meeting—without the old annoyance of being compelled to say ten disagreeable noes for every pleasurable yes. That this in itself leads to larger gifts is indicated both by the 57.5% increase already mentioned and the further fact that many of the largest givers have made large increases in their renewals for the present year, 1913-14—and that quite without solicitation. As long as human nature is what it is, a happy giver is pretty sure to be a double giver.*

“The City of Good Will”—More gifts and greater efficiency and economy in the use of them, more givers and givers happier in the unselfish use of their means, are important matters and will long be worth all the attention that can possibly be given them. But, after all, they are simply means to an end—the realization of the

“………….patriot’s dream

That sees beyond the years
Thine alabaster cities gleam
Undimmed by human tears!”

The Federation for Charity and Philanthropy, thus, is much more than a group of related social organizations working simply for the increase of their own resources or efficiency. The Federation represents the plan of a whole community to pool all its resources of time, energy, intelligence, vision, sentiment and inspiration in the attempt to solve the problem of human welfare as it presents itself in the acute forms so familiar—so unpleasantly familiar—in the modern city. Nothing less than such a combination of the entire resources of the whole community will suffice to meet successfully the challenge of the city of today. Because Cleveland has been the first to recognize this, inquiries come daily from all over the world as to the progress of so daring and so timely an enterprise—”the greatest step in the history of cities.” Meanwhile, it is hardly too much to say that we are seeing before our eyes the commencement of the realization of the Federation’s aim—the growth of “The City of Good Will.” On behalf of the successful achievement of so courageous an aim, the Federation asks the partnership of any intelligent citizen in the form not alone of dollars, but of thought and effort.

*Mr. X. illustrates this whole matter of increased interest and increased though pressureless gifts. He sent in his pledge of $300 and promised designations a week later. When the list was received it showed 42 organizations sharing $340 instead of the promised $300, an increase of nearly 15%. In 1912 Mr. X. gave to 13 federated organizations a total of $87.30.

How to Cite this Article (APA Format): The Social Year Book.  (1913). Cleveland, OH: Cleveland Federation for Charity and Philanthropy.


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