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History of the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia

UNThe Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia was founded as the Federation of Jewish Charities in 1901, uniting nine agencies into a single effort to help the Philadelphia Jewish community.  Since its creation, Federation has grown steadily to expand its range of services to help Jews in Greater Philadelphia and throughout the world.

During the Great Depression, Jewish Federation joined with the non-sectarian Welfare Federation of Philadelphia (the precursor of the United Way) to help thousands who were suffering from hunger, poverty and despair.  Additionally, Philadelphia’s Allied Jewish Appeal and the national United Jewish Appeal were organized in 1938 and 1939 respectively, to cope with the Nazi persecution.History of JFGP

In 1957, the Federation of Jewish Charities and the Allied Jewish Appeal merged to become the Federation of Jewish Agencies of Greater Philadelphia with 26 constituent agencies.  During the subsequent decades, Federation, through its Federation Allied Jewish Appeal (FAJA) campaign, raised millions of dollars each year to provide vital services and programs in the Jewish community.

Jewish Federation has a history of significantly supporting the people of Israel, especially during times of most urgent need.  For example in 1967, Federation launched a special campaign in response to the Six-Day War fought between Israel and the nearby Arab states of Egypt, Jordan, Iraq and Syria.  In 1973, Federation launched another special campaign in response to the Yom Kippur War, when Egypt and Syria jointly attacked Israel on Yom Kippur.

In order to meet new needs and expectations in a changing environment, Jewish Federation’s roles and responsibilities have grown.  In 1990, Jewish Federation adopted the name Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia in keeping with Jewish Federation’s role as the central non-profit Jewish community organization in Greater Philadelphia.

In 2003, Jewish Federation began implementing its strategic philanthropy operating model, forming three centers of excellence and focusing on more donor-centric fundraising.  In 2006, Jewish Federation changed the name of its fundraising campaign from FAJA to Jewish Community Fund, to best reflect the campaign’s purpose. Jewish Federation’s 2014 financial resource development total was almost $40 million. This includes Jewish Federation’s annual campaign and endowment contributions and represents an increase of $4.5 million from 2013.  Jewish Federation has an endowment pool of approximately $260 million.