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Foundation for Jewish Philanthropies Records

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MS-0227

Scope and Contents

The records of the Foundation for Jewish Philanthropies provide an overview of its evolving profile from a limited investment committee to a full service Foundation enabling capital fundraising and development, grant making, charitable legacies, bequests, trusts, endowments and other philanthropic funds for the benefit of clients, Jewish organizations and local and national organizations as well as the general community. Series I, Subseries A concentrates on the Foundation for Jewish Philanthropies forerunners known as the Jewish Federation of Buffalo and Sinking Fund through memorabilia and an early fund ledger. Series I, Subseries B, includes the design and content process of early Foundation marketing materials for a range of services and supports, through reports, brochures, posters and artwork. Subseries C includes recorded media profiles of local philanthropists who have contributed to the growth of Jewish and general community in Buffalo. The wide-ranging Series II, highlights a small selection of projects undertaken by community partner organizations with the aid of the Foundation for Jewish Philanthropies. A significant focus of this series is Weinberg Campus, through an array of architectural renderings, plans and presentations. Weinberg Campus forerunners are also featured in this series in media presentations during transition times, and this subseries complements other materials in the David H. and Minnie G. Coplon Family (ms223) and the Weinberg Campus Women’s League and Forerunners Records 1910-2004 (ms200.37) collections. Other organizations, ranging from Temple Beth Zion to Jewish Family Service, highlight further aspects of the work of the Foundation for Jewish Philanthropies including endowment planning and general support for special projects with architectural renderings, artwork and photographic reproductions. Series III illustrates includes poster board and printed materials relating to exhibits and a book cover jacket undertaken for specific individuals. The last series includes materials that record efforts to establishment a Judaic Studies department during the 1980s at the University at Buffalo through a network of connected academics, as documented through report proposals, course outlines, fliers and correspondence. This series also includes photographs and certificates relating to the Phi Lambda Kappa fraternity dating from 1911.


  • 1911-2008
  • Majority of material found within ( 1988-1997)


Terms of Access

The records of the Foundation for Jewish Philanthropies, circa 1911-2008 (Buld 1988-1997) are open for research. There are no restrictions regarding access to or use of this collection.


Copyright of papers in the collection may be held by their authors, or the authors' heirs or assigns. Researchers must obtain the written permission of the holder(s) of copyright and the University Archives before publishing quotations from materials in the collection. Most papers may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures unless otherwise specified.

Historical Note

On March 23, 1911, two women and eight men met at Zion House, located at 456 Jefferson Avenue between William Street and Peckham in East Buffalo. At this meeting Henry Weill, August Keiser, Mrs. Marcus Spiegel, Jacob G. Joseph, Emanuel Boasberg, Solomon Ginsburg, Isaac E. Harris, Theodore Hofeller, Solomon Morrison and Mrs. Edward Warner formed a structure to raise permanent funding for the Jewish community. Distinguishing between the role of the United Jewish Federation of Buffalo, (which in 1903 had consolidated multiple small philanthropic societies under one umbrella as a federated charities structure and whose function was to raise annual funds and allocate accordingly), the trustees of the nascent Foundation (then known as the Jewish Federation of Buffalo), set out to manage the long-term permanent funds of the community, including bequests and trusts, scholarship and building funds, and use the income from these funds for the benefit of community organizations as determined by their specific fund creators. Working through a Board of Trustees, the Sinking Fund Commissioners, as they were known, eventually widened the range of fund oversight to include property donation, life insurance, stocks, bonds and other assets. The early Foundation began its work with independent funds like the Hayman Fund and the Waterman Fund. Other individuals followed their examples, establishing funds that supported specific organizations as well as specific causes. Increasingly in the 1950s and 1960s, it was these bequest style funds from the estates of Jewish community members that enabled a significant proportion of community expansion. As fundraising was the remit of the United Jewish Fund, bequests style funds were the sole source of accumulating monies by the Foundation for Jewish Philanthropy at this juncture, and these funds enabled the community to address capital funding and long range needs that annual operating funds, the work of the United Jewish Fund, could not support. During this era, demand for both significant operating funds and capital funds rose. This development led community leaders to determine ways to expand the work of the Foundation for Jewish Philanthropies, and a series of changes from 1961, initiated by Sidney S. Abzug while still Executive Director of the Jewish Federation began. A first set of steps was confirmation of charitable status, extension of purpose, and name changes. The effects of the Tax Reform Act of 1969, spurred further changes, and in 1975, Sydney S. Abzug, after retiring as Executive Director of the Jewish Federation, began work as a part-time consultant to the Foundation for Jewish Philanthropies (FJP). An Adhoc Review Committee in 1979 concluded that the purpose, and use of the funds of the FJP were underdeveloped and new committees were formed over the next two years to expand the Foundation for Jewish Philanthropies. A “Declaration of Intent” program, headed by Ruth Kahn [Stovroff] enabled community members to include the FJP in their wills. During his tenure as President, J. Milton Zeckhauser, encouraged an endowment development program that expanded considerably with the hiring of a full time Director and CEO, Peter Fleischmann in 1982. From 1982 a range of other changes were also initiated. The Board of Trustees was expanded and the Foundation's by-laws were revised and updated. Existing committees were revitalized and new committees were formed with the aim of creating a full service community foundation. Prior to 1982, two types of fund categories existed as “restricted” and “unrestricted.” After 1982, and the move to professionalization and a fully staffed organization began, new fund areas and methods of investment expanded the services of the FJP significantly. The first of these new fund areas were Custodial Funds for affiliated agencies. This grouping eventually included organizations ranging in size from Temple Beth Zion to the Hebrew Benevolent Loan Association. Affiliated agencies include synagogues, schools, agencies and other cultural, educational and religious organizations, and service expansion included development consulting, campaign management, marketing, fund administration and financial reporting. Donor Advised Funds, and Charitable Remainder Trust Funds were another addition, and have grown to over 500 separately advised funds. In addition to fund development, new types of financial services to individuals in the community, and the Jewish community itself, have expanded into significant areas. As the Foundation for Jewish Philanthropies increased its range of affiliates and fund areas, aiding with capital financing at critical junctures has become an ongoing part of FJP work. Capital projects that have benefitted from Foundation for Jewish Philanthropies stewardship for their fruition through targeted and planned giving include multiple expansions at the Weinberg Campus, and building campaigns at synagogues, summer camps, the two Jewish Community Centers, as well as organizational merger management. Cooperative individualized asset management to facilitate personal charitable choices has continued, however, as a central focus of Foundation activity with Planned Giving a significant strategic growth area through the Legacy Program. As of 2016, the FJP manages endowments, bequests, legacies, restricted funds, life insurance, and supports capital projects through financing, as well as being a significant grant distributor as recommended and designated by its donors. Grants and loans are made for new initiatives, innovative programs and special community projects, academic scholarships and financial aid to individuals and families in need. The Foundation for Jewish Philanthropies role in community building, through its multi-million distribution of donor directed grants to over a thousand Jewish and non-Jewish organizations worldwide, continues to expand each year. Virtually every Jewish organization in Buffalo and many non-Jewish organizations in Buffalo and beyond, have been aided by funds managed under the Foundation for Jewish Philanthropies. Local arts, cultural, music and medical charities and organizations have also benefitted from the monies distributed by donor direction through the Foundation for Jewish Philanthropies. From under $1million in assets in 1982, the assets of the Foundation for Jewish Philanthropies have grown to over $165 million. As of December 31, 2015, a total of 1,058 charitable trust and endowment funds were held in the form of Donor Advised Funds, Custodial Funds, Charitable Trust Funds, Unrestricted Funds and total assets of $165,286,335.

Chronological Timeline

Certificate of Incorporation filed as The Jewish Federation of Buffalo
Certificate of Amendment filed changing name to the Foundation for Jewish Philanthropies, Inc.
Certificate of Amendment filed changing name to the Buffalo Federation for Jewish Philanthropies, Inc.
Certificate of Amendment filed changing name to the Foundation for Jewish Philanthropies, Inc.


9.76 Linear Feet (2 oversize boxes, 1 manuscript box, 1 record carton, 5 triangular roll storage boxes, 1 oversize portfolio case)

Language of Materials



Organizational papers documenting the early beginnings of the Foundation for Jewish Philanthropies forerunner, the development of Foundation for Jewish Philanthropies services, and samples of special projects developed within affiliated agencies.


This collection is arranged in four series as follows:

Series I. Foundation for Jewish Philanthropies, Buffalo, NY, 1911-2008 Subseries A: Forerunners, Sinking Fund/Jewish Federation of Buffalo, 1911-1926 Subseries B: Foundation for Jewish Philanthropies, Print Medium, 1988-1997 Subseries C: Foundation for Jewish Philanthropies, Photograph and Media, 1988-2008

Series II. Community Partners, 1911-2001 Subseries A: Jewish Family Service, 1930-1984 Subseries B: Jewish Federation of Greater Buffalo, 1995 Subseries C: Kadimah School of Buffalo, 1987-1988 Subseries D: Temple Beth Zion, c.1911-1998 Subseries E: Weinberg Campus, includes forerunner, Rosa Coplon, 1911-2001

Series III: Records relating to Individuals, 1950s-1988

Series IV: Other Historical Records, 1911-1982 Subseries A: Local, 1950s-1982 Subseries B: National, 1911-1959

Acquisition Information

Peter Fleischmann donated organization materials in 2010, 2011 and 2016. The papers were arranged in June 2016 and it was deposited at the University Archives, Special Collections by the Jewish Buffalo Archives Project in June 2016. The Jewish Buffalo Archives Project was founded in late 2007 under the auspices of the Bureau of Jewish Education of Greater Buffalo with a seed grant from the Foundation for Jewish Philanthropies. The Archives Project collects mainly 20th century documentation relating to the diverse histories, religious traditions and cultures of Jewish communities within the Greater Buffalo area of Western New York, encompassing the geographic areas of Erie and Niagara Counties and partners with the University Archives at the University at Buffalo to make these records accessible. The arrangement and description of the Jewish Philanthropies Records, 1900-2008 (Bulk 1988-1997) was made possible by funding obtained through the Foundation for Jewish Philanthropies.

Accruals and Additions

Ongoing accruals are expected to this collection.

Related Resources

Processing Information

Collection was processed by Chana Revell Kotzin in June 2011 and 2016. The Finding Aid was finalized by Chana Revell Kotzin in June 2016. EAD created by University Staff in November 2016.


Finding Aid for the Foundation for Jewish Philanthropies Records
In Progress
Finding aid prepared by Chana Revell Kotzin.
June 2016
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Repository Details

Part of the University Archives Repository

420 Capen Hall
Buffalo New York 14260-1674 US
716-645-3714 (Fax)