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REPORT OF THE COMMITTEE ON ORGANIZATION
PRESENTED BY CHAIRMAN ALFRED O. CROZIER, OF GRAND RAPIDS,
In changing the name of this committee from "Charity Organization," words usually used in a technical and restricted sense, to Organization of Charity," its members conceived it to be the intention of the National Conference of Charities and Correction to broaden its scope to cover, as far as practicable, the entire field of the organization of charity.
This belief will be found reflected in its programme. The design has been to select practical rather than theoretical subjects, and have them presented by those who could suggest definite plans and improved methods for inauguration in the various communities whose charities are as yet unorganized along modern scientific lines.
Each section meeting should be a conversazione, where questions, answers, and discussions can be participated in by all with the utmost freedom. We desire also to afford frequent opportunities for the private interchange of opinions by the delegates in a semi-social way, and have therefore arranged for a "social half-hour" following each afternoon section meeting.
Your committee has not at hand statistics which will enable it to reduce its report to figures, and will confine itself to suggestions on the wider and more thorough cultivation of the fields awaiting the harrow of organized charity.
Many of the committee are of the opinion that definite steps. should be taken to crop the entire field of unorganized charity with
the seed of organization and systematization; that it should not be left to accidental contagion or spontaneous propagation; that, if we have a good thing, we should intelligently offer it to others; that organized charity will not reap its best fruits until every city and hamlet is in harmonious co-operation, using methods as uniform as the different local conditions will permit.
This system should extend from the national, government down through State, county, city, village, and private charities to the individual.
In co-operation with the police authorities, and by the aid of the Bertillon system of measurement, an exact description of every migratory pauper and tramp, and his methods of forage, should be kept, and placed at the joint disposal of all municipalities; and this should be re-enforced with vagrancy laws adequately stringent, while at the same time adequate and suitable avenues for reform should be always available when such persons exhibit a proper desire therefor. The time has come when we should take an inventory of the doubtful assets of society, and know who they are and where they are, that we may determine what to do with them, and evolve sufficiently adequate remedies.
We should first bring to bear on the entire situation the most powerful search-light we can obtain, in order to reveal the exact existing conditions and all of the facts relating thereto.
The Congress of the United States should make an adequate appropriation, and provide for the appointment by the president of a commission of, say, three competent persons, to extensively and thoroughly investigate the present quantity and status of the defective, delinquent, and dependent classes, and their various contributory causes, covering the entire field, recording the gathered facts in detail, and publishing the same in their report.
They should also investigate the abuses of administration of public and private charities everywhere, and ascertain and report the most practical methods of dealing with each of the many problems arising in this vital social domain.
This information should furnish an intelligent and reasonably reliable working basis, on which could be built vast improvements in existing methods and conditions.
Similar activity and positive efforts should be put forth in the field of private charitable enterprise.
It has seemed to many of the committee that the time is ripe for an organized effort to plant the approved modern methods of charitable administration, public, private, and personal, throughout the entire country. Such a missionary movement should be pushed by an organized executive force dedicated to that purpose.
There are several plans which suggest themselves, but the choice between them is most difficult; and your committee, being somewhat divided as to which is the most feasible, prefers to confine itself to the mere suggestion of the same, and to refer the entire matter to the wisdom and judgment of the Conference for such action as, in the light of all the existing circumstances, it may deem most expedient and practicable.
An entirely separate organization called "Congress for Organizing Charity," or some other suitable name, has been suggested, to under take a broad energetic movement to bring order out of the unorganized charitable chaos throughout the entire country, such suggestion including the intimation that a conference cannot be expected to undertake such work; that an organization of this kind would in no sense be a rival of or hostile to the National Conference of Charities and Correction, but would be in full co-operation and rather stimulate its work by utilizing and directing the valuable sentiment created by the Conference, thereby making it bear more fruit and enlist new workers, who in turn could aid and greatly strengthen the Conference; that there is but one way to enlist and hold the attention of the intelligent citizen to such matters, and that is to give him something to do and let him help; that there should be no change in the section of the National Conference on organization of charity except perhaps to make its papers and discussions less theoretical and more practical, if possible,-less of why and more of what and how; that the meetings of such a body should be held in the fall, before the heavy work of the winter comes on.
Others suggest that a special executive organizing branch or department of the National Conference should be organized to undertake this work; that it should undertake to raise the necessary funds, and employ a secretary or other suitable official, who should be an expert, a fluent speaker and a good organizer, who should give his entire time to the work, travelling throughout the entire country, using the tried workers in adjacent localities to aid in preparing and circulating appropriate and effective literature, and eventually creat
ing a central bureau or clearing house through which all of the various organizations of charity in the communities of the entire country could co-operate.
Others think the present machinery of the National Conference adequate, and that its General Secretary should give his entire time to this work; while some think the matter should be submitted and thoroughly discussed at the Toronto session, and a special committee appointed to report on the matter at the next session.
Without, as a committee, expressing an opinion as to which of the above courses should be undertaken, we respectfully refer the matter to the Conference for its decision, confident that it is the desire of all that the blessings of organized charity be impartially distributed everywhere, upon the just as well as the unjust, and upon the unwilling as well as the willing; that the onward march of beneficent social evolution may be accelerated, and the brotherhood of man emerge from a mere theory into an accomplished fact.
ALFRED O. CROZIER, Grand Rapids, Mich.,
HENRY N. RAYMOND, Cleveland, Ohio,
MARION I. MOORE, Buffalo, N.Y.,
Committee on Organization of Charity.
BY N. S. ROSENAU, NEW YORK.
Organization in charity work has thus far been effected only among those agencies that deal with the poor in their homes, through the establishment of bodies known usually as Charity Organization Societies or Associated Charities. Such societies have met with a large measure of success, but their work has its limitations. They do not deal with the thousands who are inmates of our eleemosynary and penal institutions. Therefore let us for the time put aside our idea of organized charity, as represented in such associations, in order that consideration may be given to a much more comprehensive view of the subject.
In every community, however small, may be found a number of individuals who, through mental or physical defects or through accident, become the objects of the solicitude of their more fortunate fellows. To such individuals, help of one kind or another is extended. In the larger proportion of cases there are two distinct general principles, either or both underlying or forming the motive for this help: first, the sentiment of charity; and, second, the necessity of protecting society.
Each of these motives has its merits. Each has its dangers. And each, unless properly guided, almost surely results in evil as well as good. The help extended may be thus classified, according to its sources: first, that from individuals; second, that given by private organizations; and, third, that afforded by official sources.
The motive of charity is the sole basis of personal help. Charity and social protection combined form the basis of help extended by private associations. Social protection alone underlies help extended by the State.
The instinct of brotherhood has always led the more fortunate of the race to extend a helping hand to his brother in distress. Lest, through the growing complexity of society, this instinct should be smothered, the sacred books have made charity a religious duty; and religious teachers of every creed have advised, implored, commanded, its performance. While the growth of communities was slow, and