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Every organism has a trace of dependency in its nature, and man is no exception. The natural history of the barnacle is the natural history of every creature which finds that it can obtain support without personal exertion. Therefore, the help, individual or institutional, that does not regard consequences, is sure to produce. not reformation, but dependency.
But the public is not alive to the inefficiency of present means, nor does it understand the far-reaching results of ill-considered and injudicious methods of dealing with the submerged. Therefore, the basis of all future work must be the education of the public in improved methods under the auspices of an authoritative movement.
Second. The prevention of the unnecessary duplication of charitable organizations. Such duplication, as is well known, arises frequently from theological differences or personal jealousies or personal cupidity and vanity or the failure of a body of individuals to find a common ground upon which to work. This unnecessary duplication leads to overlapping and to an enormous increase of administrative expense, which, exhausting the private purse and the public coffers, tends to prevent the extension of the charitable and penal system of the community, so as to cover properly the variety of problems that continually confront the student.
Third. The creation of a body of trained persons to undertake not only the actual treatment, but the deep study as well of the problems that confront us. These persons, consecrated to their work and eager to accomplish good, must become the great force in any charitable system. The day of the superannuated clergyman or the broken-down business man as a fit charity worker is past. No system, however well supported, can ever become successful without proper executives.
Fourth. The exact differentiation of the submerged, so that each may receive that treatment best suited to his condition.
Fifth. The institution of experiment, so inaugurated and conducted that abandonment in case of failure will not cause material loss, in order to determine the proper and most efficacious methods of treatment for the many who are never helped by such means as are now employed, and the many more who are simply further degraded by them.
A proper appreciation of the necessity for the coherency of our institutional work is becoming apparent here and there. The sys
tem of penal classification which has now been made possible in New York State, through placing all the State's prisons under the control of a single commission, is a notable example. Under this plan three grades of criminals have been established; and, when it is fully carried out, a single prison will devote its energies to each. It can be readily appreciated that an institution organized to deal with but one class can do its work much more effectively than if it be obliged to deal with three.
The State Boards of Control, of which Wisconsin has an important example, also indicate a development in the direction of organization, because such boards, having all the State institutions under their immediate direction, can devote each to that use for which it is best fitted without regard to locality or any other of the causes which frequently make the work of an institution too diversified to become highly effective.
On the other hand, for example, the total lack of organization is evident in the growth of the tramp problem. Not only is there no interstate organization, but in the various States there is no organization or co-operation among the counties and the cities; and without organization and co-operation this particular problem can never be solved.
The success of charity organization and kindred societies, limited though it be, is the best argument that can be adduced in favor of organization. At the outset we divested ourselves of the knowledge of organized charity as it exists, because we did not want in our minds the criticism which is constantly being directed against it. It has been harshly criticised, and will be until it has that measure of popular support which alone can make it thoroughly effective.
Charity organization is reform, and reforms are slow of adoption. Especially is this so when they bring close to the egotistical inhabitants of earth the consciousness that the knowledge of which they have esteemed themselves the proud possessors is not knowledge, but ignorance. With this charity organization has had to contend. There are few who do not believe that they know all there is to know about helping a suffering brother, and there are few who will brook interference with the satisfaction of their individual impulses. But charity organization has told the world that there is a deep problem to be found in the proper relief of suffering; that individual impulse and the egotistical assumption of a knowledge of that
problem are the roots which have nourished pauperism, crime, and misery; that even the Church, the divine representative, did not always know charity; and that, if human efforts and human goods and human lives were not to be wasted, all must come together, must commune with each other, must study, must try to find the right methods, and, when found, working together without selfishness, without egotism, endeavor to put them in use. It is the aim of charity organization, as it is generally known, to deal with the poor in their own homes. The institution is to be resorted to only when the physical, mental, or moral condition of the individual precludes the possibility of success without its use. It aims, first, to re-create that intimate contact among all shades of society which alone can remove discontent and which alone can afford such moral sustenance to the unfortunate as to limit the evil effects of unearned support, and encourage him again to earn support. It knows no unworthy" person, but it aims to distinguish those who require material help from those who require moral suasion or discipline. It aims to abolish those charitable associations which are not founded upon true charity, and to bring into co-operation with each other those agencies whose motives and methods may be of service to society. Now, to carry out such aims, what must such a movement have at its command? First, the cordial support and co-operation of every agency in its community; second, the complete willingness of such of the community as possess the ability to learn how to deal with the poor and to give them personal service; third, the sympathy and co-operation of every public official whose duties. cross the lines of charitable work; fourth, such funds, to be disbursed by societies or individuals, as will afford that complete assistance to the community indicated by a study and diagnosis of its ailments.
Until a society has this co-operation, it has not been properly tested, and is therefore not the proper object of criticism.
A homely illustration of the mission of thorough and effective organization in all our philanthropic and penal work may be found in the coal-breaker.
When the coal leaves the mouth of the mine, it is hauled to the top of the breaker and spread upon a platform.
This part of the process represents the uplifting, educational work to whose benefits each individual is entitled, and which must even be forced upon the unwilling.
On the platform the great pieces of perfect coal are separated and sent down a shute, to be used for the purposes requiring the purest fuel.
Such coal represents the perfect man, developed by education and started on the way to fill his proper position in life.
The remainder of the coal now passes through huge jaws of resistless power, which crush it in various sizes.
These jaws represent the work of a complete charity clearing house, which separates, permits the differentiation of the various classes of men who have some defect.
Released from the jaws and so crushed as to permit the removal of impurities and the separation of its different sizes, the coal passes. down an incline composed of screens of varying fineness. All along the sides of the incline sit the breaker boys, who, with alert eye and deft hand, pick out the slaty material and throw it to one side.
The slate represents the useless, irreclaimable part of the social fabric, which must be separated from the rest and put permanently aside lest it interfere with the combustion of what is best, and thus prevent our reaping the proper results of our social fires.
Meanwhile, as the coal passes down the screens, first the pea, then the chestnut, then the stove, and the egg and the broken drop through, in order, into their proper bins. Then each size by itself is cleaned of the soot which degrades it; and it is ready for distri
bution, to be put to the uses for which it is best suited.
So should organized philanthropy result.
The fit should be started on their way in life, unhampered by the unfit. The absolutely, hopelessly unfit, slaty individuals should be permanently removed from the remaining mass, and then that mass should be carefully separated into classes, each class carefully screened of its soot by expert treatment, and finally put to those uses in society that fall within its capabilities and for which it is best fitted.
The analogy might be carried further. In the furnace of the factory and the stove of the household will be found ashes and clinkers. But, if the work of the breaker has been well done, the waste and refuse will be minimized, the combustion well-nigh perfect, the profit of our fires the maximum.
It is impossible in the short space to which this paper is limited to enter into the arguments supporting the propositions here put for
ward or to enumerate the abuses which a properly organized philanthropic system will correct. But we reach the following conclusion, which to some may seem unjustified :—
The organization of philanthropic enterprise must come, not merely among the forces of a town, not merely among the towns of a county, not merely among the counties of a State, but among the States of the Union themselves.
Without such organization success will never crown our enormous expenditure of human goods and human effort in behalf of our submerged fellow-creatures.
With such organization we shall some time, however distant it may be, attain that success in our work which shall purge society of impurities, reduce misery to the minimum, and give to each human being that chance to which his very birth entitles him, the opportunity to use his peculiar abilities to their uttermost extent.
ORGANIZED AND UNORGANIZED CHARITY.
BY ALFRED O. CROZIER, GRAND RAPIDS, MICH.,
CHAIRMAN OF THE SECTION ON ORGANIZATION OF CHARITY.
Organization is the direct antithesis of the prevailing condition of many American charities, public and private. The aggregate of unorganized charitable effort is but a huge blind impulse in motion. It has no destination, no engineer, no rails to run on, no brakes, plenty of bells to advertise its approach, and too much steam. We want to systematize, harmonize, revolutionize, and reorganize present methods.
Competition should give way to co-operation in charitable work. Duplication of effort and relief surfeits the fraudulent, while honest poverty suffers and starves in habitations of want. Why not make a business matter of charity?
It seems incredible that a shrewd, careful man of affairs, who, in business, will not allow the escape of a single dollar without a definite detailed statement as to its destination and purpose, a signed