The United Fund of Greater Saint John Inc. came into being as the consequence of a mounting, community-wide protest against the nuisance and waste inherent in an ever-growing number of separate annual appeals on behalf of various diseases.
The movement was spearheaded by the Saint John Board of Trade which, with a view to ascertaining the feasibility of organizing a single federated campaign for all community needs, sponsored two comprehensive surveys. One of these was designed to measure the extent of corporate giving to local campaigns and the other looked into the potential of employee giving in the major firms of the area. Results of these studies led to the decision to organize a group of incorporating members to constitute a United Fund.
Letters Patent incorporating the “United Fund of Greater Saint John Inc.” were granted on April 9th, 1959, by the provincial secretary treasurer, Hon. D.D. Patterson, the application for a charter having been submitted by C. Douglas Kirby, Joshua Lieberman, Philip W. Oland, David Reevey and Thomas S. Simms, who thereupon became the provisional directors.
Steps were immediately set in motion toward inauguration of an “Employee Chapter Plan” in firms having five or more employees, to become fully operational early in 1960. The project was endorsed by the Saint John Labour Council, which urged “whole-hearted" support of, and full participation in, this plan on the part of members of all affiliated locals. The Labour Council also advocated general adoption of a “fair-share giving formula” through pledging of regular year-round contributions by means of the payroll deduction method. The council further indicated plans to set up a welfare services committee to coordinate activities in support of all community services.
'...an “organization of givers", as opposed to the “organization of agencies”...'
A vast organizational program was launched on Nov. 10, when a “task force of 70 team executives” started to make calls on local business and industrial firms on behalf of the Employee Chapter Plan, which was to be the “keystone” of the entire undertaking. The Fund, it was explained, was being formed as an “organization of givers", as opposed to the “organization of agencies” concept of the long-established Community Chest, which was scheduled to be dissolved as soon as feasible after completion of its 1959 campaign.
At a task force report meeting on February 10, it was learned that a total of 151 firms and other employers of Greater Saint John had signed Chapter Plan Agreements. A sizeable number had already completed a canvass for employee pledges and a proportion of these had sent in initial installments of employees’ contributions.
Henry E. Stegmayer, who had been the Campaign Director and Assistant Director of the Welfare Federation of Montreal, assumed his duties as Executive Director of Greater Saint John United Fund on March 8th. Preliminary planning for the Fund’s first fall campaign was soon actively under way. Fund President Dr. R.J. Collins announced that K.R. Perry had accepted the post of overall General Chairman and that Ralph B. Brenan would serve as Honorary Chairman. Harry Hallworth, Joshua Lieberman and Philip W. Oland would serve as Deputy Chairman. A study of the budget needs of the 18 organizations which were to participate in the initial appeal was duly completed by the Budge and Admissions committee, headed by E.B. Sweeney, and the Campaign Goal was thereafter set at $234, 958. The Chairman of the Fund’s new Labour Participation Committee, William McKiel, outlined plans for a “labour-welfare institute” on September 20, to be addressed by Claude Jodoin, President of the Canadian Labour Congress. A mammoth parade to mark the official opening of the 1960 drive was being organized by the Saint John Junior Chamber of Commerce for September 29th. The first Campaign raised $196, 642.