Guide to the Records of Lavanburg-Corner House Fund (1927-1996), undated, 1942, 1944, 1950, 1952, 1954-1960, 1962-1966, 1968-2000, 2002

Processed by Marvin Rusinek

American Jewish Historical Society

Center for Jewish History

15 West 16th Street

New York, N.Y. 10011

Phone: (212) 294-6160



© 2019  American Jewish Historical Society, New York, NY. All Rights Reserved.
Machine-readable finding aid created by Marvin Rusinek as MS Word document, July-September 2011. Finding aid was encoded by Marvin Rusinek on September 21, 2011. Description is in English.

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Lavanburg-Corner House Fund
Title: Lavanburg-Corner House Fund, records
Dates:undated, 1942, 1944, 1950, 1952, 1954-1960, 1962-1966, 1968-2000, 2002
Abstract: The Lavanburg-Corner House (LCH) Fund was a philanthropic fund started in 1927 under the Lavanburg Foundation. Its mission was to support/fund agencies that dealt with troubled children and youth. The LCH Fund became fully philanthropic in 1972. The collection contains bills, by-laws, correspondence, financial statements, histories, letters, meeting minutes, memorandums, newspaper clippings, proposals, publications, and reports of the Lavanburg-Corner House Fund.
Languages: The collection is in English.
Quantity: 4 linear feet (8 manuscript boxes)
Identification: I-518
Repository: American Jewish Historical Society
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Historical Note

Frederick L. Lavanburg was a wealthy philanthropist interested in housing issues. He obtained his wealth from the dye industry.1 In 1927, Mr. Lavanburg returned from Europe having surveyed the housing conditions in Europe and examined four apartment houses erected in Paris by the Rothschild Foundation. He built a low-rent apartment house for poor families on Goerck Street on the Lower East Side of New York City with the hope of bringing housing relief to its tenants. The Lavanburg family provided $700,000 for the erection of the Lavanburg Homes that still stand at 124-142 Baruch Place in New York City. He took a personal interest in the building of these apartments, stopping off each day on his way to work to witness the progress of their construction.2

The Frederick L. Lavanburg Foundation was established by Mr. Lavanburg as a low-income, non-profit housing corporation in 1927. Its mission was to improve housing conditions for its residents or housing for families with children unable to find housing elsewhere. The Foundation became the means for funding, building and managing the new estates he built. Mr. Lavanburg left 3 million dollars in his will for the Lavanburg Foundation. The Lavanburg Foundation provided seed grants to organizations working in New York City and surrounding areas that shared Mr. Lavanburg's belief that good housing should provide the means to build lives through social support. The main housing organization that the Lavanburg Foundation funded was the Citizens Housing and Planning Council (CHPC), which it supported for over sixty years with substantial grants.3 The Foundation spent almost 4 million dollars in carrying out housing projects.

Mr. Lavanburg was the brother-in-law of Oscar Straus, the first president of the American Jewish Historical Society. Oscar Straus served as Chairman of the Lavanburg Foundation from its establishment. Four generations of the Straus family had served on the Board of Directors of the Lavanburg Foundation.

Mr. Lavanburg was also deeply concerned with the plight of underprivileged children and with the problems of juvenile delinquency, racial discrimination and poverty and set about creating and funding service programs in that area as well.

In 1928, the Hannah Lavanburg Home (also known as the Immigrant Home) at 333 East 12th St. changed its name to Lavanburg House, following Mr. Lavanburg's death in 1927. He had left approximately $500,000 for the Hannah Lavanburg Home for Immigrant Girls.4 By 1933, the number of needy girls dropped so low that trustees voted to merge with the Corner House, a residence for orphaned Jewish boys. In 1934, the Lavanburg House merged with The Corner House to become Lavanburg-Corner House, Inc.

The Lavanburg-Corner House was a home for wayward juvenile delinquents and homeless youth and became known as The Youth House. Around 1944, the Youth House divided into the Youth House for Boys and Youth House for Girls. The Youth House for Boys dealt with boys 16 to 21 years of age. Boys that arrived at the Youth House had serious emotional and behavioral problems and came from other institutions, foster homes or their own homes. The Youth House created positive experiences for the boys: it served as a screening center but was not a treatment center.5 Social workers helped the boys to speak about their problems after which the case worker staff would concern itself with rehabilitation.6

In 1957, due to overcrowding, the Youth House moved to larger facilities. Its new location in the Hunts Point section of the Bronx was comprised of two separate buildings - one for boys and one for girls. Over time, the boys facility became known as Spofford Youth House, and then simply Spofford Juvenile Center; the girls facility was known as Manida Juvenile Center. For a variety of reasons - ranging from administrative failures, to staff abuses, to the physical limitations of the facility - it became known as a place that worsened the problems of juvenile delinquents. During the 1970's, the Human Resources Administration and the Department of Probation failed in their attempt to run and to make any improvement in the Spofford Juvenile Center. The Spofford Juvenile Center was directed by twenty-seven executive directors over its twenty-nine years in existence and difficulties were often encountered as a result of bureaucratic procedures. The LCH funded the Spofford Juvenile Center until its closing in 1972.7 To help solve some of the problems in the facility, New York City Mayor Ed Koch created a Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) in 1979, which operated Spofford and the city's non-secure facilities. At this point, Spofford was no longer under the custody of the Lavanburg-Corner House. The Spofford Juvenile Center was officially renamed "Bridges" in 1999.8

The Lavanburg-Corner House (LCH) Fund of New York City was established after Frederick L. Lavanburg's death on November 5, 1927, which received about 1.5 million dollars in Lavanburg's will. The LCH Fund has been described as "a philanthropic fund devoted to providing a healthy home life for needy children and families, to fostering training and research in the field of social welfare."9 The LCH Fund donated generously to agencies in the New York City area that worked actively in these areas.

In 1949, changing conditions influenced trustees to devote most of their grants to the training of counselors serving New York agencies for children. In 1966, the Lavanburg-Corner House Fund renewed a grant that encouraged the recruitment of Jewish community center workers. The LCH Fund Board of Directors discussed the idea of using undergraduates in Jewish community centers at a board meeting in 1969. In 1971, a Manpower Utilization Study was conducted by the LCH Fund and Jewish Welfare Board. As a result of this study, the Board of Trustees proposed to stop funding of the Youth House in order to supply more money for grants for social welfare projects. In 1972, the Callaghy Hall, a shelter for girls and young women, shut down.10 A couple months later in 1972, the LCH stopped operating and funding the Spofford Juvenile Center (see above). At this point, the LCH Fund became solely philanthropic. In 1973, the LCH in conjunction with the Jewish Welfare Board developed the JWB-Teenage Demonstration and Training Program. In 1980, the Lavanburg-Corner House Fund established an office at the Jewish Welfare Board headquarters in New York City. At the Jewish Welfare Board, the LCH Fund provided funds to train undergraduate students to work in Jewish community centers as a means of testing out and modifying ideas in social welfare. In 1990, the Lavanburg-Corner House Fund Board of Trustees decided to support programs that help young people with stress accept responsibility for their actions and contribute to their communities.11

Over its existence, the Lavanburg-Corner House Fund awarded grants to agencies and organizations dealing with the issues of underprivileged children and poverty. Among these organizations are ASPIRA, Bank Street College of Education, Big Brothers Inc., East Side House, the Educational Alliance, the Henry Street Settlement, the Institute for Child Mental Health, Jewish Board of Guardians, Jobs for Youth, Mt. Sinai Medical Center, NYU Medical Center, Parent Preparation, and the Red Cross.

The Lavanburg-Corner House Fund was never a giant of philanthropy, yet, at one point, its assets exceeded $3 million. From the mid-1970's through the early 1990's, the LCH was inundated with appeals for grants. From 1982 to 1996, the LCH Fund dispensed $4.5 million. In the early 1990's, the LCH Fund Board of Trustees faced a dilemma: whether to give a few organizations a lot of money or a lot of organizations a little money. They chose the latter. At a board meeting in 1995, the trustees decided to spend the Fund out of existence. In 1996, after 68 years of operation, the Lavanburg-Corner House Fund closed and gave away almost all of their money.

At the final meeting in January 1996 at the New School for Social Research, the Lavanburg-Corner House Fund apportioned funds for grants that helped abused children, homeless children, improved life skills for youth-at-risk, literacy, preventive education (teen pregnancy, substance abuse, AIDS), school-based and after-school programs, programs for pre-school age children, programs addressing ethnic tensions among youth, and programs for immigrant children.12 At the meeting, Robert Popper, the Lavanburg-Corner House Fund president, met with the Board of Trustees for the last time and agreed to give 46 nonprofit city agencies and institutions about $377,000, almost everything left in the Foundation's account. Grants were distributed in $5,000 to $10,000 chunks to agencies such as the Big Sisters, the Educational Alliance, the Fresh Air Fund, the Grand Street Settlement, the Henry Street Settlement, and the Women in Need (see Series II). According to Lauren Katzowitz Shenfield, the executive director of the Foundation Service and founder of the Philanthropy Advisors, only a few thousand dollars was left for legal fees and other costs.13 The United Jewish Appeal was declared the recipient of any remaining money. At the time of its closing, the LCH was being used as a senior citizens center, a boxing gym, several apartments for poor seniors and offices for the Educational Alliance.14

In 2002, the American Jewish Historical Society acquired the corporate records of the Lavanburg-Corner House Fund from the Foundation Service, including administrative files and grant files. In 2010, rising administrative expenses led to the dissolution of the Lavanburg Foundation in 2011.15 The Lavanburg Foundation closed in June 2011 and its records are now available to researchers at the New York Public Library.

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Scope and Content Note

The Lavanburg-Corner House was started in 1927 under the Lavanburg Foundation, a philanthropic fund, as a low-income, non-profit corporation for families with children unable to find housing elsewhere, and operated until 1996. The organization became fully philanthropic in 1972. The collection contains bills, by-laws, correspondence, financial statements, histories, letters, meeting minutes, memorandums, newspaper clippings, proposals, publications, and reports of the Lavanburg-Corner House Foundation.

The collection is valuable to researchers studying these topics: child welfare, emotional support, funding, institutional care, Jewish children, Jewish welfare, philanthropy, public health, public housing, rehabilitation, social welfare, and vocational training.

The collection is in English.

The collection is divided into four series.

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The collection is arranged into four series as follows:

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Access and Use

Access Restrictions

The collection is open to all researchers by permission of the Director of Collections and Engagement of the American Jewish Historical Society, except items that are restricted due to their fragility.

Use Restrictions

Information concerning the literary rights may be obtained from the Director of Library and Archives of the American Jewish Historical Society. Users must apply in writing for permission to quote, reproduce or otherwise publish manuscript materials found in this collection. For more information contact:
American Jewish Historical Society, Center for Jewish History, 15 West 16th Street, New York, NY, 10011

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Related Material

National Jewish Welfare Board records (AJHS I-337, New York, NY)
Herman Muehlstein Foundation records (AJHS I-519, New York, NY)
UJA-Federation of New York records at the AJHS
Lavanburg Foundation records (NYPL Manuscripts Collection)
Clara de Hirsch Home for Working Girls (92nd St. YM-YWHA Archives)

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Preferred Citation

Published citations should take the following form:
Identification of item, date (if known); Lavanburg-Corner House Fund, records; I-518; box number; folder number; American Jewish Historical Society, New York, NY.

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Acquisition Information

Donated by Susan Cahn of Foundation Service, Inc., 2002.

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Access Points

Click on a subject to search that term in the Center's catalog. Return to the Top of Page

Container List

The following section contains a detailed listing of the materials in the collection.

Click the box in the request column to open the form that allows you to request a box for onsite viewing in the reading room at the Center for Jewish History, New York, NY.


Series I: Board of Directors Minutes, 1968-1994, 1996

The Series is in English.
Box 1, Folders 1-7.

Arranged chronologically.

Scope and Content:

The series consists of the Lavanburg-Corner House Fund Board of Directors meeting minutes from 1968 to 1996.

1 1 LCH Fund Board of Directors Meeting Minutes 1968-1971 request_box
1 2 LCH Fund Board of Directors Meeting Minutes 1972-1976 request_box
1 3 LCH Fund Board of Directors Meeting Minutes 1977-1980 request_box
1 4 LCH Fund Board of Directors Meeting Minutes 1981-1984 request_box
1 5 LCH Fund Board of Directors Meeting Minutes 1985-1988 request_box
1 6 LCH Fund Board of Directors Meeting Minutes 1989-1993 request_box
1 7 LCH Fund Board of Directors Meeting Minutes and pending proposals 1993-1994, 1996 request_box
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Series II: LCH Fund Giving History with Funded Proposals, undated, 1959, 1970, 1972, 1975, 1978-1979, 1981-1983, 1985, 1988, 1990-1997

The Series is in English.
Box 1, Folder 8 -- Box 5, Folder 9.

Arranged alphabetically by organization name.

Scope and Content:

The series is composed of the giving history of the Lavanburg-Corner House Fund along with the funded proposals and reports for grants given to 46 Jewish organizations by the LCH Fund.

1 8 LCH Fund Giving History, A-G request_box
1 9 LCH Fund Giving History, H-R request_box
1 10 LCH Fund Giving History, S-Z request_box
2 1 Advocates for Children of New York undated, 1983, 1994-1996 request_box
2 2 Bensonhurst Guidance Center 1994-1996 request_box
2 3 Big Brothers/Big Sisters of New York 1995-1996 request_box
2 4 Big Sisters, Inc. undated, 1970, 1994-1996 request_box
2 5 Report from CASA – materials, requests 1995-1997 request_box
2 6 Camp Vacamas Association undated, 1978, 1993-1996 request_box
2 7 Center for Family Life in Sunset Park undated, 1992-1996 request_box
2 8 Child Care Inc. undated, 1992-1997 request_box
2 9 Citizen’s Advice Bureau, Inc. undated, 1994-1996 request_box
2 10 Cities in Schools – New York undated, 1983, 1993-1996 request_box
2 11 Community Family Planning Council Foundation undated, 1985, 1990-1991, 1993-1996 request_box
2 12 Creative Arts Team (CAT) 1994-1995 request_box
2 13 The Dome Project, Inc. undated, 1981, 1992, 1994-1996 request_box
3 1 The Door – College Preparation Project undated, 1994-1997 request_box
3 2 East Harlem Tutorial Program 1975, 1993-1996 request_box
3 3 The Educational Alliance, Inc. undated, 1985, 1992-1996 request_box
3 4 Family Dynamics 1992-1996 request_box
3 5 F.E.G.S. undated, 1959, 1994-1996 request_box
3 6 First, Inc. undated, 1991, 1994-1996 request_box
3 7 Fresh Air Fund undated, 1992, 1994-1996 request_box
3 8 Goddard Riverside Community Center 1993-1996 request_box
3 9 Good Shepherd Services undated, 1994-1997 request_box
3 10 Graham Windham report 1994-1996 request_box
3 11 Grand Street Settlement undated, 1990, 1993-1996 request_box
3 12 Green Chimney Childrens’ Services undated, 1994-1996 request_box
4 1 Henry Street Settlement 1992-1996 request_box
4 2 Interfaith Neighbors, Inc. 1995-1996 request_box
4 3 Inwood House undated, 1979, 1993-1996 request_box
4 4 Jewish Board of Family and Child Services 1994-1996 request_box
4 5 Jewish Community Center of Staten Island undated, 1978, 1995-1996 request_box
4 6 Jewish Council of Yonkers 1995-1996 request_box
4 7 Jobs for Youth undated, 1993-1996 request_box
4 8 Little Sisters of the Assumption – Family Health Services undated, 1991, 1993-1996 request_box
4 9 New York City School Volunteer Program undated, 1970, 1972, 1993-1996 request_box
4 10 New York Council on Adoptable Children undated, 1994-1996 request_box
4 11 Public Education Association undated, 1981, 1994-1996 request_box
4 12 Student Advocacy, Inc. 1993-1996 request_box
5 1 Turtle Bay Music School undated, 1988, 1993-1996 request_box
5 2 Union Settlement 1983, 1993-1996 request_box
5 3 United Neighborhood Houses of New York, Inc. undated, 1993-1996 request_box
5 4 UJA-Federation undated, 1995-1996 request_box
5 5 Veritas Therapeutic Community, Inc. 1995-1996 request_box
5 6 Washington Heights-Inwood Coalition 1995-1996 request_box
5 7 Women in Need undated, 1993-1996 request_box
5 8 Yorkville Common Pantry undated, 1982, 1993-1996 request_box
5 9 Youth Communications – New York Center undated, 1983, 1994-1996 request_box
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Series III: LCH Fund Miscellaneous Administrative Documents, undated, 1942, 1944, 1950, 1952, 1954-1960, 1962-1966, 1986-1987, 1989, 1993-1996

The Series is in English.
Box 6.

Arranged alphabetically by folder title.

Scope and Content:

The series is composed of miscellaneous administrative documents collected by the Lavanburg-Corner House Fund, including articles, bills, correspondence, financial statements, memoranda, plans, proposals, publications, and a résumé.

6     1 Agencies for further review; applying agencies 1993-1996 request_box
6 2 Cross Cultural Study of Youths, Memo 1963-1964 request_box
6 3 Free Choice Vocational Trade Training 1966 request_box
6 4 LCH Scholarship Program; agency executive directors; miscellaneous undated, 1995 request_box
6 5 New School Observer article; Reception Program; interoffice memos; list of proposals; Board minutes, 1994; closure plan; recommended agencies 1994 request_box
6 6 NYU-LCH partnership for Public Administration & Social Service Program at NYU undated, 1944, 1954-1960 request_box
6 7 Record of assets and correspondence 1950, 1952, 1962 request_box
6 8 Resume of job applicant 1964 request_box
6 9 War Insurance, reception/luncheon, miscellaneous bills undated, 1942, 1964-1966 request_box
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Series IV: LCH Fund Dissolution, undated, 1978, 1993-2000, 2002

The Series is in English.
Boxes 7-8.

Arranged alphabetically by folder title.

Scope and Content:

The majority of the records in this series deal with the closing of the Lavanburg-Corner House Fund in 1996. The bulk of the material is from 1995 to 1997.

7 1 Certificate of amendment; revised by-laws 1978 request_box
7 2 Committee recommendations to the Board of Trustees 1995 request_box
7 3 Community Resource Exchange (CRE) – Distribution Lists 1996 request_box
7 4 Correspondence – CRE proposal; final grants, closure letters 1995 request_box
7 5 Correspondence – Robert Popper’s death, 1997; recommended grant list; old by-laws undated, 1995-1998 request_box
7 6 Dissolution plan circa 1996 request_box
7 7 Early CRE Plans; LCH Audit & Fees 1995 request_box
7 8 Final Board meeting, 1996 – recommended project proposals; correspondence with the New School of Social Work undated, 1995-1997 request_box
7 9 Final minutes, 1996 – approved proposals, rejected proposals, dissolution plan, agencies founded by LCH; Board minutes, 1994 1994, 1996 request_box
7 10 Financial Statements – December 31, 1996 (3 copies) December 31, 1996 request_box
7 11 Financial Statements and Tax Returns 1996-1997 request_box
7 From Vision to Reality (2 copies) 1996 request_box
8 1 LCH Fund Dissolution 2000 request_box
8 2 LCH Fund final board minutes, bank statements, and correspondence undated, 1995-1999, 2002 request_box
8 3 LCH Fund mailing labels undated, 1993 request_box
8 4 List of Board of Trustees (1996); NY Supreme Court Approval of dissolution, 1999; Certificate of Dissolution (1998); donation of residual funds, 1998 1996, 1998-1999 request_box
8 5 Project for final board meetings, 1996; newspaper clippings, 1996; reception agenda, 1996; establishment of LCH Scholarship Fund undated, 1995-1996 request_box
8 6 Proposals, letters, and labels for declined proposals undated, 1995-1996 request_box
8 7 Securities (ASIEL & Co.) 1994 request_box
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