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Minneapolis Jewish Federation records

Identifier: umja0026

Scope and Content

This collection consists of administrative materials dating mostly between 1927 through 1994. Materials include correspondence, meeting minutes, committee reports, studies and reports, budget allocations and analysis, financial records, event planning, pamphlets, newsletters, and scrapbooks containing publicity materials. The extensive correspondence, particularly in the subject files, document the worldwide scope of Federation concerns in correspondence with beneficiary organizations. The vast majority of all Jewish organizations in Minnesota can be found in this collection as having at one time partnered with the Federation.


  • 1927-2020


Use of Materials

Open for use in the Elmer L. Andersen Library reading room.


Researchers may quote from the collection under the fair use provision of the copyright law (Title 17, U.S. Code). Requests to publish should be arranged with the Upper Midwest Jewish Archives; please contact the archives for more detailed copyright information.

Historical Note

The Minneapolis Jewish Federation, or simply Federation as it is familiarly called, was first founded in 1930 in order to coordinate fundraising and social service planning and delivery within the Jewish community. During their first fundraising event in 1930, Campaign chairman Arthur Brin stated that the Federation's function "is to plan for all of the local philanthropies and causes as a community unit; to aid causes not taken care of by the Community Fund, and national, European, and Palestinian causes." Its first local beneficiary agency was the Talmud Torah, a community Jewish educational supplementary school. The remainder of the funds raised was sent to national or international causes -- hospitals, orphanages, and yeshivas. The organization concentrated on fundraising during its early years, a task made difficult by the Depression. It created the Minnesota Jewish Council in order to combat anti-Semitism in the late 1930s. It attempted to act as the coordinating body for anti Nazi protests during the late 1930s and into the 1940s. Although the Federation was faulted in the 1936 Jewish Communal Survey for failing to provide leadership in inter-agency planning, it was not until after World War II that social planning became a major component of the organization. As Federation expanded, it added separate support divisions -- in 1946 a Women's Division was announced, and in 1978 the Young Leadership Division began.

Since the 1940s, the Federation has become the most important Jewish agency in Minnesota because of the community size and amount of money raised, and therefore, Federation plays a vital role in planning for all Jewish agencies. Currently located in Minnetonka, Federation's mission includes: creating a community of shared responsibility, engaging the next generation in Jewish life, strenghtening cocnnections to Israel and Jewish peoplehood, broadening leadership excellence, and enhancing and deepening the commitment to Jewish philanthropy. For more information on the organization's current projects and partners, visit their website at


106 Cubic Feet (92 boxes -- 89 Paige boxes, 3 oversize boxes, 1 custom enclosure volume)

Language of Materials



This collection consists of the administrative materials of the Minneapolis Jewish Federation, a non-profit organization that serves the Minneapolis Jewish and general communities.


This collection is divided into series:

Series 1: General Administrative (1987 donation)

-- Subseries 1: History, Board, and Committee minutes

-- Subseries 2: Member Agencies reports and correspondence

-- Subseries 3: Studies and Reports

-- Subseries 4: Subject Files

-- Subseries 5: Public Relations and scrapbooks

-- Subseres 6: Fundraising

Series 2: General Administrative (1990s donation)

-- Subseries 1: History, Board, and Committee minutes

-- Subseries 2: Executive Director's files

-- Subseries 3: Women's Division

-- Subseries 4: United Jewish Appeal / Young Leadership Development

Source of acquisition

Donated to the Jewish Historical Society of the Upper Midwest by the leadership of the Minneapolis Jewish Federation, first in 1987, and again after 1994.

Processing Information

This collection was donated to the Jewish Historical Society of the Upper Midwest (JHSUM) before being donated to the University of Minnesota. The staff of JHSUM processed this collection after each of the two donations, resulting in different organizational styles for each donation. The organization and series that the JHSUM staff created has remained in tact.
Minneapolis Jewish Federation records, 1927-2020
Finding aid created by Kate Dietrick
June 2015
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Collecting Area Details

Contact The Upper Midwest Jewish Archives Collecting Area