NEW YORE FIREMEN AIDED BY SPECIAL BENEFIT FUNDS
Neustadt, Honor Emergency and Emergency Relief Funds Provide Ample Sums for Their Assistance-Reports of the Three Funds
Members of the New York fire department or their dependents received during the year 1923 in the form of financial aid, the sum of $15,224 in gifts or bills paid and $27,500 in loans of $100 each at four per cent, interest, according to the reports recently issued upon request by the Neustadt Fund, the Honor Emergency Fund and the New York Fire Department Emergency Relief Fund, Inc.
The Neustadt Fund, senior of all, founded in 1911 by Mrs. Sigmund Neustadt, aunt of Honorary Deputy Chief Robert H. Mainzer, paid $5,200 last year to firemen or their relatives; the Emergency Relief Fund, founded in 1914 by the late James M. Leopold, dean of the fire fans of his day loaned firemen $27,500 at four per cent, during the year and the Honor Emergency Fund, founded in 1921 by Honorary Deputy Chief W. W. Cohen, paid out a total of $10,024 last year, of which $900 was in the form of death benefits at $100 each. $4,624 for nursing, operations, hospitals bills, etc., and $4,500 in grants on a monthly basis averaging $25 a month to active and retired members or to their kin.
The Honor Emergency Fund in the three years from March 28, 1921 to March 26, 1924 has expended $19,928.75 as follows: Nursing care $4,012.50; monthly grants $10,310; outright grants for hospital board, illness, medical treatment, operation’s, x-rays, etc., $4,006.25 and $1,600 to sixteen widows or other dependents of members killed in the line of duty.
In the three years in which it has expended $19,928, the Honor Emergency Fund receipts were $238,681.44. The greatest part of that sum is the result of receipts from baseball games between the policemen and the firemen of New York and between the firemen of Chicago and New York, the tickets having been purchased by the New York public in appreciation of New York firemen and their work. The $238,681 was arrived at as follows; Baseball games $215,214, interest $19,216, donations $4,250. The disbursements during three years of its existence are divided as follows: Grants $19,928, expenses $154, commissions on bonds purchased $68, excess of receipts over disbursements, $218,529. The assets are invested in Liberty bonds and in New York City bonds. The fund is dispensed by a board of trustees which comprises every rank in the uniformed force of the department. Thomas J. Drennan, the fire commissioner is chairman of the board. The presiding vice chairman is Honorary Deputy Chief W. W. Cohen. The fund is his own idea, following a fatal fire in the Brooklyn Union Gas works three years ago, in which six members of the department were killed. Some of them left dependents, other than widows, for which the city charter made no provision financially.
The $5,200.44 expended by the Neustadt Fund through its secretary-treasurer, Honorary Deputy Chief Mainzer, was divided as follows: Monthly allowances. $1,510; artificial limbs, braces, etc., $398; gifts outright to firemen or dependents. $1,040; bills for doctors, nursing, x-ray, etc., $2,251; total $5,200. In fourteen years this fund has expended $28,689.01 as follow: Monthly allowances, $8,462; artificial limbs, braces, trusses, etc., $2,344; outright gifts, $3,971; doctors bills, $8,797; loans, $4,972 and expenses of administration, $140.31.
Last year the receipts of the Neustadt Fund were as follows: Coupon from $25,000, N. Y. City 4 1/4 , per cent, bonds, $1,082; the Lamberson Fund of the N. Y. Firemen’s Cycle Club. $32; contribution by Dr. E. G. Stillman. $1,000 and interest on credit balance, $637. The fund was founded with $25,000. The accrued principal, however, may be used by Chief Mainzer, but the original $25,000 must remain invested. In his annual statement to the trustees of the fund. Chief Mainzer wrote in part: “The drain on the resources of the fund during 1923 has been exceptionally great due to the constantly increasing requests for aid and payment of hills of hospital, nursing, doctor’s bills, x-rays, etc. No loans were made during the year. It is now our policy to make gifts outright rather than to rely on bi-weekly repayments which entail a large amount of clerical work. Due to the charitable instincts of Messrs. Hallgarten & Co., the fund has received a steady interest credit of six per cent, upon its balance which proved a greater benefit than investing the money in government or city bonds yielding only slightly over 4J4 per cent. The donation of $1,000 by Dr. E. G. Stillman was repeated this year (1924) and helped in a great measure to cut down the amount of expenditures over income, which for the year amounted to $2,500. I feel that I could obtain this sum very easily from friends of the fire department, but have adopted the policy of letting the good work of this fund speak for itself and prefer to receive voluntary contributions rather than to solicit them.
The New York Fire Department Emergency Relief Fund Inc., is more popularly known among the firemen as the Leopold Fund because it was founded by Mr. James M. Leopold, a banker and honorary battalion chief, who at the time of his death in 1917. was the senior buff. Mr, Leopold’s idea was to help firemen avoid the usurous loan sharks who for a number of years had unfortunate and unlucky firemen figuratively by the throat. Good standing in the fire department is ,the only requirement to obtain a loan. The loans are limited to $100 per man anil are paid off in semimonthly installments at four per cent, interest. Following Mr. Leopold’s death, his brother Alfred M. Leopold became president of the fund. Honorary Battalion Chief Fred. II. Greenebaum is the presiding vice-president of the fund and Miss Janet Murray is the secretary treasurer. The fund today amounts to $10,200 but it is always loaned out. Last year 275 firemen were helped. No expenses are charged against the fund.