THE COMMUNITY CHEST
PROBABLY the most characteristic development of social work in this country is the plan of joint financing of social agencies, known as the "community chest." Denver had the credit for having started such a movement in this country when, in 1888, fifteen or sixteen relief-giving societies united their appeals for funds and named the joint project the Charity Organization Society (Mrs. A. Jacobs, Proceedings, 1892; Izetta George, Proceedings, 1894). Before Denver had launched its plan, however, Liverpool had made an experiment in joint collection of contributions, but it bore only a faint resemblance to the later American community chest. In 1869 a clergyman in Liverpool, noting that a relatively small group of contributors was giving the larger part of the money necessary to finance the private agencies, persuaded each giver to combine all his gifts in one check and deposit it in one of the local banks, which would then distribute the total in accordance with the wishes of each donor. This plan was no more than a time-saving method of collection and distribution useful to the givers. It was never adopted at any time by the charity organization movement in England and was not a part of the program of that movement when it came to this country.
The Denver experiment never assumed responsibility for raising all the money needed by its constituent members, and, consequently, it could not promise its donors immunity from further solicitation in behalf of its member agencies. A half- way measure, it tended to suffer from the defects of joint solici-