DJB Foundation Records, 1971-1975

Mss 10
10.5 c.f (21 document boxes)


The DJB Foundation, a progressive social change philanthropy, was founded in 1948 by Daniel J. Bernstein to hold the portion of his inheritance intended for donation to charities. With his death in 1970 almost five-million dollars came to the foundation. Its most active period began in 1971 when the Board of Directors decided that all assets would be given away within ten years. The grants concentrated on groups and programs generally ignored by conventional foundations because they were "controversial" -- the poor, GIs, deserters and draft resisters, ethnic groups, convicts and ex-convicts. The DJB Foundation exhausted its funds by the end of 1974.

The DJB Foundation Records consist of financial summaries and grant files containing correspondence, proposals, and information about the recipient organization.


This collection is open to the public without restriction. The copyright law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code) governs the making of photocopies or other reproductions of copyrighted material.


Cite as: DJB Foundation Records, 1971-1975, Ruth Lilly Special Collections and Archives, University Library, Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis.


Presented by Carol Bernstein Ferry and W. H. Ferry, July 1993. A93-89

Processed by Brenda L. Burk and Danielle Macsay, March 1998.


Daniel J. Bernstein was born in New York City in 1918, the youngest of three brothers. Graduating from Cornell University in 1940, he went to Harvard Business School for a year before going to work for the Land Conservation Corps. A few months later he volunteered for the Navy at the United States' entry into World War II and served for five years. An early impression that developed Dan's awareness of the plight of others was the treatment of black servicemen. The unfairness with which black sailors were dealt by the Navy was a powerful lesson for him about the hatefulness of racism.

After leaving the Navy, Dan searched for a job that would have some meaning. He was guided by Jim Robinson, a progressive minister in Harlem, to the National Scholarship Fund and Service for Negro Students. He and Felice Schwartz, the creator of the organization, built it into a great success, connecting qualified black students, available funding, and interested colleges.

After a few years, he entered the business world and eventually began working for Loeb Rhoades, a Wall Street investment firm. Although he always disapproved of the market mechanism and the faith people had in it to reflect and enhance the U.S. economy, he found it intellectually fascinating and was very successful. In 1956, while recuperating from knee surgery, Dan decided to work at home permanently. He built an office in the barn located behind his house in Scarsdale, New York; this office became the headquarters of the DJB Foundation

The DJB Foundation was created in 1948 by Daniel Bernstein as a holding operation for the inheritance received from his father until he sorted out what should be done with it. He continued to work in the stock market to earn a living but he used the Foundation funds and his own funds when limited by the tax laws to give to his causes and beliefs. The legal limitations imposed on tax-exempt funds were an obstacle to Dan and reform-minded individuals but he overcame that obstacle by using his own private funds, capital and income, to meet the needs for which foundation money could not be used.

When Dan died in 1970 at the age of 51, approximately $5 million of his estate went to the DJB Foundation. This sum was substantially all of the Foundation's capital, as at his death it had about $100,000. The Foundation now began its most active period. The Board of the Foundation consisted of four members: Carol Bernstein, his widow; Stephen R. Abrams, CPA, longtime friend and colleague; Robert S. Browne, president of the Black Economic Research Center and widely recognized for his knowledge of Southeast Asia and the domestic economic scene; and newly appointed member, W. H. Ferry, whose imagination and judgement Dan had long admired and who later became Carol's husband in 1973. Vincent F. McGee, Jr., joined the Foundation as its executive staff member in the beginning of 1973.

The board adopted the following operating practices: spend capital as well as income and use the money within ten years, concentrate on groups generally ignored by conventional foundations because they were controversial, operate on a nationwide scale despite their modest resources, give when small grants could make a difference, make grants without imposing their own ideas (no strings attached), not jeopardize the Foundation's several million dollars by grants that could be challenged by the tax authorities. The board members believed that real change must come from the roots of American society, thus they concentrated on aid to small groups organized to help themselves and to resist corporate and official power.

With these principles, the Board followed Dan's philosophy and focused its giving in support of those who were perceived to be victims of government vindictiveness or neglect. The recipients of its grants were generally controversial groups such as anti-Vietnam War supporters, progressive political groups, and organizations interested in minority rights and education. The foundation helped to fund legal defense programs, clinics, community organizations in urban ghettos and barrios and in the impoverished rural areas of the South and West, and Native American rights groups. Public foundations such as the Regional Young Adult Project, the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation, and the Youth Project, were used as approved channels to get money to controversial causes without being challenged by the tax authorities.

With its funds virtually exhausted by 1975, the board members of the DJB Foundation more than achieved its ten-year goal of depleting its resources in only four years. The Foundation is still in existence but operates on a much smaller scale than during its most active period which is represented in the records.


The Carol Bernstein Ferry and W.H. Ferry Papers, Ruth Lilly Special Collections and Archives, University Library, Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis.

The Carol Bernstein Ferry and W.H. Ferry Oral History, Ruth Lilly Special Collections and Archives, University Library, Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis.


The collection consists of two series: Business Records, 1971-1975, and Grant Files, 1971-1975. These record document DJB Foundation's most active period, which followed Dan's death in 1970 and the approximate $5 million given to the Foundation from his estate.

The Business Records, 1971-1975, contain summary financial information about the DJB Foundation. The DJB Foundation Report, 1971-1975, is the only report published by the Foundation. It includes the Foundation's philosophy of giving, and a summary of its grants describing the recipient and its purpose along with a listing of donations, 1971-1975. Also within the business records are the accounting records of 1973 prepared by Ferro, Berdon and Company that include financial statements and the accountant's report summarizing the Foundation's financial status for the year.

The Grant Files, 1971-1975, include information pertaining to organizations given donations by the DJB Foundation. The files demonstrate the process used by the board members in its grant approval process. Each file usually contains the paperwork on the IRS tax-deductibility status of the recipient organization, correspondence, a proposal describing the proposed project for funding, and documented proof of the work accomplished with the donation. Additional documentation in some files includes printed prospectuses and agendas, newsletters, articles, handwritten letters, and photographs. While the Grant Files give insight into how the DJB Foundation dealt with requests, the records do not contain all the files of organizations and individuals who received funds. The series list contains the names of the organizations and individuals documented in the collection. For a complete listing of donations made by the Foundation, consult the Report of the DJB Foundation, 1971-1975 found in the Business Records of the collection.

Business Records, 1971-1975  
Report of the DJB Foundation, 1971-19750101
The DJB Foundation Financial Statements and Accountants' Report, 19730102
Grant Files, 1971-1975  
Black Mesa Defense Fund, 19710103
Black Servicemen's Caucus, 19730104
Black World Federation/The Black Scholar, 1971-19730105
Board of Studies in History of Consciousness, 19730106
Boy's Club of Southern Marin, 19730107
Bread and Butter Fund, 19710108
Brockton Law Services, 19720109
Buffalo Prison Project, 19740110
Cage Teen Center, 1972-19730111
California Homemakers Association, 19740112
California Indian Legal Services, 19710113-14
California Province of the Society of Jesus, 19720115
California Public Interest Law Center, 19730116
The Cambridge Institute, 19720117
Campaign Finance Litigation Project, 1972-19740201
Cannery Workers Committee, 1971, 19730202
Capitol Hill News Service, 19740203
Carolina Action, 19740204
Center for Alternative Education, 19710205
Center for Analysis of Public Issues, 19740206
Center for Community Change, 19720207
Center for Community Economic Development, 1972-19730208
Center for Constitutional Rights, 1971-19740209
Center for Defense Information, 1971-19750210-13
Center for International Studies, 1971-19740214
The Center for National Policy Review, 19710215
Center for National Security Studies, 19740301
Center for New Corporate Priorities, 19710302
Center for New Schools, 19720303
Center for Rural Studies, 1972-19730304
Center for the Study of Criminal Justice, 19740305
Center of Metropolitan Mission In-service Training, 19730306
Central Committee for Conscientious Objectors, 1972-19740307
Central West Alabama Legal Service Center, 19740308
Change for Children, 19730309
Chicano Communications Center, 1971-19730310
The Children's Foundation, 1973-19750401
Chinatown Co-op Garment Factory, 19730402
Church World Service, 19710403
Citizens Communication Center, 19710404
Citizens Energy Conference, 19730405
Citizens' Inquiry on Parole and Criminal Justice, 19730406
Civil Liberties Legal Defense Fund, Inc., 1974-19750407
Clay County Community Development Program, Inc., 19730408
Clay County Community Federal Credit Union, 19740409
The Clinton Program, 1971-19720410
Coalition of Concerned Black Americans, 1972-19740411
Colonias del Valle, Inc., 19720412
Columbia G.I. Office, 19730501
Columbus Trust, 19710502
Committee for the Development of Mass Communications, 19740503
Committee for Environmental Information, 19710504
Community Law Center, Inc., 1972-19750505-07
Community Legal Action Workshop, 1973-19740508
Community Radio Workshop, Inc., 19720509
Community Rundown, 19730510
Congreso Obrero, 19730511
Congress of African People, 19730512
Connecticut Citizen Research Group, 1973-19740513
Connections Guidance Center, 19720514
Constitutional Litigation Clinic, 1971-19750515
Council of the Southern Mountains, Inc., 1971-19720516
Council on Economic Priorities, 1971-19750601-02
Criminal Jury Trial Rights Project-National Lawyers Guild, 19740603
Crystal City Legal Aid Association, 19720604
Deganawidah-Quetzalcoatl University (D-Q University), 19710605
Delta Coalition for Better Broadcasting, 19740606
Delta Housing Development Corp., 19740607
Delta Legal Assistance Center, 19730608
Delta Ministry, 1971-19720609
Delta Regional Law Firm, 19740610
Delta Valley Federal Credit Union, Inc., 19740611
East Harlem Block Schools, 19720612
East Harlem Environmental Extension Service, Inc., 19720613
East Harlem House, 19740701
East Harlem Redevelopment Project, 19720702
East Harlem Tenants Council, Inc., 19710703
East Los Angeles Community Union, 19710704
East Tennessee Research Group, 19740705
Eastern Farmworkers Assn., 19750706
Eastern Kentucky Resource Center, 19740707
The ECOS Project, 19710708
Ecumenical Ministry in the Haight Ashbury, 1972-19740709
Education and Training for Cooperatives, Inc., 19710710
Electricity and Gas for People, 19740711
Emmaus House, Inc., 19710712
Escuela de la Raza Unida, 19740713
Escuela y Colegio Tlatelolco, 1973-19740714
Escuela y Colegio Tonantzin, 19730715
Eugene Friends Meeting, 19710716
Exploratory Project for Economic Alternatives, 1972-19740717
Fannin County Taxpayers Association, 19740718
Farm Labor Organizing Committee, 1973-19740801-02
Federation of Southern Cooperatives, 1973-19750803
Fellowship of Reconciliation, 1971-19740804
Feminist Education Foundation, 19720805
The Fortune Society, 1971-19740806
Freedom Village, Inc., 1971-19730807
Fund for Class Action Costs, 19740808
Fund for Investigative Journalism, 1971, 19740809-10
Germantown Area School Program, 19710901
The G.I. Office, 19730902
G.I.'s in Germany, 1973-19740903
Givat Haviva Educational Foundation, 1971-19730904
Goddard-Riverside Community Center, 19750905
Grand Jury Educational Fund, 19740906
Greene County Development Center, 1973-19750907
Gulf Boycott Coalition, 1973-19740908
Harlem School of the Arts, 19710909
Harlem Philharmonic Symphonic Society, Inc., 1971-19720910
Health Policy Advisory Center, 1972-19750911-12
Highlander Research and Education Center, 19721001
Hispanos Unidos de Park Slope, 19721002
Home Co-op, 19741003
Household Technicians of San Francisco, Inc., 19741004
Illinois Congress of Ex-offenders, 19731005
Independence High School, 19721006
Indochina Curriculum Group, 19741007
Indochina Information Project, 1972-19751008
Indochina Resource Center, 1971-19751009-11
Industrial Areas Foundation, 19731012
Inmates Communication Workshop, 19731013
The Inner City Fund, 1972-19741014
Institute for Neighborhood Studies, 1972, 19741015
Institute for Policy Studies, 19721101
Institute for Regional Education, Inc., 19741102
Institute for Social Analysis, 19721103
Institute of the Black World, Inc., 1971-19721104-05
Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility, 19741106
Internews, 1972-19741107
Interreligious Foundation for Community Organization, Inc., 1971-19721108-09
Intertribal Friendship House, 19711110
La Clinica de la Gente, 1972-19751201
La Clinica del Pueblo de Rio Arriba, 1971, 19741202
La Cooperacion del Pueblo, 1971-19741203
La Flore County Area Cooperative, 19721204
La Gente, Inc., 19721205
Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, Inc., 19741206
La Puerta, 19731207
Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights under Law, 19731208
Lawyers Constitutional Defense Committee, 19711209
League to Improve the Community, 19731210
Legal In-service Project, 1972-19741211
Los Angeles Black Service Center, 19711212
Mafundi Institute, 19721213
Malcolm X Liberation University, 19731214
Mannes College (School) of Music, 1971-19731215
Marin City Community Organizers, 19741216
Martin Luther King, Jr. Foundation, Inc., 19711217
Martin Luther King, Jr. Workers Conferences, 19751218
Massachusetts Community Center, 19741219
Massive Area Redevelopment Committee, 19731301
Media Access Project, 1971-19741302-03
Metropolitan Urban Service Training, Inc., 19711304
Mexican American Council on Education, 19731305
The Midwest Academy, Inc., 19731306
Midwest Association for Sickle Cell Anemia, Inc., 19721307
Miles College, 19721308
Mile Square Federation, 1973-19741309
Milwaukee Urban Research Project, 19741310
Minority Control Fund, 1972-19731311
Mississippi Audio Visual Rural Information Center, 19741312
Mississippi Prisoners' Defense Committee, 19741313
Mississippi State Association of Cooperatives, 19721214
Mountain People's Rights, Inc., 1971-19721315
Movement for Economic Justice, 1973-19751401
National Conference of Black Lawyers, 1971-19741402
Offender Aid and Restoration of New York City, Inc., 1973-19741403-04
Open Channel, 19721405
Organizers Fund, 19741406
Pacific Counseling Service, 1972-19741407-08
Pacific News Service, 1973-19751409
Pacifica Foundation WBAI-FM New York, 1971-19721410
Pan African Skills Project, 1972-19731411
Parents Activities Association, Inc., 19721412
Parole Litigation Project, 19741413
Penal Reform Institute, 19721501
Penn Community Services, Inc., 1971-19751502-04
Peoples Bicentennial Commission, 1972-19751505-06
Peoples Foundation for Community Development, 19741507
People's Union Farm, 19711601
Philadelphia Clearinghouse Project, 19741602
Philadelphians for Equal Justice, 19741603
Phoenix House Foundation, Inc., 19721604
Pilipino Bayanihan, Inc., 1973-19741605
Pilipino Organizing Committee, 19731606
Pitt River Nation, 1971-19731607
Planned Parenthood, 19721608
Potrero Hill Youth Legal Center, 19731609
Prison Art Program, 19731610
Prison Law Project, 1971-19731611
Prison Reform Task Force, 19741612
Prisoner Visitation and Support Committee, 1973-19741613
Prisoners' Union, 1972-19731614
Program for Economic Justice, 19741615
Project of Amnesty, 1972-19741701
Project on Educational Testing, 19731702
Project Spa, 19721703
Public Advocates, Inc., 19741704
Public Art Workshop, 19721705
Public Law Education Institute, 1971-19731706
Public Media Center, 19741707
Puerto Rican Organizers Training Center, 19731708
Putney School, 1971-19731709
Ravenswood School Project, 19741710
Redevelopment Media Project, 19711711
Regional Young Adult Project, 1971-19761712-13
Rent Control Project, 19741714
Research Institute for Educational Problems, 1971-19721801
Return Surplus Lands to Indians Project, 19711802
Rising Up Angry, 19741803
Rural Advancement Fund of the National Sharecroppers Fund Inc., 1971-19731804
Rural Mission, Inc., 1971-19741805
San Francisco Community Service Fund, 1973-19741806
San Francisco Consumer Action, 1973-19741807
San Francisco Neighborhood Housing Corporation, 19731808
San Francisco Newsreel, 19721809
Sane Educational Development Fund, Inc., 1972-19731810
Save Our Cumberland Mountains, 19741811
Scarsdale United Fund, 1971-19731812
Scientists' Institute for Public Information, 1971-19741813
South East Alabama Self-Help Association, Inc., 19711814
Southern Broadcast Media Project, 19731815
Southern Education Program, Inc., 19711816
Southern Resource Center, 19741817
The South Forty Corporation, 19741818
South Texas Project, 19751901
Southwest Alabama Farmers Cooperative Association, Inc., 19731902
Southwest Georgia Project for Community Education, Inc., 19731903
Southwest Research and Information Center, 1972-19751904
Southwest Voter Registration Education Project, 19741905
Southwestern Indian Development, Inc., 1971-19741906
Southwestern Institute, 1971-19721907
Street Sweepers Fund, 19721908
Student Press Law Center, 19741909
Suburban Action, 1971-19741910
The Support Center, 19741911
Tax Analysts and Advocates, 1972-19761912
Texas Institute for Educational Development, 1972-19742001
Town of Mound Bayou, 1971-19762002-03
Twice Born Men, 1973-19742004
Union of Vietnamese in the U.S., 19732005
United Church of Christ Office of Communication, 19742006
United Farm Workers Cooperative, 19722007
United Front Press, 1973-19742008
United Methodist Church Board of Church and Society, 1971-19722009
United Projects, 19732010
U.S. National Student Association, 1971-19742011-12
United States Servicemen's Fund, 1971-19722101
Urban Policy Research Institute, 1971-19752102-04
Venceremos Brigade, 19732105
Video Chinatown, 19722106
Vietnam Era Veteran National Resource Project, 19732107
Voter Education Project, Inc., 19732108
Washington Area Military and Draft Law Panel, 1972-19742109

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