JEWISH FREE LOAN TORONTO HISTORY
Helping Jews in need since 1924
Jewish Free Loan Toronto was founded in 1924 with the sole purpose of helping people help themselves. It currently has more than 800 active loans worth over $3 million circulating in the Community.
European Jews arrived in Canada
In the early 1900’s, many European Jews arrived in Canada in search of a better life. As procuring employment proved difficult (especially for the observant) early versions of communal loan societies sprung up. Some offered start-up loans for small business ventures while others such as the Loan Cassa helped settle Jews in agricultural areas. As Cassa evolved, it joined forces with the United Jewish Relief Agency and the Canadian Jewish Congress, and also began to offer business loans.
Free Loan Society
In 1911, a Free Loan Society was formed in Toronto under the name of Associated Hebrew Charities. (AHC). Operating on a very informal basis, with promissory notes being guaranteed by Community members, AHC was ultimately disbanded in 1917 with only $2.00 left in its coffers.
Hebrew Free Loan Association
In 1922, Rabbi Barnett Brickner recommended that a new Free Loan Society be created, this time under auspices and financial backing of B’nai Brith and private donors. With $3,800 from B’nai Brith and $1,350 from donors, the first meeting of the Hebrew Free Loan Association took place on Dec.7, 1922 at the Zionist Institute, at the corner of Beverly and Cecil Streets.
Toronto G’Milath Chasodim Association
On July 12, 1924, Letters Patent were signed and sealed incorporating the Toronto G’Milath Chasodim Association. “Twelve Jewish men, all of the City of Toronto, in the County of York and Province of Ontario” were the founding members of this corporation, whose mandate it was “to assist deserving applicants for relief.” Around this time, B’nai Brith and National Council of Jewish Women began to provide loans to students who were academically capable but financially unable to pay for their education.
Scholarship In Aid
In 1957, when additional Community support was required for these loans, the Scholarship In Aid program was created under the auspices of the United Jewish Welfare Fund. Toronto Hebrew Re-Establishment Services later assumed responsibility for the administration of this program.
Toronto Jewish Free Loan Cassa Association
Recognizing that the Community would be best served by one free loan organization, TJFLC (Toronto Jewish Free Loan Cassa (G’milath Chasodim) Association) was formed in 1985 through a merger of Toronto’s business, personal and educational loan agencies. In 2011, the Board of Directors changed the name to Jewish Free Loan Toronto.
Building on the legacy of its past, today Jewish Free Loan Toronto continues to offer a hand-up to Jews in need throughout Ontario. It currently has over 800 active loans worth more than 3 million dollars out circulating in the Community helping people help themselves.