Scope and arrangement
The Aaron Diamond Foundation records are arranged in four series:
The grant files which comprise the bulk of the records are arranged yearly and then alphabetically within the year by title of the organization receiving grant funds. (Grant recipients were limited to charitable and non-profit organizations as defined by the Internal Revenue Code.) The bulk of the organizations receiving grants were located in New York City (and State). Relatively few grants were made to organizations outside of New York State, principally to organizations in the District of Columbia, Massachusetts, Tennessee, Wisconsin and Utah.
The files include correspondence of the executive director, Vincent McGee, with executive directors, project managers, educators, research scientists, college and university presidents, and other officials and administrators of educational, cultural, health, scientific, and social welfare organizations and institutions mainly in New York City. (A few grants were awarded elsewhere in New York State and in a few other states.) The correspondence relates to the disbursement of financial aid in the form of grants to charitable and non-profit organizations who appealed to the Foundation for funds for general administrative support or for the development and implementation of special projects or programs.
Collateral to the correspondence are proposals and proposal abstracts submitted by grantee organizations in support of their requests for funds. Taken as a whole these documents provide a detailed and comprehensive view of a broad range of social, cultural and public health needs in New York City and the projects, methods and programs which were proposed to deal with them. Annexed to the proposals are various supporting documents including curricular vitae of principal project or program personnel, budget worksheets, and scientific monographs and bibliographies. Included also are interim progress reports and final reports submitted by the grantees in compliance with the grant agreement. These reports assess the achievements of the grant award as well as the difficulties and problems encountered in meeting the proposals' goals and objectives. Included also are internal memoranda and reports made by Foundation staff which analyze and evaluate grantees' proposals and which make recommendations regarding them.
Included also is some correspondence of the executive director with outside referees regarding the evaluation of proposals under consideration; and some routine correspondence of Foundation staff including program officers (Marsha Bonner, Kate Chieco, and Norman Fruchter) and the grant administrator (Ann Williams Gael).
The grant files also contain many routine documents relative to the administration of the grants including grant agreement letters signed by an official of the grantee organization which define the terms and conditions of the grant; grant data worksheets which record ongoing administrative activities relating to the grants; and payment vouchers which indicate the amounts of funds awarded. Each file also contains copies of correspondence between the grant recipient and the Internal Revenue Service which verify the grantees tax exempt status.
Supplementing the administrative documents per se are numerous printed documents issued by, or relating to, the grantee organizations including annual reports, financial statements, auditor's reports, newsletters, press releases, photocopies of press clippings, informational flyers, programs, announcements, brochures, and other publicity materials. In toto the grant files provide a rich and comprehensive source of insight into the efforts of charitable and nonprofit organizations in a major metropolitan area to cope with the increasing demands of a complex, multi ethnic, urban civilization during the latter part of the 20th century. The files also document the Foundation's generous and constructive philanthropy which contributed to the satisfaction of a broad range of cultural needs and to the solution of a multitude of pressing educational, social and public health problems in New York City.
The minutes of the board of directors which include regular meetings of board members and annual meetings of members of the Foundation, consist of typescript minutes and collateral documents arranged chronologically from the date of the first board meeting on December 14, 1955 until the final meeting on November 21, 1996. Attached to the minutes of the first meeting are the Foundation's original by-laws and certificate of incorporation. Attachments to other minutes include employment and other agreements, statements of assets and liabilities, disclosure statements, waivers, memoranda, and amendments.
The minutes reflect the decisions of the board regarding the approval (or disapproval) of grant proposals submitted to the Foundation by charitable and non-profit organizations for the funding of special projects or programs or for general support. The composition of the board changed through the years and was limited to not less than three or more than nine directors. Founding directors included, in addition to Aaron and Irene Diamond, Bernard Gartlir, Mary Hennessey, Henry Hofheimer, Jr., and Henry Winestine. Other directors serving in subsequent years included Robert L. Bernstein, Noreen Clark, Adrian DeWind, David Dinkins, Peggy Dulany, Marian Wright Edelman, Alfred Gellhorn, Vartan Gregorian, Norman Gross, Peter Kimmelman, Vincent McGee, Charles Mandelbaum, Irving Mark, Jean Diamond Sargent (daughter of Irene Diamond), Martin E. Segal, William H. Shron, and Lewis Thomas.
The early minutes concern mainly the transfer of financial assets from Aaron Diamond to the Foundation and other matters including the setting of organizational goals; the appointment, education and resignation of directors and members; administrative structure; and routine legal matters including amendments to the certificate of incorporation. Beginning in the fall of 1984 and continuing until the last meeting the minutes reflect the discussion of grant proposals submitted by charitable and non-profit organizations for the funding of specific projects in the fields of education, culture and medical research; and other matters including financial strategies for the management of the Foundation's investments.
The minutes of annual meetings contain for each year a detailed set of background documents prepared by staff for the use of directors which include agenda, copies of proposals submitted by grantees; copies of correspondence between Vincent McGee and the grantee; alphabetical lists of grants approved and rejected; grants committed by the president; lists of grant renewals; and lists of projects funded in the fields of education, culture and medical research docketed with amount of funding approved.
The additional records (Containers #404-521) were received by the Library in 1999 and in 2003.
The records received in 1999 (Containers #404-518) consist of grant files for the years 1994, 1995 and 1996; and a file of requests for employment (c1989-1997). The grant files are arranged as described in Series I and are similar in content. The requests for employment consist of correspondence and resumes sent to Vincent McGee, executive director of the Foundation, from professional persons seeking employment with the Foundation or seeking assistance in obtaining employment elsewhere.
The records received in 2003 (Containers #519-521) consist of final grant files (1995- 2001) for several grantees; and a file of miscellaneous grantee reports.