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Family Service Association of San Diego (1889-) | Special Collections & University Archives

Name: Family Service Association of San Diego (1889-)
Variant Name: FSA, Associated Charities

Historical Note:

The Family Service Association, originally named Associated Charities, formed in 1889 as a family welfare organization but was unable to sustain itself.  In 1910, after community discussion, the Associated Charities was formally incorporated and given non-profit status.  The organization served as a clearing house for social welfare agencies.  The Associated Charities registrar investigated charity cases to ensure their legitimacy, and then sent deserving cases to the appropriate local social agency or charity for aid.  During the First World War, Associated Charities provided refugee relief and child placement services as well.

The organization consisted of a board of directors; a central council with delegates from various local charities, churches, and agencies; as well as an advisory board that helped to investigate charity cases.  Member subscriptions and local government subsidies initially funded the agency.  Later, Associated Charities received funding through the San Diego Community Chest, a fundraising body for local social agencies.  In addition, the Associated Charities also oversaw the Charities Endorsement, which verified the legitimacy of local charities during and after the First World War.

In 1938, the charity changed its name to the Family Service Association (FSA) of San Diego to better reflect its changing activities and mission.  It remained a private, non-sectarian agency, and mediated domestic difficulties (such as alcoholism and marital disputes), taught families how to budget incomes, developed work skills, and provided material aid. FSA remained a Community Chest agency.  Later, United Community Services and United Way became the organization’s main source of funding.  In addition, as the association grew, it increased its staff and utilized various committees to help coordinate operations.  FSA of San Diego also maintained membership with the national Family Service Association of America (FSAA).  Starting in the late 1950s, affiliate agencies were formed in the greater San Diego area.  These agencies were started by community members who saw a need for a social agency in their neighborhoods.  As such, these satellite branches offered services and programs specific to their community's needs.  By the 1970s, Carlsbad and Oceanside, Palomar, San Dieguito, the Foothills area, and Imperial Beach maintained affiliate agencies.

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