Library Collections: Document: Full Text

The Warm Springs Foundation

Creator: Keith Morgan (author)
Date: January 1936
Publication: The Birthday Ball Magazine
Publisher: National Committee for the Birthday Ball for the President to Fight Infantile Paralysis
Source: Franklin D. Roosevelt Library

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NINE YEARS AGO the Georgia Warm Springs Foundation was a combination of antiquated buildings and a dream -- the dream of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. But with his indomitable courage and vision, this dream was not long in assuming reality. He surrounded himself with people who, financially or through the contribution of their energies, could help bring about an institution which would be the greatest single force in organizing and coordinating a national fight against infantile paralysis.


The nine years that followed have been full of plans, enthusiasm and accomplishments. There was the construction of pools; the building of the Infirmary; the growth of the cottages around the campus and up the mountain side. There was the remarkable State-wide campaign in Georgia which led to the construction of Georgia Hall. There was also the erection of Builders' Hall and Kress Hall under the able direction of Hegeman and Harris, who built, among other things. Radio City.


Along with the steady building at Warm Springs those associated with its growth have witnessed a tremendous development of medical work on infantile paralysis throughout the country and a rapid increase in the influence it has exerted.


In the early part of 1933, when the Board of Trustees voted that the work of the Foundation should be intensified, definite steps were taken to acquaint the public with the objectives which the Foundation had created, and the necessity of securing money with which to attain those objectives.


The Birthday Ball for the President was decided upon as a happy solution of the problem of raising money. The first one, in 1934, produced $1,015,000. But, though the Foundation was at liberty to take this fund and invest it, carrying on its work with the income but saving the principal for a rainy day, the Trustees felt that such action would be contrary to the Foundation's ideals. Therefore, they determined to split the proceeds into three funds:


1 -- "A $100,000.00 fund to stimulate and further the meritorious work being done in the field of infantile paralysis.


2 -- "A $650,000.00 fund for the furtherance of the present work done by the Foundation's institution at Warm Springs and enabling it to help coordinate the efforts of all engaged in this work, the details, of course, to be worked out by the Trustees.


3 -- "A fund of $253,-030.08 for building, maintenance and contingencies of the Foundation."


All three funds were put quickly into use, and though each was greatly diminished by the time plans came to be discussed for the second Birthday Ball last year, in view of the magnitude of the task of conquering infantile paralysis the Trustees decided that the 1935 proceeds should go exclusively for the 'benefit of the cause as a whole. Thus, seventy percent was retained in the community raising it and thirty went to a specially created body known as the "President's Birthday Ball Commission for Infantile Paralysis Research."


This Commission appointed a Medical Advisory Committee to help in the best possible allocation of funds. The second Birthday Ball was even more successful than the first, and besides the sorely needed help it provided for localities, a large national research fund was made available to the Commission. Ten famous scientific institutions in various parts of the country were given funds by the Commission to carry on research. work.


The Commission reported that it was amazing-how unified the fight for the discovery and control of the virus of infantile paralysis had become. Scattered scientists were much better able to keep track of the progress made elsewhere, and so direct their own work more effectively. And the feeling of unity inspired them to ever greater effort.


Now with the third Birthday Ball the great fight advances yet another stage. More than five thousand communities again will receive seventy percent of what they raise toward the fund. Research will be pushed further toward the ultimate conquest of the disease. And hundreds of thousands of American children will have better reason to face the future with confidence. For with such spirit, such effort and such generosity the fight is surely bound to be victorious.