The Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies (originally known as the Federation of Institutions Caring for Protestant Children) was founded in 1922 to coordinate the efforts of New York's Protestant child care agencies through a committee of Protestants appointed by the Commissioner of Public Welfare in New York City.

There was a concern about the lack of coordination in the work of institutions for Protestant children. The objectives of the organization were to form an association of agencies interested in the care of dependent, neglected, and delinquent children of Protestant affiliation; to act as a clearing house of information for the community; and, to ensure there was no group of dependents remaining in need of care because of a lack of coordinated efforts.

By 1925, the name of the organization was changed to Federation of Agencies Caring for Protestants, so that agencies other than those caring for children could be admitted to membership

In the 1930s, the organization, seeking to increase access to needed services and expand its programs and services, changed its name to Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies (FPWA).

Today, we have branched out from our original faith-based membership so that we can provide management assistance, capacity building, and advocacy services to nearly 200 member agencies and churches throughout the city’s five boroughs and beyond.


Founded in 1922 as the Federation of Institutions caring for Protestant Children, the Federation offered management services and intake and placement of orphaned and abandoned Protestant children in New York City.


The Federation sought to increase access to needed services. Several divisions were established to meet referral and informational needs of agencies and individuals, support religious institutions' social service initiatives, develop foster homes in the black community, and assist nursing homes and elder-serving agencies with management. The name was changed to Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies.


During wartime rationing and restrictions in the 1940s, FPWA formed Institutional Marketing Services to provide information and purchasing assistance to affected agencies. This became Group Purchasing Services (GPS).


By 1950, 140 agencies were affiliated with FPWA. We became a participating agency with The New York Times Neediest Cases Fund, which provided FPWA with the resources needed to provide one-time grants to help needy New Yorkers deal with emergency situations.


More than a half million individuals were helped through FPWA outreach in the 1960s. FPWA strongly supported the War on Poverty, and advocated for the establishment of Medicare and Medicaid.


FPWA worked toward a long-range, broadly based goal of helping all people in need, regardless of their racial, ethnic or religious backgrounds.


To be old in America during hard times is particularly challenging, and FPWA provided leadership and guidance to elder-serving agencies in understanding seniors’ legal rights and entitlements under the Older American Act.


With shrinking budgets and an always expanding need, FPWA provided agencies with management consultation and technical assistance to help with capacity issues and to help them survive in uncharted territory.


Throughout the 2000’s, FPWA continued to serve as a champion of the poor. After 9/11, FPWA was honored to assist individuals, families, and member agencies affected by the attacks on the World Trade Center. FPWA expanded our breadth and depth of services as part of a society of caring for families, parents and children, as well as those most affected by the Great Recession.


Still feeling the effects of the Great Recession, FPWA remains committed to protecting the social safety net for the many struggling New Yorkers. In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, FPWA provided critical financial support to several of our member agencies through funds made available by the New York Times Sandy Relief Fund.