The Cleveland Society of Poles Foundation

The Second 25 Years: 1948 - 1973

At a dinner dance celebrating the Society's Silver Anniversary, the members were reminded that "Our responsibilities are progressively greater in the fields of charity, fraternalism and good fellowship. We must continue to be active in civic, social and community affairs, maintaining at all times faith, tolerance and courage."

Individually and collectively society members had distinguished themselves. Architects, judges, mayors, bankers, doctors, lawyers, teachers, legislators, pharmacists, editors, media personalities, engineers and industrialists; virtually the entire spectrum of Cleveland's business and professional community was represented in the membership.

Cleveland Society brothers held positions such as Foreman of the Grand Jury, Chairman of the Catholic Charities Drive, Chairman of the Cuyahoga County Democratic Party, President of the Cleveland Real Estate Board and members of the Mayor's Cabinet.

In the years 1963 to 1973 alone the Society had contributed more than $35,000 to civic and charitable causes. Among the many organizations aided by the society were: Alliance College at Cambridge Springs, the Kosciuszko Foundation, Marymount Hospital, The Red Cross, The Polish American Congress and The Cleveland Orchestra.

Often individual members just pitched in at meetings to give financial aid to groups as diverse as the Laski Foundation for the Blind of Poland and the University Settlement House.

Major contributions were drawn from the proceeds of the annual Presentation Ball. As mentioned earlier, young people were first invited as early as 1940. Among the prime movers in making these dances a success and involving increasing numbers of young people in the Society's activities were Dr. Chester Szubski and Joseph A. Mosinski.

Our first formal presentation of Debutantes was in 1955. This Presentation Ball was the beginning of one of the most colorful, delightful and profitable traditions of the Society. In that inaugural year eleven young ladies and their escorts were introduced.

The dances began to show substantial profits and helped to draw new members by 1961 as they gained increased attention in neighborhood and ethnic publications. By 1963 the recognition became city wide as the society editors for both the Cleveland Press and Plain dealer began publishing the event. The Ball also drew the attention of the local TV stations. Each succeeding year brought additional coverage.

Perhaps the highest form of flattery the Presentation Ball received was the number of it's imitators. Nearly every major ethnic group in the city began to sponsor its own Debutante event.

This was also the period that saw the advent of the "Good Joe" award. Beginning in 1963 the Society has annually recognized the individual member who best exemplified our tradition of service to the community and brotherhood to our members and our city.

To celebrate the 50th year of our existence in 1973 the Cleveland Society of Poles once again made a major outreach to our community. With the donation of $5,000 to sustain the world famous Cleveland Orchestra the Society, with a membership of 250, raised its sights even higher in its ongoing commitment to the good of our city.

The brothers of the Cleveland Society, over our first fifty years, have remained true to our ideals. We have assisted one another as well as our fellow Polish Americans. Our works have always been meant to serve as an inspiration to our community and to bring credit to our heritage.

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