In the early 20th century, a small group of visionary philanthropists recognized that turbulent times required a major change in how Jewish New Yorkers could support the causes they cared most about. Felix Warburg, a Jewish investment banker and humanitarian, spearheaded a group of community leaders to launch a federation, a central organization that would reduce the duplication and competition among many local Jewish charities, and maximize what they could do together. On January 10, 1917, the Federation for the Support of Jewish Philanthropic Societies of New York City was formally chartered by the State of New York. In its first year, it distributed $2.2 million to Jewish hospitals, orphanages, and social service organizations. The agreement creating the United Jewish Appeal (UJA) was signed in January 1939 to provide relief for European Jews trapped in the vise of war, to sustain Jews living in pre-state Palestine, and to facilitate German Jewish immigration to safer countries. In 1941, UJA of Greater New York incorporated, making it by far the most important affiliate of national UJA. In 1986, UJA formally merged with Federation to create UJA-Federation of New York.