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MOUNT VERNON HEBREW CAMPS INCORPORATED v. WAYNE COUNTY COMMISSIONERS (04/18/63)

April 18, 1963

MOUNT VERNON HEBREW CAMPS INCORPORATED
v.
WAYNE COUNTY COMMISSIONERS, APPELLANTS.



Appeal, No. 6, Feb. T., 1963, from order of Court of Common Pleas of Wayne County, June T., 1961, No. 120, in case of Mount Vernon Hebrew Camps Incorporated v. Wayne County Commissioners, sitting as Board of Assessment and Revision of Taxes. Decree reversed.

COUNSEL

David M. Boyd, County Solicitor, for appellants.

Emanuel Schwartz, with him Leonard J. Rosenfeld, of the New York Bar, and John J. Koehler, for appellee.

Before Rhodes, P.j., Ervin, Wright, Woodside, Watkins, Montgomery, and Flood, JJ.

Author: Flood

[ 201 Pa. Super. Page 7]

OPINION BY FLOOD, J.

This is an appeal from a decree exempting Mount Vernon Hebrew Camps Incorporated from taxation upon its real estate in Wayne County, which it operates as a children's camp in the summer months. The question before us is whether the appellee is an institution "of purely public charity" "maintained by public or private charity", so as to qualify it for such exemption under art. IX, § 1, of the Constitution and § 202 of the Act of 1943, P.L. 571, 72 PS § 5453.202.

The appellee was organized as a non-profit corporation under the laws of the State of New York for the charitable purpose of establishing one or more camps for boys and girls, young men and women, residents of the City of Mount Vernon, New York, "and others", to promote interest in camping and other lawful sports and to provide social and athletic recreation for young people to improve health and to promote friendship, sociability and culture among its members. The corporation is a charitable organization under the laws of New York, being an arm of the Young Men's and Young Women's Hebrew Association of Mount Vernon, New York, Incorporated, in the performance of the latter's charitable and educational functions, and "basically" it seeks to further the charitable, cultural and educational functions of that association. The association receives at least one-half of the funds for its operations from the public charitable organizations, to wit, Federation of Jewish Philanthropies (33%), Mount Vernon Community Chest (8%), and various community efforts (8%).

[ 201 Pa. Super. Page 8]

It provides small group experience, develops social skills and accepts referrals from social case work agencies, foster home placements, etc. It accepts physically handicapped and emotionally disturbed children for aid and employs trained social workers and psychologists to aid them and makes referrals to counseling services on the basis of the experience with such children during the summer months. Enrollment in the camp is open to all children regardless of race, creed or color, and while the majority attending the camp are from the Jewish community in and around Mount Vernon, New York, about eight to ten percent of the campers are Christian children. "Primarily" all the children come from the Westchester County, New York, area.

All the directors in the camp are volunteers. None of the corporation's officers or directors receive any salary or compensation or other money benefits from it.

The corporation is exempt from income tax by action of the United States Treasury Department, and is exempt from unemployment compensation tax, franchise, corporate net income and loan taxes, as well as sales and use taxes under the laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. It receives a subsidy as a charitable social service organization from the State of New York in the form of cash reimbursement for moneys spent for milk and receives surplus foods from the United States Government on a per capita basis.

The majority of its receipts come from fees paid by parents or other sponsors for the children at the camp for the summer. The fee for the nine week camp season is approximately $460 but not all campers pay the regular fee. Some pay no fee and ...


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