The Hebrew Education and Free Loan Association, incorporated in 1914, had the purpose of providing interest-free loans to Seattle's needy. The initial membership of the organization was 60, with dues at 50 cents per month. Membership grew to 125 in the organization's first year. In 1979 the organization's name changed to Hebrew Free Loan Association.
The organization's incorporators were S. B. Goldman, Harry Lerner, E. Friedman, and B. Schneider. Officers at incorporation were G. Simmons, M. Silver, S. Grodstein, and A. Weinberg.
In the first year, 21 loans were granted for a total of $410. Over the years, the organization raised the ceiling on loans. In 1922, the ceiling went from $25 to $100; in 1955 it was $200; in 1978 it was $1,000. Today (1999) the loan limit is $2,000.
In 1979, the organization changed its name to Hebrew Free Loan Association. The association has been instrumental in helping individuals become professionals -- accountants, teachers, doctors, dentists. The sensitive policies regarding loan requests and the practical repayment terms have resulted in an almost 100 percent repayment record.