I found that it began under William A. Muhlenberg in 1869. Dr. Muhlenberg (see the 1898 article below, a review of his biography) appears to have been a great citizen of New York, who added several reforms. If he deserves the "fresh air fund" honors, he should get them.
The Fresh Air Fund is known for taking city kids out to the country. It now operates in many cities, not just New York.
In 1877, The Fresh Air Fund, an independent not-for-profit organization, was created with one simple mission — to allow children living in disadvantaged communities to get away from hot, noisy city streets and enjoy free summer vacations in the country.
When The Fund began, New York City was overflowing with poor children living in crowded tenements. Many of these youngsters were hit by a tuberculosis epidemic, and "fresh air" was considered a cure for respiratory ailments.
125 years ago, the Reverend Willard Parsons, a minister of a small, rural parish in Sherman, Pennsylvania, asked members of his congregation to provide country vacations as volunteer host families for New York City's neediest children. This was the beginning of The Fresh Air Fund. By 1881, the work of The Fund was expanding so rapidly that Reverend Parsons asked for and secured support from The New York Tribune. By 1888, The Fund was incorporated as "The Tribune Fresh Air Fund Aid Society." Today, Fresh Air continues to benefit from the support of the media with invaluable assistance from The New York Times.
The Fund's tradition of caring provides children with a much-needed respite from the inner-city streets. Thousands of youngsters enjoy summer vacations with volunteer hosts or attend five Fund camps in upstate New York.
The simplicity of our program is its strength. Looking back to 1877, we can reflect on how much has changed, and how much has stayed the same. The Fund began with a small group of youngsters heading for the country and went on to benefit more than 1.7 million needy children.
8 June 1869, New York Times, pg. 4:
The proposition for a "Fresh-Air Fund," which has been started by that truly good man, Rev. Dr. MUHLENBERG, for the purpose of procuring an occasional Summer excursion for the very poor people of the City, ought to be carried out. A few thousand dollars spent in this way - spent to procuring steamboats and barges that would carry a few hundred people daily out of their vile quarters to places where they could get a sight of green fields or a breath of the fresh sea-breeze - would not only be a sanitary but a humane and moral benefaction. There should be no difficulty, and no delay, in raising the necessary means.
2 August 1872, New York Times, pg. 8:
First Excursion of the Poor Children of Brooklyn.
The first excursion of the Brooklyn "Fresh Air Fund" took place yesterday. It was under the auspices of the Union, and is pronounced to have been a decided success.
9 April 1877, New York Times, pg. 5:
William Augustus Muhlenberg died at 10:20 o'clock last evening, in his eighty-first year, after an illness of several weeks duration.
12 February 1898, New York Times, pg. BR111:
Dr. Muhlenberg was fifty years of age and in the full plenitude of his powers when he came to New York City and began a work the influence of which upon the Church at large it would be difficult to estimate. His first work was the establishment of a free church, where rich and poor should meet upon a common footing. In this church (Church of the Holy Communion) he out into operation many innovations which were then looked upon askance by his fellow-clergy, but which now are common customs. Among these may be named the first Protestant sisterhood in America, the first Christmas tree in New York City for poor children, boys choirs, daily services, the first fresh-air fund, and free seats, open, with low-kneeling benches, instead of private cushioned pews.
Word Mark THE FRESH AIR FUND
Goods and Services IC 042. US 100. G & S: ELEEMOSYNARY SERVICES-NAMELY, ADMINISTRATION OF ACTIVITIES FOR SENDING CHILDREN TO CAMP. FIRST USE: 19670500. FIRST USE IN COMMERCE: 19670500
Mark Drawing Code (1) TYPED DRAWING
Serial Number 73048840
Filing Date April 8, 1975
Current Filing Basis 1A
Original Filing Basis 1A
Registration Number 1077628
Registration Date November 15, 1977
Owner (REGISTRANT) FRESH AIR FUND, THE NOT-FOR-PROFIT CORPORATION NEW YORK 1040 AVENUE OF THE AMERICAS NEW YORK NEW YORK 10018
Attorney of Record NEIL F MARKVA
Disclaimer THE WORD "FUND" IS DISCLAIMED APART FROM THE MARK AS SHOWN.
Type of Mark SERVICE MARK
Affidavit Text SECT 15. SECT 8 (6-YR).
Renewal 1ST RENEWAL 19980205
Live/Dead Indicator LIVE