Tuesday, March 4, 2008


On the coldest Chicago Winter day in a decade, UJC's Planned Giving and Endowment and Research and Planning Departments convened what proved to be a meaningful Conference at the O'Hare Hilton. Focused on a Research Report on Best Practices in communities with a separately incorporated Foundations, the day revolved around the publication of the Research Report and in learning from each other. By all measures, the day was a success.

I participated as the Chair of the PG & E Task Force on Foundation Governance for the past 5 years, but the laboring oars were pulled by UJC's Senior Professionals, Joe Imberman and Rabbi Lou Feldstein, with Consultant Debbie Bussel and Facilitator Ephraim Schachter. The most critical part of the Conference was the participation by foundation and federation leaders from around the country who flew in in large numbers -- 20 of the 32 communities/foundations which participated in the research were with us. And, beyond the research, we learned a great deal operating from the premise shared by all that in this highly competitive philanthropic environment in which all of us operate, collaboration is the connective tissue with which we will not just survive but prosper.

This Research and its fruits would not have been possible without the committed leadership of, first, Chicago's Lester Rosenberg, immediate Past Chair of the UJC Planned Giving & Endowment effort, and Paul Morton, from Toronto, the current Chair. Both were active participants in the day. The major participants, however, as it should have been, were the foundation and federation lay and professional leaders present -- they challenged, they were provocative and creative. All this made for a terrific give and take on matters of trust, competencies and, always, collaboration.

Not every Conference like this one is deemed worthy of an UJC Briefing but it is an effort like this Conference that says more about the UJC-communities working together than does many a Briefing. The Bussel Research Study can be found on the UJC Website, I'm told. It's worth a read.


An Addendum: On March 13 I received a letter from Howard Rieger addressed "Dear Colleagues" and including the Research Study,

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