Sunday, September 28, 2008


To the Friends of the Blog and your families, may you enjoy a sweet New Year -- a shana tova u'metukah. May it be for all of you and yours, a year of good health, and may the New Year usher in Peace for our People, for our Country and for Israel.

Friday, September 26, 2008


Dear Readers:

Among my first Posts on this Blog were those that lamented the reality that in the midst of a recession, UJC chose, by dismissals and force-outs, to reduce its Development staff and, further, to divert resources from assisting in and leading the federations' Financial Resource Development efforts. We noted how UJC's Chair and CEO chose, time and again, to publicly and privately deprecate the federations' annual campaign achievements without apparently any...any...understanding that the financial resources from those campaigns fire the engine that enables the federation to serve as the communal central address and convener. UJC's leaders determined to ignore the economic indicators -- they did so at their peril. The Posts were a warning; they were ignored.

I returned to this theme time and again. One week ago, I posted The Ostriches. It was no more than a recitation of the cluster...farce going on at UJC. Not just the "Nero fiddles while Rome burns" attitude of UJC's constricted leadership but the fact that while our economy morphed from recession to catastrophe (so bad that the President went on television and Senator McCain "suspended" his campaign to deal with it!!), UJC was busy making serial "asks," ignoring its own negligence in the planning and execution of the anti-Iran Rally and doing "strategic planning." Well, unrelated to my Blog, certainly, this week's edition of The New York Jewish Week featured an excellent and ominous article co-authored by Jim Besser and Tamar Snyder: "'Genuine Emergency' For Charities, Agencies." Therein, not only did John Ruskay, New York UJA-Federation's brilliant CEO, acknowledge that "[T]his will be a tough year," but Mark Talisman, one of our system's greatest professionals whose contributions have spanned the decades "...proposed an emergency national summit of Jewish leaders to respond to a crisis he said is fast becoming 'many times worse." Indeed.

Even more telling, the authors quoted "...a big-city federation executive who asked that his name not be used" as follows: "Since all this started, I haven't gotten a single e-mail or heard about a single conference call from national UJC...[T]here's a lot of uncertainty about what we should be doing, but nobody's offering any guidance. I'm still hearing more about Israel and Iran than what we may be up against at home in the coming months." (Emphasis added.) To access this excellent analysis in its entirety:

Maybe, maybe, someone at 111 Eighth Avenue will read the article, and will explain it and the dire economic implications for our federations to this sheltered group floating in the protective bubble they have created, and UJC will rally us during these catastrophic times. Yet, as the New Year is upon us, wouldn't it be best to start the incredible effort necessary in these times with new leadership passionately focused on the federations' needs rather than on their own navels. I hear the fiddle playing...and it's not Tevye.

Shabbat shalom, friends.


Thursday, September 25, 2008


I have previously Posted with regard to Howard Rieger's unilateral outreach to Federation Chief Executive Officers seeking, without any...any...authorization, process or governance approval, $5 million for the Ethiopian National Project. I have, since that Post, been reminded that Rieger's incredible personal solicitation placed UJC in a further untenable position. Let me explain...

When the Joint Distribution Committee and JAFI reached agreement on a new contract between them, pursuant to agreement, they transmitted it to UJC, where, best I can tell, UJC and some Large Federation Executives rejected its terms -- they felt a 5-year agreement was too long, and wanted the parties to determine how much funding would flow to ORT and the Ethiopian National Project, among other matters. JAFI and JDC, each with strong negotiating teams negotiated these matters to deadlock. It had been agreed that UJC would serve as mediator in the event of just such an impasse. UJC appointed the ubiquitous Kathy Manning (!!) to mediate and the parties went forward with her mediation on the ORT and ENP funding issues. Now, Toni Young, UJC's IO/GO Chair as you may recall, has joined Manning as a "co-mediator;" as is UJC's practice, with just "notice" to JAFI/JDC and, certainly, no discussion. (As anyone who has engaged in mediation will tell you, the more mediators, the less the likelihood of a successful result. But, never mind.)

Then, Howard's bizarre, unauthorized "ask" intervened. With this one inexcusable act, UJC's role as "honest broker" dissolved. In light of the fact that UJC, JDC and JAFI were in negotiations and mediation, known to Rieger at the time of his Memorandum seeking $5 million for the ENP, UJC, by and through its CEO, breached its fiduciary obligation to the Agency and the Joint -- a fundamental, inexcusable breach of trust. The end result -- UJC's Howard Rieger has totally undermined the mediation and destroyed UJC's role as honest broker therein. (The fact that Rieger ignored ORT in this inexplicable ask is just further evidence of his confusion over UJC's proper role and the focus of JAFI and JDC.)

But, compounding the felony, "co-mediator" Toni Young, for reasons known only to her, without any authority to do so, chose the JDC Board meeting this week, on the eve of the continued mediation, to speak to the JDC Board suggesting UJC support of JDC demands to expand the mediation to the heretofore agreed-upon 75/25 split. Not being privy to the mediation, I can only assume that UJC has managed to mediate another process into chaos. Congratulations.

UJC apparently doesn't even understand what the role of a mediator (or co-mediator) is.

Howard has stated and restated as one of his lame duck goals, creating a "seamless alignment" among UJC, JDC and JAFI. And a noble goal that is. It seems fair to question: (1) why wasn't this one of Howard's goals from the beginning (after all, Rieger's first "speech" to the UJC Campaign Executive Committee, and another to JAFI's Executive, stated his belief that prior UJC leadership had demonstrated a mistrust of JAFI and JDC [this was maybe the first evidence that Howard always would need a "straw man" against which is "achievements" were to be measured. Prior UJC professional leadership were very supportive of JAFI and JDC -- except within the disastrous ONAD process.] that he would end, only to discover that these were just words never to be matched by deeds); (2) how can one who has made it clear that additional funds (beyond those provided by JAFI and JDC from diminished UJC allocations) for the ENP is a personal higher priority than core funding for our "partners" (and, I should add, who really cares what Howard's personal priorities are; any CEO worthy of the title would sublimate the personal to the institutional); and (3) why has UJC failed to advocate for the core allocations of JAFI and JDC as is UJC's (and, thereby, Howard's) mandated moral responsibility? If UJC were to respond at all to these questions, the answers would, no doubt, be perfidious.


Monday, September 22, 2008


No organization, certainly no federation, has engaged in such a serial process of so-called "strategic planning" as has UJC since its formation. Since Howard Rieger's employment, four long years ago, UJC has done not one but two "strategic plans" and, according to Howard's View Friday September 12, UJC is doing another one. This reminds me so much of those Mickey Rooney-Judy Garland musicals of the late 1930"s -- the kids are all sitting around in a barn, bored, with nothing to do, when Mickey yells: "I know, let's do a musical," Judy agrees and they all break into song!! Unfortunately, the outcomes of the Rieger-driven UJC "strategic Plans" have produced no music...and won't.

Shortly after Rieger became CEO, he, Bobby Goldberg and Sonny Plant, z'l, appointed a strategic planning "committee" -- it was a two-person committee as I recall consisting of, who else, Joe Kanfer and Kathy Manning. (Bet you guessed its membership before I typed it.) Now, we never saw that product, if there was any, but I will wager that our own UJC version of Mickey and Judy sat around with Howard and planned...their election as Sonny's and Bobby's successors. So, that was Strategic Plan 1. Strategic Plan 2 was the dictated and dismal Organizational Strategy, promising much, delivering little. That 2007 Strategy by 2008 had morphed into what was characterized by the CEO in his Views as a "Strategic Plan" upon which UJC's last two Budgets have been built -- and has led to the deconstruction of UJC brick by brick.

Now, building on an inarticulate restatement of "UJC's vision, mission and values," typically announced by Rieger in a View, but never processed anywhere within UJC, UJC "...has launched the Strategic Planning Work Group." Its goals are broad but boil down to a diverse group of lay and professional leaders who will create "...a broad consensus system-wide around our role, strategies and vision that will ensure UJC becomes a truly effective and dynamic organization." Fantastic (with emphasis on the "fantasy" part)!! Does the CEO realize that he has announced his retirement? Does any thinking person believe that a new CEO and new Chairs will be any more bound by this Mickey Rooney-Judy Garland exercise than Rieger felt himself bound by the actions taken by his predecessor? In this instance it is as if the UJC Board Chair told the retired CEO: "Sure, you go off in the corner and do your annual strategic planning thing" while we go down the path we've chosen. (Whatever that is.) Buh-bye." This is Alice in Wonderland stuff.

I want to get this straight: Strategic Plan 1 -- disappeared; Strategic Plan 2 -- the Organizational Strategy -- trumpeted to the heavens for two years as the seamless alignment of UJC's functions and directions moving forward, was dictated by UJC leaders without input or even permitted debate before its implementation, will now be succeeded by a "planning process" which "includes four key sub-groups consisting of lay and professional leaders..." and will report out in February 2009, before Rieger is gone and his successor hired. Dysfunction restated and restated again.

Some will ask: what's wrong with a serious strategic planning process? My response would be equally simple: nothing (even though my federation has been driven to unequaled success without a strategic plan, building our success on hard work, commitment. incredible creativity and "extreme" financial resource development), nothing at all. But such a process led by a credible lay and professional leadership working together. If you agree with my premise, then you can only conclude that a lay and professional leadership that, by their acts, have spent their credibility on the tragic deconstruction of UJC are no way capable of planning UJC's future course. That planning can only be led by the next generation of UJC's lay and professional leaders -- let's see them put in place now to lead us forward.

Yet, we will now have, if all goes according to "plan," the third UJC Strategic Plan in five years. This one...this one...unlike the prior two, will assuredly " our Jewish communal future. For details contact UJC's Rob Hyman." OK, this is the one; forget those that have gone before and forget those that will come after. There have been so many examples of dysfunctional management at UJC these past few years, I don't know where to rank this Mickey/Judy effort, but if it's not at the top, it's close.


Friday, September 19, 2008


Where do the ostriches reside? Easy. 111 Eighth Avenue, moving soon to fancier digs downtown. No one there appears to have noticed that our financial markets are in total disarray, people's (even Jewish people's) portfolios have been reduced and reduced again and then reduced even more so, or that our nation's economy teeters over a disastrous precipice. And, what do we hear from our leaders at UJC? We need more money for the ENP, more for the IAI, more for this pet project or that one and, of course, first, pay our dues. It is like the old fund raiser's joke -- "...just 'cause you're having a bad year, why should we?"

Because UJC's leaders have so constantly devalued and deprecated the Annual Campaign and believe that UJC cannot impact on the federations' campaigns, UJC has positioned itself, as our national institution, to do nothing in this time of real crisis for our federations. No plan for this emergency...totally unprepared. There is no National Campaign Chair to rally the troops and, in fact, there are no troops -- without a National Campaign Chair there is no Campaign Executive Committee; no group of lay leaders to visit the federations to urge, with inspiration, the need for greater perspiration. And, in this crisis, where are the UJC lay leaders -- disinterested or unaware -- certainly they are caring, just unknowing.

Last week UJC appropriately congratulated the leadership of the UJC Prime Minister's Council on their 85 person New York City "mission" raising $11 million. Not mentioned were the following: the funds raised on the "Mission" were almost entirely from the Chicago participants who caucused almost alone; when Chicago lay leaders questioned why so little was programmed for events, UJC staff advised "we have a reduced staff and no money" for this event. While every Chicago professional and lay person with whom I have spoken expressed appreciation for what UJC could bring to a Mission such as this one (demonstrated one year earlier on the PMC Mission to Paris-Israel), there was little optimism as UJC demonstrated little enthusiasm for continuing even that kind of leadership investment.

Now is the time, if ever there was such a time, for UJC to throw its efforts into inspiring our federation leadership to double, triple, even dedicate greater resources into the annual campaign. The economic reality our nation faces is certainly, on an economic basis, the equal of the natural disasters to which UJC has responded so brilliantly. Yet, the response from 111 Eighth Avenue is, with our $37 million budget, "we have a reduced staff and no resources." And, thanks in every measure to the isolation and marginalization of Development over the past months and years, staffing is inadequate to the need and but for the valiant efforts of Lori Klinghoffer and the Cabinet Chairs, there is no National Chair and no cadre of lay leaders around whom to coalesce. This has never happened before. This, my friends, is our shame for letting it happen now.

Shabbat shalom.


Thursday, September 18, 2008


Of late there have been a spate of matters related to UJC that have struck me as incisive, evidentiary or funny and sad (or sad and funny) at one and the same time:

  • Somewhere at UJC a decision was made (and, hopefully withdrawn) to add a $6 per room charge for tips for the hotel housekeepers during the GA (to be paid to UJC's vendor and, presumably, redistributed). Aside from not trusting North American lay or professional leaders enough to engage with them, they don't trust us, as hotel guests, to tip the housekeeping staff.

  • Included among the speakers at the July UJC Aspen Jewish Leadership Forum, was a terrific lay leader whose presentation was described in the program as follows: "He'll chat with us about family, kids, career, health and philanthropy, how do I do it all?" WOW!! Indeed, how?(Also on the program was another lay speaker who has denigrated the value of federation for at least the last 15 years -- good choice.)

  • Some federation chief executive officers, in concert with UJC, determined over one year ago not to use the word "recession" anytime, anywhere. Apparently there was some "fear" that if donors (who were, of course, experiencing the recession) found out that we were in one, the annual campaigns would crater. So, where are we today? Can the "r" word actually be mentioned? And what is UJC doing today in terms of helping federations confront this unspoken reality? Or is this just another matter that is "none of UJC's business?"

  • In light of the manner in which criticism and those criticizing have been dismissed by UJC's leaders and the lack of inclusivity with Joe Kanfer's "circle of trust," it was interesting to me to read "The GOJO Well-Being Story" and read the mantra of one of GOJO's co-founders "on the importance of lifetime learning:" "Everything I know, I learned from someone else." Guess that only applies within the walls of GOJO.

  • In a lengthy article on Putin's Russia in Vanity Fair this month, the author concluded: "In Vladimir Putin's Russia, power is concentrated to a degree even greater than it was in the Soviet Union." Now substitute "this leadership's UJC" for "Vladimir Putin's Russia" and there you have it.
  • I take some gratification in UJC's Briefings over the past weeks -- listing the members of the Search, publicizing the results of this year's Prime Minister's Council "Mission" to NYC, etc. Better communication or just an aberration? You decide.
  • Almost daily I receive e-mails from those of you who read this Blog and offer constructive criticism and, generally, support. I wish I could share your names, your e-mails and your criticisms of how UJC continues to go about its business, but you know I won't violate your confidences or trust. But, let me give you some examples from this week's mailbag, among literally hundreds: from a professional who has served our system with distinction for years and cares deeply about it: "Like hundreds of others, I have been watching the self-destruction of the UJC with horror." From a federation and national lay leader: " are right on the mark about so many things." From a brilliant leader in our system: "...the questions ultimately revolve around whether the current leaders have the ability to answer the questions. That particular answer is self-evident. Besides, who would want them to do so?"
  • The UJC Search Committee has distributed a Memo to a limited group of UJC leaders and Federation Executives. (I don't know how limited, I just know I wasn't on the Distribution List. Someone developed and UJC attached an excellent "Success Factors" chart supplemented by a "Dictionary of Behaviors." Personally, I think they should merely read my June 2, 2008 Post -- How to Spot a Flawed CEO -- but I wish them well in the search for the moshiach.

And, so it goes.

Friday, September 12, 2008


As I have noted in past Posts, I have enjoyed JTA's Jacob Berkman's Blog, The Fundermentalist. Yet, from time-to-time, Berkman, like all of us, gets it wrong. This was the case last week in his JTA Post -- Outgoing UJC head faces tough task with overseas partners. That Post, if you didn't read it, states that Howard Rieger "...plans to play the heavy during the next dozen months as he works hard to make sure that the relationship between UJC and the network of North American Jewish federations becomes fully functional." Berkman, obviously sourced by Rieger among others, points the finger at JDC and JAFI leaders as the font of a significant part of the "dysfunctionality" that exists. Wrong...very wrong. Dysfunctional is a one word synonym for UJC today; to even suggest that UJC's curent lay and professional leaders are the ones who can make our system fully funtional is to totally misread cause and effect.

What's the problem? Well, the facts are simple: over the years of UJC's existence the core allocations to the Jewish Agency and JDC have dropped in both real dollars and in percentage. While federation annual campaigns in the aggregate have increased by $300,000,000 over UJC's life, core allocations have dropped by almost $100,000,000 (not including the incredible $362 million raised in the Israel Emergency Campaign which represented pass-through dollars for which JDC and JAFI were the agents). Had core allocations even remained constant, forget about increasing by the same percentage as did the aggregate annual campaigns -- close to 30% -- the battle for additional funding would have been mitigated, even maintaining the agreed upon "split" of 75% JAFI, 25% JDC.

During the period of greatest core allocation decline, the same President and CEO of UJC was in office, doing nothing, saying nothing -- the same CEO who Berkman supposes will now bring "order out of chaos" while sitting in the lame duck chair created when he announced he would leave his position at the end of his contract. The precipitous drop in allocations occured while the current UJC Board Chair sat on his hands preoccupied with...what exactly -- organizational strategies, personal vendettas? It was shocking to read that this Chair suggested to Berkman, an excellent reporter, and Berkman reported as fact that but for UJC's intervention, JAFI and JDC would have incurred $60 million in overlap and duplication in IEC programs and expenditures. UJC allegedly "saved" our system $60 million [a] a number without any factual support...none and [b] totally... totally...unsupported by the facts. This allegation from UJC which still can't find where $10's of millions of funds raised by the federations in the IEC were spent. Such is our UJC, such is our leadership, today.

But, it's even worse. JDC and JAFI are engaged in a mediation today with regard to, among other things, the amount of the organizations' respective financial support of the Ethiopian National Project. UJC is the mediator and has appointed, no surprise here, the ubiquitous Kathy Manning, to convene the mediation. In the midst of the mediation and preemptive of it, Rieger sent out his request to Federation Executives for $5 million for the ENP almost one month ago. Who authorized this ask? Who quantified it? Not the UJC Board or Executive. (See, Institutional Insanity Post.) And what's the real impact of this Rieger "ask" on UJC letterhead? Simple: UJC has disqualified itself as the "honest broker" as between JAFI and JDC. (The Fundermentalist must not have been aware of the mediation.) So, just how, exactly, will Howard bring JAFI and JDC together -- certainly not through moral suasion as Rieger ceded that posture in his pursuit of more dollars for the ENP. And Kanfer has ceded UJC's moral authority in his ridiculous, unsupported allegations with regard to the work of JAFI and JDC in the IEC.

It is ever more evident that it is long past time for the UJC CEO and the Board Chair to take early retirement. Let's bring in an Interim CEO with the moral authority, respected by federations, JAFI and JDC alike, and partner that professional with a new Board Chair of integrity and passion who understands the federations and let's begin a new era for our system. The Fundermentalist has unknowingly pointed out how bankrupt UJC and its leadership are. Thanks Fundermentalist for being fundermentally wrong but, oh, so fundermentally right.

Shabbat shalom.


Wednesday, September 10, 2008


Time and time again, this UJC Administration takes an excellent idea and twists it in application to a point of negativity. This time it is the highly touted Federation Peer Yardstick (and, as noted below, not Peer Yardstick alone). In these pages I have reflected the common sense that Federation Peer Yardstick has made a positive contribution -- leave it to UJC to convert the positive to a negative. I have also consistently highlighted the UJC lowlight failure to meets its overseas advocacy obligations. Somehow, through incompetency or worse, UJC has enabled Peer Yardstick data to be applied as a means of negative advocacy -- almost as if: as we're not doing one thing (positive advocacy), let's do the other (negative advocacy). Here's how it works (or doesn't).

As part and parcel of the measurement of relative federation achievement, those federations participating in Peer Yardstick review are advised as to how their overseas allocations percentage of annual campaign compares with other federations within their "City-size grouping." While the comparison may be apples to oranges -- one community's report may be for 2007 while another's 2008 (or even 2006) -- the end result is that a community -- hypothetically, Detroit -- allocating 40% of annual campaign -- learns that its "peers" among the Large Cities allocate an average of 30%. Would these findings encourage increased allocations? Are there any standards, any discussion of standards? Are the data on the subject of allocations ever discussed with community leadership? Does anyone have a clue?

This is not to suggest that this is at all intentional on UJC's part any more than the realization of Murphy's Law reflects intent. It's just that with all things UJC consequences flow. Yardstick data are sent out, the consequences never considered. Solicitations for the IAI, the ENP, the LOL, are sent out, the consequences with regard to each and each to the other never considered. Peer Yardstick exists in a vacuum as does everything UJC.

On a similar note, there is the planning, such a it is, for the November 2008 Jerusalem GA. Panels and topics for the GA Program each have the name or names of the UJC professional responsible. Nowhere is it indicated that lay leadership has had any input whatsoever. The end result? Well, in a September 8 letter to UJC's very few lay leaders and the CEO, JDC's Chair and Treasure observed "...that the UJC GA in Israel will focus on three topics only: the Negev, Children at Risk and Ethiopians." These terrific JDC lay leaders plead "...that you reconsider this decision in view of the significant and substantial needs facing world Jewry in other areas that should also be brought to the attention of the Federations of North America."

Ellen Heller and Irv Smokler note that "[B]ecause of the declining overseas allocations in core funding, the flat level of community elective funding the past five years, and the weak dollar, JDC has been forced to curtail many essential services and cut from its caseload over 25,000 elderly, poor Jews who are eligible for assistance. These are not just numbers. These are real people..." These JDC leaders continue: "Last year, at the 2007 GA, a total of ten minutes was given to Richard Pearlstone and Ellen Heller to discuss the challenges facing JAFI and JDC, No other mention was made of the enormous needs of the approximately 1.3 million Jews remaining in the FSU or the programs that attempt to alleviate those needs. If UJC does not educate the donor base how can one expect it will increase?" Ellen, Irv and JDC lay and professional leadership have surely learned that this UJC leadership is interested in strictly its own plans (whatever those may be). its own Vision (whatever that Vision may be) -- and nothing...nothing...else. Where there is no Vision, no leadership, dreams die.

You may recall that the current Board Chair and Chair of the Executive took on an earlier assignment, the reconstruction of the GA. They eliminated the lay-professional partnership's GA Planning Committee and made planning for the GA the captive of UJC's professionals and them. Never was that in worse evidence than in Nashville, where this Leadership made the GA about them as they pranced about stage after stage-- and the Nashville GA became no more than a third page story in The Forward. As JDC noted, the results speak for themselves -- and those results are pathetic.

As Ellen and Irv concluded: "The GA -- the annual meeting of the leadership of the Federation system -- is the only time that professional and lay leaders of North America can learn about all the programs being operated to assist Jewish communities throughout the world...It is essential that the UJC GA provide a forum to inform the leadership of North American Jews of the challenges and achievements of its overseas partners -- JDC and JAFI." "No, it's not," these transient leaders would probably respond -- "the GA is ours and we will do with it what we want." Even if they haven't a clue.

Maybe the consequences aren't unintended after all?


More on the upcoming GA next week.

Friday, September 5, 2008


The JCPA has made great strides these past few years. Steve Gutow, its Executive Director, has, with his leadership, refocused the organization on the work and programs of the CRC's; Dallas's Andrea Weinstein, JCPA's new Chair, brings a depth of Federation and community relations leadership to her new role. Two weeks ago they sent an e-mail to "Friend(s) of the JCPA, soliciting direct financial assistance: "Help JCPA's Israel Advocacy Efforts." The e-mail ended with a plea for donor support for "...JCPA and its Israel Advocacy Initiative." (emphasis theirs) The "Israel Advocacy Initiative" -- where have we heard about that before?

Oh, of course, UJC's Howard Rieger sent out one of the organization's serial asks -- for $3 million, no less -- for the IAI. Describing its criticality (as opposed, I guess, to the growing criticality og the Ethiopian National Project, ACANI, etc)., Rieger hectored the federations that the price is small given the return and the advocacy need; described it, at least in writing, as a "joint program of UJC and JCPA." The facts have proved to be somewhat different -- UJC has delegated away its Israel advocacy (not to be confused with advocacy for the work of JDC and JAFI which has not been delegated away, it's non-existent) and looked to the federations to pay the tab over which UJC has not a whit of control. After UJC failed in its attempts to strong-arm JCPA to allocate a portion of its paltry budget to the IAI and then successfully coerced the "Alliance," (nee National Funding Council) to allocate $80,000 to the IAI, UJC, as always, could find no money in its $37 million Budget for this "critical need," not that it bothered to look. Effectively, UJC sent out its "ask;" it appears to believe that UJC's work in this matter is done. And few care.

So, but for the fact that JCPA is primarily funded by the federations, who can blame them for seeking donor funding for a systemic "critical need"? The ask of its "Friends," however, flies in the face of systemic discipline -- does my federation, which allocated its pro rata share for the IAI, countenance a JCPA mass e-mailing? Should it? Would this have occurred in this haphazard hit and run manner had the Federation Resource Development Guidelines adopted by the UJC Board two years ago been implemented? (They now seem but a memory of two years of invested time, laying on a shelf or deep within the bowels of UJC Senior pro Barry Swartz's File Cabinet, gone and forgotten.)

With every other organization seeking funds without regard for systemic priorities, including UJC's CEO ("Institutional Insanity," August 26, 2008), why not JCPA? It's our national system at work.


Tuesday, September 2, 2008


In the event you are not one of the privileged few to have been appointed to the UJC Search Committee or don't sit on its Executive Committee, you probably don't know whom the appointees are who will search out the successor, so badly needed now, to Howard Rieger. Like many of you, I am a Board member -- apparently we are all on a "need to know basis" only and the membership of the Search Committee is one those things we just don't need "to know."

So, here it is: The Search Committee includes the Chair of the Executive as its Chair, the current or immediate past Chairs of New York, Chicago and Cleveland, the dynamic Chair of Women's Philanthropy and Past National Campaign Chair, a terrific small city federation leader, the astute and venerable leaders Julia Koschitzky and Shoshana Cardin, a past UJC Executive Chair (who has participated for better or worse in all of the prior Searches), a past Young Women's Cabinet Chair, a long-time Western Region lay leader and the superb Chair of Financial Relations -- and, then, add the UJC insiders: the Board Chair, the Budget Chair, the IO:GO Chair, each of whom responds to the summons of some high-pitched whistle the rest of us can't hear. Appointing these insiders to join the UJC Chairs on the Search Committee, placing those who have helped lead UJC to the brink in a position to help select a CEO who will have to bring a fresh face, fresh ideas and a clear understanding of the obstacles these people have placed in his/her path, is like placing the foxes in a position to guard the henhouse.

At first blush, a strong Committee -- the Large City Federation leaders are strong and knowledgeable as are, certainly, Shoshana, Julie, Diane Seder, Jerry Yanowitz, Lori Klinghoffer and David Fisher; Jacksonville's Steve Silverman can be. When they take this responsibility seriously, they can offset what will surely be an attempt by the UJC "insiders" to manipulate the Search process as they have all others. The Committee members cannot permit, as was the case when Howard Rieger was selected, the UJC Co-Chairs to be an exclusive "screening subcommittee" in the claimed "interests of confidentiality." The Search Committee must insist on being fully engaged from the start -- if some potential candidates choose not to participate for fear that they will be prematurely "outed," so be it.

Then, I looked deeper at the Committee make-up. As UJC is owned by its federations, why were great federations like Palm Beach, Detroit, Los Angeles, St. Louis, Milwaukee, Houston, Dallas, Miami, Rochester, NY, San Diego, among others, excluded -- so that the UJC claque could be included or for some other reason? Leaders of a number of these federations told me they asked to be included -- they were, to a person ignored; and they should not have needed to ask. Why the exclusions: to allow UJC's CEO and Board Chair what they cynically perceive to be the easier manipulation of the professional future of UJC? It would be an act of great magnanimity and generosity if all of these UJC insiders would resign before this Search process begins so that federation leaders from these committed communities could be appointed in their place. Do I expect this to happen? Not a chance.