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.