The leaders of the JDC sent the following letter (emphasis added) to UJC today. It is a particularly articulate and well-reasoned analysis of the failed logic underlying UJC's desperate attempts to save itself from itself. This letter is not from leaders outside of the federation system but leaders within it who care about it as deeply as any of us.
"TO: JOSEPH KANFER
FROM: IRVING A. SMOKLER
CC: FEDERATION PRESIDENTS AND EXECUTIVES
JDC BOARD OF DIRECTORS
RE: UJC DUES ISSUE
DATE: APRIL 2, 2009
JDC has been informed that at a meeting last week of a special UJC dues subcommittee, a proposal was passed and recommended for adoption on April 6, 2009 to the UJC Budget Committee and Executive Committee.
While we have asked for a written document detailing this proposal, we have not yet seen anything. We believe, based on conversations with Howard Rieger and Joe Kanfer, that the proposal is as follows:
1. The first part of the proposal is to cut the UJC budget from $37.5 million to $30 million and allow Federations to keep these savings.
2. Out of the $30 million UJC budget, UJC will ask the Federations to only pay $22.5 million as dues.
3. UJC would ask the Federations to send this second $7.5 million to UJC designated for overseas activities of JDC and JAFI. Regardless of whether Federations comply or not, UJC would take $7.5 million of designated overseas funds and use them for its own corporate purposes.
We were told that there is disagreement to this proposal among the Large City Federations.
JDC wishes to express its extreme unhappiness and disappointment with this proposal. How will federations explain to donors that funds allocated for overseas needs -- such as feeding the hungry or aliyah to Israel -- are now used to balance the budget of the National Agency? We believe the above proposal, if correct, will challenge the efforts of UJC to maintain a reputation for transparency and accountability.
As always, we support the need for a central address and a strong national organization. We also realize that the invasion of overseas funds for organizational purposes may not occur should the shortfall be "made whole" by federations. However, balancing an administrative budget with dollars for needy overseas Jews seems to us both wrong and inappropriate.
We look forward to your comments."
I have written of the UJC "Set-Up" so transparent and predictable in a prior Post. What JDC's leaders have learned only confirms the "process" that UJC has now put in place without regard for its impacts. It's UJC's leaders pushing women, the elderly and children aside in their rush to the lifeboats.
There are well-meaning Federation leaders who have put the "off the top" proposal on the table. Hopefully they will examine the logic of JDC's argument and understand that "saving UJC" cannot take precedence over our fiduciary responsibilities to our donors and to those of our People most in need.