Friday, April 24, 2009


For this UJC fiscal year, 2009, most federations voted to support a Budget for UJC of $37 million. I assume that those federations expected to get something...anything...from UJC during this fiscal year. Well, beyond Washington, we haven't -- unless you can think of something that I've missed. We now see UJC in total chaos -- and, trust me, we could have paid a lot less and obtained the same results. On May 15, 2008, UJC, over the signatures of two of its most senior professional leaders, tried -- tried very, very hard, in fact --to explain UJC's Budget focus for 2008-2009. They wrote, among other things:

"The Budget aligns UJC operations with its strategic goals: resource development of federations, convening mega-donors and growing our donor base, developing federation human resources..., building federation strategic branding, e-philanthropy, marketing and communications technologies, advocacy for the federation system...all within a framework of greater fiscal prudence."

You really have to love these folks. Does any of this sound familiar? Of course, it's exactly...exactly...what KanferRieger are saying today. And what has UJC accomplished since these words were written in these areas of "alignment" of "...UJC operations with its strategic goals" one year ago? Well, let's take a little "environmental scan:"

1. "Financial resource development of federations." The National Chairman resigned, UJC was so late to acknowledge the economic disaster that was impacting federations that it proved to be truly irrelevant and, now, financial resource development of federations has become the focus of the 2010 Budget. In other words...nothing.

2. "Convening mega-donors." An extremely high priority. Two of our federations' most significant donors accepted the Co-Chair positions for this effort recruited by their CEOs in mid-2008. UJC's CEO was to staff the effort. Then...nothing happened. Well, actually, something did happen...the mega-donor who served as National Campaign Chair resigned in frustration with KanferRieger; the mega-donor who Chaired the Center for Jewish Philanthropy resigned out of frustration with Kanfer. This was the path of progress of this priority. In other words...worse than nothing.

3. "Growing our donor base." A critical priority. A constant reference point for KanferRieger. And given this priority what happened? In the senior Resource Development professional's "plan" distributed on erev-FLI, not even mentioned. In other words...nothing.

4. "Developing federation human resources." As you might have anticipated, both of UJC's Senior Professionals with responsibility in this area...gone. UJC has decided essentially to piggy-back on the work of the Mandel Foundation, even as this remains among the highest of UJC priorities. In other words, for UJC...nothing.

5. "Building federation strategic branding." Here UJC excelled -- in spending money for consultants. So far best I can tell there is a new "brand" -- it's either "UJC:the Federations of North America" or "The Federations of North America" or "Federations of North America." Or maybe it'll be something else. UJC has budgeted $1,250,000 for this effort in FY 2010 at a time of incredible Budget pressure. In other expensive nothing.

6. "e-philanthropy." You have to be joking. This is, as it should be, a major priority. As we have pointed out before, a mega-donor approached UJC with his ideas on pursuing e-philanthropy at UJC at his expense and UJC professionals walked him right out the door. Then this was a major priority for FY 2009. And, now it is again for 2010, even more so. In other words...nothing.

As I have written before, UJC today, yesterday and, unless the federations impose change, tomorrow, will be, like the Seinfeld show, about nothing. The current UJC leadership believes it can just keep trotting out the same goals, the same rhetoric with the same results -- robotic Budget approval by the federations. When federations push back, UJC has no response today other than to attack those pushing back. And, now, with no alternative even considered to the single Dues Proposal, no source of revenue for Budget support. Expect nothing; get nothing.


Shabbat shalom.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Here's what JTS has already done and it aint enough. If only the Federations would force UJC to do the same....