Readers of this Blog are well aware that even though UJC has cut me off the distribution list, I have found the almost weekly Howard's View to be constant source of amusement, bewilderment and a demonstration of not only how out of touch Howard (and, thereby, UJC) is toward the federations but, incredibly to me, out of touch with UJC's own reality. What Rieger has done almost week in and week out, is to create a parallel UJC universe that enables him to paint failure as success, non-programs as programs, disengagement as engagement -- as I wrote, "a constant source of amusement."
He almost outdid himself last week with a View titled Our Impact in Israel. Rieger starts with Operation Promise a Special Campaign effectively rejected by our donors, after a confusing roll out where UJC first called for a prioritized "ask" and then, what the hell, let's go for it all...and raised less than 1/2 the goal. Howard may assert that OP was "interrupted" by the War in Lebanon but the reality was that it was a dead effort by the time the Second Lebanon War began. OP -- an excellent idea so poorly executed it is a tribute to our donors that the federations raised $70 million. It was not campaignus interruptus, it was campaignus terminatus.
And, then, the Israel Emergency Campaign to support the People of Israel during the Second Lebanon War. $360 million was raised by the Federations but UJC was unable to account for the total funds raised -- even though that accounting and setting priorities for the application of funds were its sole functions. It certainly wasn't raising any. IEC Cash flowed so slowly that, at several times during the process, UJC was urged to set up a lay Cash Collections Committee. It committed to do so...and promptly did nothing. Oh, wait, there was another "function" UJC performed in the IEC -- calling the Campaign over even as bombs still fell on Israel. (Howard "forgot" to mention this.)
And, then Operation Case Lead, Israel's attempts to stop the terrorists' attacks from Gaza. "[W]e raised funds..." for Case Lead Howard wrote. It was a $16 million non-Campaign. Chicago committed $1.6 million. While not all of the funds were needed, never has UJC provided any accounting of how much was raised; UJC certainly did none of the raising although it did send a fund raising Mission, to its credit, on which Joe Kanfer and Kathy Manning made special gifts, among others.
At no time did UJC under this leadership deploy its lay leaders and professionals to urge the conversion of the special campaign gifts to OP or the IEC or Case Lead into the Annual Campaign...and few were. Had this tried and true campaign technique, used so effectively by UJA and the federations after past special campaigns, been followed, UJC would have helped the federations build a cushion to ease the pain they...we...are now experiencing as the impacts of the economic catastrophe and Madoff are being felt everywhere. Repeat: UJC did nothing.
As to JAFI and JDC Howard evidences a total rejection of reality. He wrote in part: we have "...to balance our work to address the core needs that JAFI and JDC meet with..." a group of identified social service and civil society programs in Israel that, by the way, others, including JDC already meet. Anyone who reads these Posts with any regularity at all knows of my frustration with UJC's leaders' abject failure and actual refusal to "...address the core needs that JAFI and JDC meet..." at all. What universe are you writing us from, Howard? UJC over the course of your administration has acted to undermine the historic partnership with JAFI and JDC as if this were your goal.
I can't believe this stuff that appears in the weekly View. I am pretty sure that Howard doesn't either. Remember -- black is white and white is black.