It never stops. Having come to the realization that with close to 25% of the federations unwilling or unable to pay 2010 Dues, a percentage that grows and grows, UJC will be left with a gap between Budget and income that cannot be bridged, these are the most desperate of times for a leadership of UJC that has no Plan A, let alone a Plan B. Given that a lack of communication creates a perfect Petri dish for the development of rumors, here's the latest...
Let me be accurate, there was/is a Plan A. It is still embodied in a Draft Dues Proposal that was taken off the table before the planned consideration by the Executive Committee in April -- removed from the table because the Proposal, though ill-conceived from the outset, was conditioned upon prior discussion and approval by JAFI and JDC. As readers of this Blog or, more important,in the press, know, UJC's leaders never to this day have sought such a meeting with the leadership of either of the organizations called "partners," but not treated as such. In Rieger's last communication on the subject, in fact, he ended by essentially telling the Joint and JAFI "call us, we won't call you." And this is the real travesty -- had UJC lifted up the phone and asked for a meeting with JAFI/JDC before it released the Dues Proposal, or if it had done so over the past five weeks since the release of the Dues Proposal, it is conceivable that an agreement could have been reached that would have benefitted UJC, JAFI and JDC. But UJC's leaders couldn't bring themselves to make that call.
So, why write about this today? Because, given the UJC Budget/income gap, growing every day, the only source for bridging it is the overseas allocation. (It is a terrible truism that as federations have used the overseas allocation to, e.g., pay UJC Dues and, certainly, their own budgets and local allocations, now it is their parent organization that senses it must do so. (The difference, however, is that federationbs can do so, UJC cannot because the funds sent to it have been designated for Israel and overseas allocations.)
Given the lack of leadership, the lack of advocacy, the lack of relevancy, UJC is on the verge of collapse, and the only...only...way it can survive, if that's the word for it, is to gain approval from the federations that provide the allocations for JDC and JAFI to siphon more dollars from those organizations for UJC's overhead with no benefit to JAFI/JDC. . (When JDC leadership saw UJC's hand extended toward the "cookie jar" and called that leadership on it, the hue and cry not only from UJC "leaders" but from some federation CEO's was a shrei gevalt but no argument on the facts.) How could UJC Budget without consideration of the income sources...without consideration of the revenue sources to support the Budget, you might ask? Because we allow them to.
So, friends, while I hope I am totally off base, I am convinced that the absolute precondition of April -- that JDC and JAFI agree -- implicit in the Draft Dues Proposal will be forgotten in June, set aside and someone or ones will propose the "off the top" methodology.
If this Proposal is revived, you will hear it argued that there is "no choice" (even though the staff and Treasurer had come forward with a Budget that had $2 million in additional cuts somehow rejected unilaterally by the lame duck CEO) if UJC is to survive or it will be argued that "we have to do it to attract a top-flight 'out of the box' new CEO" or that "we can't put UJC's 'new leadership' in a circumstance where they haven't got a chance," and, of course, ein breira -- all arguments du jour without reference to JAFI, JDC, the donors or the federations. Further, the threshold premise of this "off the top" Dues Proposal -- federations' commitment to restore to the core allocations in like or greater amount than the Dues reduction from that core allocation -- will be "lost in translation," moving from a mandatory component of the Proposal to a "strong recommendation" without force or sanction...and with no prior discussion with the Joint or Agency.
Out of all of this, should the Dues Proposal be adopted, the patient may be saved, but surely the system that so many of us have built will be destroyed. Ignored as always will be an astounding chain of changes -- Missions moved to Israel, back to New York; defenestrate Development, enhance Development; place the Campaign under Consulting Services, place Consulting Services under the campaign; Blue Knot is our gold standard program, Blue Knot is gone; NextGen is our highest priority, NextGen is ignored; and on and on the dervish whirls. So, let's "rescue" this thing without regard for the consequences or the implications?
Perhaps, if this is to be the end product of this leadership, a new national system will emerge from the ashes of the old. One that is truly of and by the federations, donors, JDC and JAFI. That is truly the only hope, after all -- a true "coalition of the willing."