Tuesday, June 2, 2009


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."



Anonymous said...

I don’t always agree with your comments on this blog but I have to share my experience because of the “chain of changes” you mentioned. We consistently rely on a few number of professionals at UJC for insight and guidance, without regard for departments or titles. Last week I experienced a tremendous shock when I found out one of these reliable people worked in a department that has been eliminated at UJC. I was passed around from department to department because no one knew how to help me. I finally just gave up out of frustration. Our federation consistently uses this professional for everything because she is knowledgeable and always willing to help get us navigate UJC and beyond. To my dismay, she worked for UJC Direct, the very department you have been discussing (I never made the connection). Why would they cut such a valuable resource for the federations when we need them more than ever in these lean times? By the time they realize they have made a mistake and add to their “chain of changes”, they will have lost a valuable resource and professional. What a shame.

Anonymous said...

Richard, What is this Blue Knot and UJC Direct you keep on mentioning? I've never heard of them.

RWEX said...

Dear "Anonymous,"

"Blue Knot" was -- and I emphasize the past -- UJC's high tech initiative, an attempt to connect the leaders of the high tech industry to community and People through trade show events, internet, Missions, etc. It was begun under other UJC lay and professional leadership. It was killed off by the current leadership.

"UJC Direct" was an important initiative to connect federations and individuals through UJC in immediate response to questions and inquiries. It was receiving and responding to about 3200 contacts per year. It was begun under other UJC lay and professional leadership. It was killed off by the current leadership.

Anonymous said...

A previous anonymous referenced that the federation owners never see a report of "who paid what" to UJC, whether dues,allocations, or both.

Today, you continue the contention that many Federations - perhaps as many as 25% - are not able or willing to pay their 2010 fair share dues.

Is there substantiation to your contention, or is it hearsay? Are there reports that can and should be shared? If there are communities in 'arrears' shouldn't the owners know?

RWEX said...

Dear "Anonymous,"

Yours is a fair and excellent question. At the end of an Executive Committee meeting in April, Joe Kanfer, in a rage, denounced "31 federations" who had advised UJC at that time, that they would not pay all or a part of Fair Share Dues. From copies of corrspondence I have received since that date, it is clear that that number has increased.

Is the data available? Sure.

When I was Financial Relations Chair, I received the information monthly. When I served as UIA Chair, I was denied the information at the express direction of the CEO and Board Chair -- "can't have this information in the hands of one we don't trust." Apparently that lackl of trust extended and extends to the federation owners.

One of the most esteemed of Federation CEO's constantly requested that this information be distributed aqnd made public. UJC's CEO's response -- "I'll get someone working on that" and, then, nothing.

The answers to your questions: this is not "hearsay," and "yes" and "yes"... but, from UJC -- "NO"

Anonymous said...


Could we ever see a letter like this from UJC?