Thursday, June 4, 2009


The UJC Network of non-federated communities has continued to be an heroic outpost of committed lay leaders whose love of People and our work, with professional support, since formed by UJA, has raised well over $100 million. This has been accomplished in hundreds of outposts where the contact between national organization and a determined laity has raised as much as $12 million dollars at its height to close to $8 million in 2008. We already noted in a prior Post that its dedicated Executive of many years was one of the women terminated among the 31 professionals and staff in May. The Network's fund-raising extends from Alaska to Puerto Rico and every place in between -- but what UJC has done to the Network is a real shanda.

Some perspective: New York has, understandably, the largest Annual Campaign in North America and, consequently, the largest Dues -- some $6 million plus; my federation, with the second largest Campaign -- $80 million -- bears Dues in excess of $3.4 million. To my knowledge, the next largest Dues amount is charged to Los Angeles which has determined, as of the date of this Post, to pay a maximum of $1 million. Its campaign is around $40 million. Bear these Dues amounts in mind...because the Network, with 55,000 Jews raising about $8 million will be charged $2.4 million as "Dues" (up from $2.1 million). The Network, with 55,000 Jews and a Campaign of approximately $8 million will pay the third highest Dues amount of any Federation in North America.

But that's not all. For years the Network has been denied access to the Budget information as to what overhead was being charged to the "Network Campaign." Its professionals did not know it; its lay leaders' requests for this information were denied them. They knew their overhead when UJA created the Network and presumed the overhead charge continued at about 8% within UJC. They did not know that the funds they raised were treated by this lay and professional leadership as a Bank from which UJC could withdraw funds at its whim to the extent of 30% -- with no accountability to the lay leadership that were raising these precious dollars and assuming that 90% and more were being transmitted to JDC and JAFI.

The Network has had no representation on the UJC Budget Committee (but I challenge anyone to find the specifics of the charge to the Network in the UJC Budget Book). It has a non-voting representative on the Executive Committee. It's Executive was fired without any consultation with the Network's Co-Chairs. UJC has merely assumed that it could raid the Network's coffers in perpetuity with zero accountability.

I know many of the Network's lay leaders. We share a passion for Jewish continuity and for the integrity of our communities' instrumentality. Shanda is not a strong enough word for what has occurred here...but, it will do. No doubt UJC's leaders will come a'running to the Network leaders with a plea -- "we didn't know about this" (although Kathy Manning was the Budget Chair for three of the years this shanda was being perpetrated and her successor served as Budget Chair the past three years. If either or both claim they "knew nothing" what does that say about them as the stewards of our precious dollars?), "give us a year to work this out," "trust us, we're 'new' leadership and we'll make it all better." But, because the Network is not a Federation, it doesn't appear that its leaders can be threatened, as Los Angeles' and others (Detroit, Palm Beach, South Palm Beach, etc., etc.) with loss of Lion of Judah, Young Leadership Cabinet, etc.

No doubt UJC's apologists will explain this abuse away...if they can. I can picture every lay and professional leader disclaiming any knowledge that this was happening. It's Shandagate after all.

Do you think that this abuse of power, this budgeting in the shadows, will be a topic of discussion at the UJC Board meeting on Monday...led by the Treasure and, now, Chair of the Executive nominee or by the Chair of the Executive, past Treasurer and, now, Chair of the Board nominee? If I were a betting man....

This place needs a real power wash.


No comments: