Last week I printed a friend's suggestion that UJC close down until Silverman arrives to preclude the organization from doing more harm in the interim. I thought it was suggested as sort of a joke. Then, voila, UJC proved my friend prescient. Some background?
Over 18 months, we have reported on UJC's CEO's and Board Chairs "serial asks" for funding for one pet project after another. You recall -- the IAI (and when the federations failed to respond, JCPA was told to raise the funds itself); Hurricane Ike (and when the federations failed to respond, Houston was left holding the bag for the collective system); the Georgia-Russia War (and when the federations failed to respond...nothing); the Gaza War (and when most federations failed to respond...nothing); $800,000 for the "relocation" to Monsey (and, when only 59 federations responded, a "Confidential" memo cynically disclosing results to encourage more funding); a $5,000,000 ask to fund the Ethiopian National Project (and, when the federations failed to respond in significant ways...well, that's today's primer on the new, new, new UJC).
In the recommendations after ONAD's Year 2, federations were asked to maintain their core allocations and allocate an additional 5% to the ENP. Few did-- Chicago and Houston for two -- and UJC, as was its way even then, did no advocacy and no follow-up. Flash forward to 2009. Kathy Manning acting as UJC's mediator was to mediate, among other things with JAFI/JDC, the amount of core allocation to be distributed to the ENP. In the midst of that "mediation," Rieger, with no authorization to do so, sent a passionate appeal to the federations for $5 million....that's $5,000,000. Aside from thereby disqualifying UJC as the "honest broker" in the mediation, it was as if Rieger picked the number out of the air. No surprise, though there was no accounting of the amount raised, federation response was minimal -- after all KanferRieger had cried "wolf" so often about so much as to lack any credibility.
Then, as reported in an earlier Post, Manning, Kanfer, Rieger and Shep Remis sent a Memo to the federations seeking ENP funding -- for $3.7 million. (that's $3.7 million down from $5 million...how, why? Never explained.) Then, this "ask" was processed with UJC's Executive Committee -- an "Urgent Appeal for Ethiopian National Project" -- and the funds are needed within 6 weeks. In a turnabout -- for them -- UJC has convened a conference call this week to urge federation support of this "as" (as opposed to any other).
Look, no one can deprecate the ENP need. Yet, this entire "process" was undertaken without any...any...consultation with the ENP funding partners, the Jewish Agency and Joint. Part of KanferRieger's "Four Nos" -- "no" consultation, "no" discussion, "no" prioritization, "no" thought. No, no, no...and...no. Just throw the "asks" out there. What will be the result -- same as with all the others? Raise the ENP expectations without basis. Confuse the federations which receive this appeal with the following statement: "UJC Center for Jewish Philanthropies Chair Toni Young (who) reminded the (Executive) Committee that this is 'a voluntary effort and an opportunity to all these communities who wish to be a part of it.'"
The two partners for which there has never...never...been an "ask," JDC and JAFI, are the two partners who have suffered financially under the lack of UJC leadership the most. And I use the phrase "UJC leadership" loosely, to say the least. This latest action is beneath contempt. It is, sadly, the "new, new, new UJC" at work.