Sunday, November 22, 2009


The UJA-Federation of New York announced that its October 2009 Greenberg Event was the most successful fund-raising event in its history raising $43 million in pledges. And, don't take this the wrong way, that is a major achievement worthy of accolades under any circumstance -- but, especially this year. However, the $43 million in pledges was identical to the mount announced last year -- no more, no less.

Whether it is fund raising achievement or attendance at GA's, or at federation events, we are a People who seem taken with hyperbole. This caused me to think back to a different time. Before his tragic and sudden death, our incredible Chicago Campaign Director, Joel Shinsky, z'l, and I would drive into downtown Chicago together every day. I used to get the monthly UJA city-by-city campaign data. One Large City federation used to amaze me with their monthly announcements of card-by-card increases -- 18%-20% weren't unusual. I used to harass Joel -- "How could _________ be doing so well and we are showing a paltry 8% increase?" Between puffs on his ever-present cigarette, Joel would dismiss me with a "Wait until the end of the year." "But," I would brilliantly rejoin. "Just wait," Joel would say, biting into his morning doughnut. And, the year-end would come, Chicago would be up 8% and __________ would announce a flat campaign (and later we would learn that "flat" meant "down"). "Any questions?" Joel would ask me. "No," I would whisper back.

What does all of this suggest? To me, transparency, truth-telling. Is there a manual some where that dictates that our system must hide or embellish the facts? I doubt it, but some continue to behave that way. Remember "the truth will set you free."



Anonymous said...

Is there a competition or conflict between the two most sophisticated and successful Federations in the country that we, your readers, don't know about? The more interesting comment (point on transparency well taken however) would be as to what makes NY and Chicago the flagship organizations that they are?

RWEX said...

Dear Anon,

Nah -- if there is "competition" between Chicago and NY UJA-Fed, it is friendly and in the interests of Community and People. The dialogue I referenced between Joel Shinsky, z'l, and myself was with regard to another federation entirely, not New York.