Another meeting -- this one in Dallas -- with a new set of lay and professional leaders. But little seems to have changed...and, yet, so much has.
Let's get caught up: In advance of the meetings (barely) which began last night, JFNA (and this leadership is now using the previously proscribed initials) distributed brief papers on the "five areas of focus" for discussion today. Some are terribly brief, but in them are the kernels of ideas of a meaningful organization Those dealing with the "power of the collective" reduce the critical concept to minimal programs (a "Survivors Campaign," "convening by region"?); but, focusing on real programs to attempt to attract the next generation is a national organization trying to be just that. The most telling paper, with some meat on the bones, is that dedicated to "Israel and Overseas Advocacy and Engagement" -- it is about time. I am excited by the possibilities.
Multiple informants from the scene have advised that the meetings began with an incredible academic speech on philanthropy by one with no connection to or apparent understanding of the federation system. I am told that many walked out in disgust, others sat in amazement. Then a Panel on which sat a Large City Federation Exec who joined the system but weeks ago but still has sufficient experience in those few weeks to criticize and debase the "product" offering succor to those in the audience who have given up on the federation concept. How sad.
Then, there are those Committee, Work Group, Task Force meetings. We'll report on the Budget and Finance Committee "revelations" in the days ahead.