Saturday, October 23, 2010


The JTA, last month, led off its Daily Briefing with "As recession drags on, middle class families forced to Jewish food banks." But...never mind:

Shortly before he left the New York UJA-Federation for the greener pastures of JFNA senior professional leadership, Paul Kane added a Blog Post for JTA titled "The Gift of a Crisis." I think that Paul's thesis was this: "...the economic downturn...the economic truly a gift to federations..." because " (will) change the way we ask members of our communities to partner with us."

So, let me get this straight -- the recession that has so damaged every one of our communities, that continues to impact on the daily lives of hundreds of thousands of Jews across the Continent, across the Jewish world, is really, if you look at it with this kind of cock-eyed optimism, "a gift." We will now be driven to nurture those who have so much less. Wow -- guess that Palm Beach and Boston and Minneapolis were twice-blessed: they had Madoff and the recession!! What nurturing must be going on in those communities!!

Of course, it helps to be in NYC. Where else could a federation hire "...eighteen PROs (those are "Principal Relationship Officers," got it?) working with 250 major donors" in the midst of the recession.

Now, we are in the third year, at least, of an economic catastrophe -- I guess we could call it "the gift that keeps on giving." Just think what "gifts" a Depression might bring.

As I wrote above -- Yikes!!!!



paul jeser said...

If the goal is to get these donors to give more to the Fed then I think it will be an unsuccessful effort.

If the goal is to get these donors to give more to the total Jewish/Israel community then I think this effort could be a major step forward in moving the Federation away from being a 'fundraising-for-itself' institution to one that will serve as a resource for donors and all agencies/institutions in working towards maximizing giving.

This possibility reinforces my 'vision' which Richard so kindly posted on his blog July 12th

Anonymous said...

Paul Kane may have inartfully paraphrased a noted Chicagoan on the opportunities posed by crisis. However, UJA Federation's efforts on behalf of Jews hurt by the recession was no fundraising gimmick. As It was told to me the Federation dug deep in its pockets to pay for a massive programmatic mobilization of agencies and synagogues giving concrete hope and support to thousands. That Paul's staff was on the ball in getting the message out to donors was just a smart added value. But don't trust me -- just call up a NY friend or two and ask them the story.

Anonymous said...

As Tevye might have said, Dear G-d if this is the "gift that keeps on giving" please don't send us any more presents.

Anonymous said...

Paul's comments are absolutely on target. As a professional fund raiser for over 25 years, I have seen Jews rally when there is a crisis and back off when "things are going well". Their attitude is almost one of "you don't need my money now that there is no crisis".