Monday, January 10, 2011


No doubt to some the fact that cash allocations to JAFI's core budget at calendar year-end 2010 went up to $104.5 million from $103 million at the end of 2009 will be "celebrated" as some kind of triumph. These optimists (there were other descriptive terms I could have chosen) would rather not reflect on the real tragedy in these numbers -- the tragedy that is represented by the drop in core allocations to JAFI (and a parallel drop in core distributions to JDC) have fallen by 44% -- by <$81,000,000> to JAFI alone -- in the decade that those allocations have been under the stewardship of the JFNA.

You will read that there is something positive to be found in a 1.1%...that's 1.1% my friends...increase in aggregate allocations to core in 2010. Weigh that against the 44% collapse in allocations since JFNA was inaugurated -- 11 years without advocacy...11 years of abdication of fiduciary responsibility. So, is a 1.1% increase a great result? Rhetorical question.

You will hear that people like me ignore the amounts of supplemental funding to JAFI and the Joint over and above core. Hardly. But those same folks who make that argument ignore that the "rules" -- never a matter of persuasion by JFNA -- were always that supplemental funding was to be available to federations which maintained or increased their core allocations. It was JFNA's responsibility to assert the rules that the federations themselves created.

Then you will hear -- because we have heard it for years -- that people like me ignore the $410 million raised in the Israel Emergency Campaign back then. Yes, that would be true -- because the funds raised in those emergency campaigns were passed directly through to the beneficiaries -- victims of terror and war and fire -- without any overhead or core funding. That's what people like them ignore -- just as they choose to ignore the reality that there has yet to be a full accounting of just where tghe federations sent the $410 million raised. Does JFNA even know?

You are also going to now hear that there has been an epiphany at JFNA -- that its leaders suddenly recognize their responsibility to JAFI, JDC and ORT -- and that responsibility, they'll tell you, is reflected in the recent agreement among JFNA/JAFI/JDC where there is a tri-party commitment to broad-based advocacy and increased allocations. When you hear that, and you will, ask the simple question: what's the plan? Who will lead it? When will it be started...and where? What are you waiting for?

There are those who have suggestd to me that at the onset of the current regime, there was a commitment to drive advocacy forward, a recognition that JFNA had dropped the ball. Those who who have told me that also believe that the Board Chair was dissuaded by a few Federation CEOs and abandoned the idea...for a year. If true, face the fact that those who may have "warned" JFNA to abstain from advocacy may be from communities that support core and therefore believe that everyone does, the facts notwithstanding.

The Cash situation is beyond a crisis; a function of the crisis in allocations. Only ostriches keep their heads in the sand, but even ostriches raise their heads from time to time.


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