Saturday, February 12, 2011


Assume you reside in Federation "A" and sit on its Board. Your Federation is doing some cutting edge programming, in particular for emerging leaders and the young. But you are raising less and less money, year by year. You and your fellow leaders have insisted that Federation cut its Budget. You have replaced your CEO with a younger professional leader from outside the federation system. Your overseas allocations have been cut by almost 50% in a decade. Your Federation Budget as a percentage of campaign has risen to 21% while your CEO is one of the 5 highest paid in our system. Would you sit in silence at your Federation Board meetings or would you speak out in protest?

Sound familiar? It should. We have an organization at 25 Broadway, New York, New York, that collects our money and sends it on. It raises almost (I give the CEO credit for his solicitation efforts) no money. It collected about $30 million in Dues in 2010 out of what appears to be $160 (+/-) million sent by the federations. JFNA's percentage of Dues culled out of its receipts -- 21%...that's 21%. So, for every dollar your federation sends to JFNA, it keeps 21 cents. (In its own calculations, JFNA tells the IRS and Guidestar that it is a cash machine, taking credit for the $800 million raised in the campaigns if your communities and mine. Probably a stretch.) And what does JFNA use those funds for? Check it out.

And, few if any on the JFNA Board are paying attention, let alone care. I submit that your federation would not tolerate a 21% overhead. Not for a minute. But add JFNA's 21% overhead to your federation's overhead -- the result is not a good thing -- unless one can rationalize that you are getting 21 cents of service and program for each dollar you send to 25 Broadway.


This Post was inspired by a Reader's e-mail.


Anonymous said...


I highly resent your use of the term JayEffEnAy to characterize JFNA. Fortunately, my resentment ends when my laughter subsides and I am able to pick myself off the floor and catch my breath again.

You do not need to be Jewish to love Levy’s Real Jewish Rye, and you do not need to be from Brooklyn or visit the Urban Dictionary to know what JayEffEnAy means.

Effen is the euphemistic substitute or politically correct way of using the “f” word.

For those of you who have never visited in Canarsie – that’s the Jerusalem of Brooklyn – or who never had an egg cream, or don’t even know what U-Bet’s is, allow me to give you some proper useage examples:

The effen adjective:

"That effen movie was effen long"

"You little effen biotch/ bastard!"

"I hate this effen burger!"

So, Mr. effen blogger, you are effen hilarious and they indeed are one effen jayeffenay

paul jeser said...

A g'zillion years ago, during the time that some in the community were trying to hurt the JNF, one of the issues was JNF's overhead (which I think was around 20-25% at the time).

I do not remember what started the pre-email dialogue/correspondence between Brian Lurie and me, but, as JNF's national campaign director I was trying to point out that some day the FED/UJA system would pay the piper for what I thought was unethical double-booking reporting of income by the UJA z"l/Fed system.

The Feds reported overhead, and then out of the funds sent to UJA z"l, the UJA also had overhead - but both, the FEDS and UJA reported basically the same income (most, if not all UJA income came through the FEDS).

So, if the FEDS had 15% expense and then you honestly added the UJA expense, the total, for sure, was as great, if not more so, than the JNF's overhead.

The 2nd issue that will haunt the UJA/FED someday is when the Chronicle of Philanthropy reports income that is really double-booking. They show income from the leading FEDS, then income from the UJA (JFNA) which is basically the same income.