Wednesday, March 23, 2011


Well, no sooner do I Post The Network than the leaders of the Network receive a "concerned" Memo from JFNA's twosome at the top, Jerry and Kathy, promising big changes (maybe) and a study by a noted North Carolina Professor(!). Yes, like the Alliance (whose member agencies appear to be promised more dollars through allocations from the Global Planning Table even as those national agencies which serve the federations' needs overseas were excluded from consideration in JFNA's own surveys), the Network will somehow be promised that the 400 communities which are its membership will have JFNA's real attention.

You think that the wonderful donors and leaders in the Network haven't learned by now that they have been abandoned by a JFNA interested in the funds they raise solely for purposes of JFNA's budgetary support? If not, certainly yesterday's Manning/Silverman Memo -- both paternalistic and controlling, as is this leadership's bent -- was a reminder to the Network of all that is wrong in the Network/JFNA "relationship." The Memo suggests that every issue plaguing the "relationship" is the fault of the Network, none can be attributed to JFNA's abandonment of the Network through the assignment of a senior JFNA professional with no apparent interest in the Network on a part-time basis while that professional once again enters the "new ONAD" process more or less full-time.

Now JFNA will hire, with no consultation with the Network, a University of North Carolina(!!) professor (of Maternal and Child Health) to study the Network (probably at the Network's cost). "Until then," the JFNA Memo states, "the Network campaign efforts and community support will continue under the able supervision of our professional financial resource development department...We will be in contact with you during the review process to get your input..." but the ultimate determination of the Network's fate, will be in the hands of the JFNA Executive Committee. OMG!!

It's hard to believe, isn't it, that Network leaders might be up in arms? Maybe there is comfort in knowing that every one at JFNA is likewise treated. "Go along to get along or else" -- JFNA's tag line.




Anonymous said...

Does the CEO of JFNA have an evaluation based on performance expectations and benchmarks?

Anonymous said...

I am reminded of the CEO who asked if he could get a satisfactory review upon which the president said, "You worked here for the past year, you no longer work here, I am satisfied."

Usedtobeimportant said...

Once upon a time, long ago and far, far away, a group of UJA leaders worked very hard to "keep" the network under UJA management in the "Partnership" that preceded the creation of United Jewsih Catastrophes, er sorry, Communities. A group of CJF leaders fought very hard to get both the Network and Young Leadership (where'd that go) under the "Federations'" management as opposed to the "Campaign's (those were the code words for CJF and UJA as they fought, beneath the nice veneer of the "Partnership" for who'd do what. But the writing was on the wall and it had been ever since the "study" undertaken by the Large City 18 placed the system down the road that, now, some 16 years later, sees the Network's future linked to however a UNC Professor, who likely hasn't any idea of what the Network has accomplished, explains it to JFNA and the wondrous, former Young Leadership Council rendered into buzzwords in Vegas showrooms. There was a brief shining moment when UJA and the Federations spoke with one voice. It was the voice of collective responsibility for taking care of Jewish needs at home and abroad. It was just too simple a concept to last. They had to make it complicated.

Anonymous said...

Vey is mir, let's not over mythologize our history. There were by the 90's as many problems in the UJA-Federation-CJF structures as there were good things that still worked. However the great merger - facilitated of course by "expert" (read high price tag)consultants, with a chair or two with contempt for all parties and the supporting arrogance of more thn one large city executive- did nothing to address the burning on the ground issues. It dealt with the abstractions of what a trade organization versus a leadership organization looked liked and other earth shaking fun matters. One national agency can still work if we have the humility to remind ourselves that services and programs are provided by on the ground agencies, locally and globally. and that fundraising takes place in communities with the active hands on participation and leadership of volunteer leaders. The obvious implication in these assumptions is that our national entity should be staffed and led by people who know something (anything?) about the business they aspire to lead.