~ In the category of unbelievable but true --At its Executive Committee meeting this week, JFNA "leaders" indicated that $30.3 million in Dues just ain't gonna be enough for 2011-2012, and as they anticipate some non-payment of Dues as well, they plan to engage in direct fund raising...get it, they think they will be able to reach out to donors directly (one might call that competitive FRD might one, with the very federations that provide the $30.3 million?). My suggestion, a federation-driven Owners Planning Table to control all funds and JFNA's FRD>
~ Some federations never cease to amaze. One of our largest has determined that it won't support an annual and historic grant to the community's Annual Israel Festival. That would have been $20,000. While the event has annually drawn about 10,000 people, the federation called it a "local event" in ending its annual support.Yet that same community can afford a $100,000 reward for the Next Great Big Jewish Idea. Priorities, values? As of right now, the Israel Festival has been canceled.
~ On April 11 I attended a beautiful Memorial Service in New York City honoring the life and works of Yitzchak Shavit, z'l. Each speaker's memory was beautifully done and fully evocative of Itzik's life of commitment and compassion. So many lay leaders were present to remember Itzik -- old friends and partners; even more so, hundreds of the professionals who worked side-by-side with that great and inspiring leader were there. It was so wonderful to see so many of them once again. So many wonderful memories for all of us. Too bad that JFNA's lay leaders couldn't find the time to be there.
~ At that epic JFNA Executive Committee meeting on April 13, where the federation owners stood up and asserted themselves, Michael Lebovitz, the Chattanooga leader who has quietly served as National Philanthropic Resources Chair these past couple of years, announced that TribeFest was such a success that TribeFest II is already being planned. Wow, with even more advance planning than the original, certainly JFNA can lose far more than $250,000 (before including staff overhead or travel) on an event that was at its essence but a further expensive example of JFNA's total self-absorption.