Monday, May 9, 2011


~ Is there a major federation out there that is now "counting" funds raised by Birthright for Birthright within its federation geographic limits as part of its Annual Campaign statistics? And does the amount approach or exceed $2 million? Just how does that work? The federation didn't raise the money; the federation didn't allocate the money; the federation just counts the money as if it did both? Do lay leaders who actually sacrifice to make their pledges to the federation actually believe this legerdemain? I'm thinking: isn't this exactly what JFNA does? In both instances, taking credit for the money is a lot easier than raising it, isn't it?

~ I don't wish to brag or anything, but, why not? I read the JFNA 2010 Annual Report (always a hyperbolic laugh riot) and realized, once again, the incredible contribution my federation, Chicago, has played in framing so many of the very few JFNA Programs for which that organization claims credit: the National Jewish Federation Bond Program, the Secure Community Network (patterned after a Chicago initiative), the Israel Action Network to fight BDS, among others. It makes one scratch one's head and ask "why" Chicago lay and/or professional leaders were excluded from the "small internal committee" that framed the fiasco that is the Global Planning Table "process" (while representatives of communities which have objected to JFNA Dues were). Then again...

~ You aren't supposed to know this -- JFNA's "leaders" have disclosed to the Budget & Finance Committee, among other things, the following unfavorable variances to Budget projected through the end of the Fiscal Year: a $182,000 over-expenditure in travel, a $253,000 shortfall from the New Orleans GA, another $275,000 overage from the Lion of Judah Conference, and, of course, a $253,000 loss on the historic TribeFest -- all of this in addition to Dues shortfalls estimated at close to another quarter of a million dollars. But, fear not, for the Budget also included a $400,000 "Contingency" (one insider told me that JFNA "...has no Budget reserve" -- OK, what's this $400,000 [that will increase to $600,000 next year?]) Or, fear....the non-payment of Dues keeps increasing -- an accrued $465,000 and another $489,000 in 2010-2011 -- that's close to $1,000,000 in unpaid Dues. And, what's the nonpayment estimated for 2011-2012? Another $471,000. And what are JFNA's "leaders" doing about all of this? JFNA promises to raise money independently to support its Budget in 2011-2012 in violation of every principle of a funded membership organzation. Oh, and all of this is allegedly "confidential." Crazy.

~ Not so crazy. JFNA's few "leaders," in a desperate attempt to keep the GPT alive in some form, have reached out to a few lay persons in communities which have objected to the Table as designed, seeking their support, arguing "save us from ourselves," or similar. They have found a few willing, perhaps with reluctance, perhaps not, to support "compromise," apparently willing to put their "future" in leadership of JFNA above not just principle but their communities' historic commitment to collective responsibility and the timeless principles upon which our system has been built. Sh'lom bayit trumps principle and our communal values? Funny, in a way -- these communal leaders are being influenced by those who never understood that responsibility or those principles -- and sad.


1 comment:

joebrown42 said...

re budget.
I was taught by a former Federation employee that the worst thing a non-profit organization can do is play around with numbers.
Especially play around in the form of running over budget (i.e. spending more than you actually have in the back, in the form of spending according to projected income/fundraising).
Oh, yuck.

If my organization had done that, we would not have received funds from JFNA...