Friday, December 30, 2011


Back in the shadows of history -- at JFNA that means a year ago -- JFNA demanded an agreement among itself, JAFI and JDC. Among the matters agreed to in November 2010 was the following: JFNA will work with Federations in an effort to increase overseas allocations to support the important work of JAFI and JDC. An allocations floor was to be created -- a "communal norm" -- and "Federations with chronic underperformance will risk losing JFNA membership and its attendant benefits." This was entirely JFNA's language submitted to the Agency and Joint; but, they didn't mean it.

Then, only months later, without further consultation with JAFI or JDC, this entire construct was lost; the Agreement breached by JFNA which had dictated its terms. In the overarching complexity of the Global Planning Table structure, major federations demanded that federation service on the GPT be linked to an overseas funding minimum (the "Second Membership Criterion"), thusly: All federations that meet the criteria for membership in JFNA will be invited to nominate representatives to sit on the Priority Area Commissions and the Voluntary Projects Commission. (But) [t]o have a seat on the Global Planning Table Committee (where funding recommendations will be discussed) and the Executive Steering Committee (where funding recommendations will be made), Federations will need to meet a higher threshold, representing a strong, demonstrated commitment to funding collective work (but not necessarily the core, collective work of the Jewish Agency or Joint). A still higher funding threshold is required to be on the Partnership Committee (where allocations decisions will be made). 

You may (or may not) recall that you or your federation actually voted on this inane bureaucracy-driven structure that, if you reread the paragraph above, includes Priority Area Commissions, Voluntary Projects Commission, Global Planning Table Committee, Executive Steering Committee and Partnership Committee for starters. To avoid further confusion, the draftspersons have included a chart specifying "Participation Standards" (what my friends have characterized as "this was the best we could do"):

    ~ To participate on the Executive Steering Committee and GPT -- "funding to GPT partners (elsewhere specified by JFNA as "JAFI/JDC and other partners" but herein not referenced as the "Historic Partners") and collective projects + 20% or more of campaign or more than $7 million"

    ~ Want to serve on the Partnership Committee?   "Unrestricted plus other giving to Historic Partners + 20% of campaign"

    ~ On the Priority Area Commissions -- nothing but paid JFNA Dues

This so-called "Second Membership Criterion" (which was intended to be a floor for membership in JFNA but was downgraded with the consent of concerned federations to "membership" on the GPT) was to be coupled with the GPT Resolution at a vote of the JFNA Board and Assembly at the GA meetings. With no explanation and, not surprisingly, without a single question, the Second Membership Criterion was deferred, allegedly to be voted on at the January Board Retreat. But, will it be?

Is there some problem? Are the lowest- and non-allocating federations objecting to even a 20% so-called floor for participation on the GPT Executive? Are the JFNA leaders working on further watering down the already unbelievably weak Criterion to satisfy the outliers? Or are the "outliers" today those who demand a Second Membership Criterion at all? Has the begging already begun with JFNA leaders pleading to those who have coupled participation on the GPT and/or membership in JFNA itself, with this meaningless Second Membership Criterion to back off as "you'll otherwise bring down the system?" After all this "guilt-tripping" has worked for the last six years, hasn't it?

In October 2010, the Jewish Agency and Joint leadership wrote JFNA's leaders and asserted, in pertinent part, that the Global Planning Table as proposed to the federations does not "...accurately reflect the prolonged discussions that lead up to the execution of the contract covering allocations for calendar year 2010 through 2012 and the creation of the GPT." These Historic Partners were ignored.

The totality of the "process" leading to the approval of the Global Planning Table can be characterized by federations being told whatever might buy their votes, notwithstanding whether true or false. Expect more of the same.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"People plan and god laughs". At the end of the day an enormous crisis or opportunity will present itself and the right coalition of the talented and the willing will convene to structure a solution. When that day comes the GPT will be "temporalily suspended", never to be seen again as history and events overtake it.
Shabbat Shalom!