Wednesday, April 25, 2012


One of our knowledgeable and insightful Commentators wrote to suggest "Five Practical Reforms" of JFNA. While we all wish this very sick patient could be saved, would these reforms revive an institution that we keep alive by throwing $30.3 million a year at it?

"Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "MORE STUFF":

Five Practical Reforms for JFNA
1. All new hires in program, FRD and planning functions must have community experience
2. Salary levels should be brought in line with salaries of Federations in the Greater NY area
3. Make best Practice development the hallmark of organizational activity. For example: develop with Federations a concerted plan to reinvigorate lay solicitation throughout the system.
4. Place the nominating process for the board and executive committee under the control of the federations
5. Create a CEO Advisory Committee to meet on a scheduled basis with the CEO. (this was effectively introduced with the JDC a few decades ago)"

I would suggest that these "Reforms" would only be a bandage for a JFNA that is operating on life support. Would these be enough or at best a good starting point?  Other Commentators to the Blog have suggested just letting the organization collapse (or that it already has but no one notices) and then create a viable organization of and by the federations out of its ashes.

But, there's the rub. Even though few federation leaders who have spoken to me about JFNA have expressed a belief that JFNA's leaders (a) listen to them, (b) understand federations needs and wants or (c) understand that they are wasting tens of millions of dollars per year on programs and activities that the federations do not want or need; JFNA goes forward, oblivious . There is almost a unanimous belief that the return on investment in JFNA over the past six years has been close to negligible. And, at one and the same time, there is no interest in investing time in the reformation of JFNA/JFNA's leadership at the expense of local focus, fund raising and local restructuring. And, into this void, JFNA steps in and does at it pleases, the waste be damned. And no voices are heard; no leaders observing that the Emperor wears no clothes.

Under these circumstances, how do you get a locally focused federation leadership off what Peggy Noonan in another context called the "goofball express?" When will another federation leader stand up and state publicly what a predecessor did in JFNA's first years: "If we own this damn organization, why doesn't it feel like it?" And, now, 12 years later, the question is the same and federations continue to sit around waiting for the answer while doing nothing to indicate that they even understand the question.


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