Tuesday, April 17, 2012


In response to our Post JFNA-ISTAN, we received some excellent Comments. One, from one of the best professional partners in my experience, brought me back to a time when our organizations had purpose and values, understood collective responsibility and acted with responsibility.

But, then, we received the following Anonymous Comment that underscored all that is and has gone wrong at JFNA the past 6+ years. Here is what an apparent JFNA insider wrote us:

" (Another) Anonymous said that JFNA is a bad place to work...

I work there, too.
Bad does not begin to explain it.

First, not even the executive committee or finance committee has been told about the federal lawsuits that are underway over employment issues.

Every one will tell you that Jerry is a nice guy, he even eats lunch with the employees. What they won't tell you is his vicious disposition when he does not like something. All smiles and then like a rabies infected dog bite he gets you.

The staff asks every day what will Kathy Manning think? She is the do all end all. Nothing but nothing can happen without her being in the spotlight. Even campaign material goes out to the trustees under her signature. The Campaign chair is a workhorse with zero authority and zero recognition. Kathy controls all communications. If there is sucess in any area or anything she can thumbprint, she runs in and pushes the lay-leader in charge out of the way. Examples are campaign, budget, UIA, endowment, emergency, GPT, and even the executive committee itself. Whenever there is an issue it will not go to the executive for discussion, Manning will name an advocate committee, just so she can chair it. She chairs a dozen functions that should be other lay leaders.

I discuss this with colleagues around the country, no other organization has such a deadly combination of a clueless "out-of-the-box" chief executive matched with an organizational destroying "one-woman-show" despot like Kathy Manning.

Death by a thousand cuts. Even a new chair will unlikely be able to prevent this place from sliding further. Raise critical questions here? Only at the risk of your job. Anybody with a conscience who can find a better job is gone. Most people are looking.

This year's toll: Saginaw, Astroff, Neuman

Look around. We stink. It's terrible. We work to advance JFNA not the Federations. We work to make our organization in the press, we do not work to advance our mission.

I am ashamed to work here."

And, as if in verification, friends referenced back to an August 2011 transmittal with regard to the "Annual Campaign package." Wasn't sent by the National Campaign Chair or the "Philanthropic Resources" professionals...uh uh. The two pager was sent by Kathy Manning. But, as it turns out there is even further and more immediate evidence of this constant "need" for control. There was a Global Planning Table "Committee" conference call on April 17. The GPT Chair was on the call. Yet, his role was totally usurped by...Ms. Manning. And, she was clearly reading from a script!!

Friends, this is beyond sad...it is beyond tragic. Any of you who believe the allegations above are untrue, write me. Correct the record. If you can.



Anonymous said...

I've been following your blog since the beginning and believe you are generally correct with your criticism.

It is also more than apparent the current state of affairs can no longer be blamed on Jerry, Kathy or anyone else at JFNA.

The fault lies squarely with the federation CEO's. They allow JFNA to continue doing nothing and apparently have no interest in changing their attitude. It clearly suits their purposes.

Sorry to say Richard, but unless you can figure out how to motivate Ruskay, Hoffmann, Nassiter, Solomon, Sanderson, Terrill, Finkelstein and a few more, all has been for naught.

paul jeser said...

The best way to motivate most professionals is to engage their leadership and major donors.

It is 'easy' to blame the 'pros,' however, it will have to be the lay leadership and major donors who will have to take the leadership roles in correcting this tragedy-in-the-making.

Anonymous said...

If you think the professionals do not have a huge amount of influence and control you are very mistaken. While Richard is going back to the good old days, I remember sitting in the board of directors meeting of CJF around 1989-90 dealing with the issue of allocating the number of refugees from the FSU to each community. It was evident that the original proposal was going down to defeat as it had been drafted. With over 100 people, the vast majority lay leaders in the room there was a pause where 10-15 of the then execs from these very same communities literally huddled in front of the room and came out with a compromise proposal that sailed thru. There was not one lay leader in that huddle. To me, as a young intermediate city exec at the time, it was a powerful message to me as to the influence that the professional holds. It is definitely time for Ruskay, Hoffman, Nassiter et al to huddle again and come up with a solution or the legacy of JFNA will be on you.