"Alliance" has been variously defined as "a union or association formed for the mutual benefit, especially between...organizations." But not when JFNA is involved.
When last we took a look at JFNA's National Agency Alliance, its leaders were attempting to oust one of its historic members (they failed), federation allocations and membership were dropping, the outlook was poor to worse. So, what did JFNA do, you ask? Well, they went through a lengthy process (in which the national agencies did not participate -- "oh, them? HaHa") and emerged with (trumpets please) the National Federation (what's that?)/Agency Alliance Work Group Redesign Recommendation Executive Summary and Memo to the Field. And, guessing is not required to conclude that even though they have printed many more words, they have ended up exactly where they started and, financially, much worse.
And, while this Redesign was undertaken in good faith, no doubt, by late June, the JFNA-Washington Alliance staffer was advising the national agencies that in addition to four federations totally abandoning the Alliance, almost every other participating federation was cutting its collective allocations to the Alliance -- in most instances "significantly." The conclusion: "Last year's pool was $5,065,000...the pool this year will be around $4.16 million or a reduction of 17 and 3/4 percent." This professional concluded that "[O]bviously, I am sorry for this news." This calamitous information came just 36 days after the agencies had been advised that "...the pool stands at $5.065 million." JFNA is, today, just a collection agency for the national agencies...and not even a good one at that.
Now, these results -- a third (or is it fourth?) Redesign in a decade, while Rome (in the form of federation allocations) burns; no lay advocacy among member federations to maintain (or even increase) allocations while this Redesign is implemented (if it will be); the continuing suggestion that some national Agencies will be cast aside in a "planning process" that has not even begun; coupled with the "potential for adding new..." agencies to the Alliance; and the introduction, in the face of "drastically reduced allocations" of new levels of bureaucracy (more "surveys," more "Plans and Micro and Macro planning teams") with which the agencies will have to deal. Sounds great to me. It's nothing more than the chaos of the Global Planning Table on a micro basis.
Illustrating the disregard of Alliance lay and professional leadership for the National Agencies they serve and allegedly partner with is the reality that the National Agencies themselves did not participate in framing the Redesign; they were asked to "comment" on the fait accompli presented to them in June in a single phone call. (JFNA treated the almost total silence it heard on the call with the national agencies as "...feedback [that] was overwhelming positive...")
So, I ask, other than maybe a shorthand presentation at a JFNA Board or Executive meeting, when have Alliance lay leaders visited federations and engaged federation leaders face-to-face on the value of the Alliance to them and the critical work of the national agencies on behalf of the federations? It's a rhetorical question, my friends, because I know the answer -- never. No the Alliance lay leadership, a small cadre at best, has busied itself with criticism of the roles and budgets of the national agencies with whom they agreed to be "allied." It has become a zero sum game.
If the national agencies were the stepchildren of the national federation system in the '90's under the National Funding Councils system, they have become the neglected and abandoned distant relatives under JFNA.
Shame on us.