Tuesday, August 21, 2012


For all of those who believe that JFNA is not in chaos...

Yesterday, my flight from New York City landed at O'Hare at 5:45. Over the two-1/2 hours of flight time, I had received 102 e-mails -- all on the same subject: Joanne Moore's summary relegation back to lay leadership after, what, a year of being JFNA's greatest hope (and ours) for a rational, planful approach to the overseas allocations process. The comments accompanying these e-mails ranged from "the end is near," to "catastrophe," and "ridiculous," to "the wrong person(s) left" and more. 

When Joanne Moore was hired, she was loaded up with an impossible set of responsibilities -- not alone a GPT that had already been structured by a consultant and the Board Chair like a Rube Goldberg machine (for those unfamiliar with Goldberg's construction of ridiculously complex machines to perform simple tasks...Google), but the complete overhaul of the GA, and of JFNA's non-existent (or barely visible) community planning, research and analysis function, among others. 

I can only speculate, however, that what drove Ms. Moore out of the profession and back to lay leadership were the constant micromanagement of the Global Planning Table by the full time volunteer Board Chair. One has to ask: if Joanne Moore was hired to lead the GPT effort, as she was, why was the consultant running GPT meetings and where was the CEO, one of whose jobs is to protect  his lead professionals from just the kind of lay interference that I believe took place here. (For a particularly nasty send-off, read Silverman's statement to the JFNA Board yesterday.)

So, now, the GPT is turned over to Becky Caspi. Here is what both (?) Silverman and Moore wrote in their respective "statements" echoed by GPT Chair David Butler yesterday:

"The next stage of the Global Planning Table’s work requires deeper integration of its work with our Israel and Overseas (I&O) team. Our I&O professionals have been instrumental in the GPT’s work this year and bring tremendous knowledge of, and experience with, the work of Federations and our partners in Israel and around the world."

This is a joke, right? Now in her fifth year of leading "I & O," and after the expenditure of $10s of millions of budgeted dollars, what are the Israel Office's accomplishments under Ms. Caspi other than elite flier status? Let's face it, a better acronym for the GPT under these circumstances would be DOA.

In any organization in which I have been involved, a catastrophe of these proportions might yield not only some self-serving press releases but would also lead to a serious examination of the top professional leader's execution of his responsibilities. But this is JFNA after all, where serious introspection never takes place; where Research and Analysis can be assigned now to the Marketing Department ... and where professionals of great promise like Joanne Moore can be cast aside like yesterday's news.


This is Silverman's nice send-off:

From: Desk of Jerry Silverman [mailto:deskofjbs@JewishFederations.org]
Sent: Monday, August 20, 2012 4:10 PM
To: Undisclosed recipients
Subject: The Global Planning Table

Dear JFNA Board of Trustees,

We have made great strides in establishing the foundation upon which The Jewish Federations of North America and Federations, through the Global Planning Table (GPT), will realize its vision — to inspire the Jewish Federations collective global work and drive collective solutions to important issues within the global Jewish community.

Federation representatives were selected and the work of the GPT and Partnership Committees began shortly thereafter. The GPT Committee solicited the input of Jewish community thought leaders, received briefings from our Historic Partners -- JDC and The Jewish Agency -- reviewed available research about opportunities and challenges found in Jewish communities around the world, and established four Working Groups to further its prioritization efforts. The Partnership Committee also received briefings from our Historic Partners, reviewed historical data and trends related to unrestricted funding, and put forward to the JFNA Board of Trustees its first allocation recommendation that was overwhelmingly approved.

We are now focused on the next stage of the GPT’s work, which requires deeper integration of the work with our Israel and Overseas (I&O) team. Our I&O professionals have been instrumental in the GPT’s work this year and bring tremendous knowledge of and experience with the work of Federations and our partners in Israel and around the world. Therefore, we both recommended that effective Sept. 1, 2012, JFNA’s Senior Vice President for Israel and Overseas, Rebecca Caspi, and her team will assume responsibility for the GPT. Becky will work closely with Global Planning Table chair David Butler and the U.S.-based team to ensure a smooth transition.

With this GPT evolution, Joanne Moore will be leaving our staff and returning to her role as lay leader and donor to the Jewish Federations of Greater Washington and Richmond, VA. The General Assembly planning team will transition to JFNA’s Executive Office and the Research and Analysis department will return to the Strategic Marketing and Communications department. The upcoming 2013 Planners Institutes will be planned in partnership with the chairs and JFNA’s Consulting Department.

We look forward to seeing and supporting the continued success of the Global Planning Table, as we build our community for the 21st century.


Jerry Silverman
JFNA President and CEO


Anonymous said...


Can you post Silverman's statement to the board?

RWEX said...

See the Addendum I just added to today's Post.

Anonymous said...

There is no joke here...other than JFNA itself. Where are the Federation CEO's when we need them?

RWEX said...

To the Anonymous Commentator who wrote suggesting that three leading Federation CEO's step down as did Ms.Moore:

Dear Friend,

I am not printing your Comment because you named those you believe should join Ms.Moore in stepping down. I don't believe these leading professionals should "step down" -- I believe that they should "step up." JFNA is in shambles and there is enough blame to go around.

Anonymous said...

The federation professionals mentioned are apparently not stepping up. How long do they get a pass?

paul jeser said...

It's easy to blame the Federation professionals, but where are the Federation Presidents? The Federation Presidents 'back in the day' would never have let this happen.

Anonymous said...

Richard, this episode would be a Purimspiel if it weren't so tragic. Try as he will, Silverman can't talk his way out of the job crisis he has created just like it appears he couldn't manage his way out of a paper bag.

Anonymous said...

Yes, there is a joke in there somewhere -- that this tragic joke of an organization continues to be allowed to take our donors money and spend it on narishkeit.

Anonymous said...

I hereby nominate David Copperfield as the new Chairman of the Global Planning Table. David Butler has done a great job preparing the GPT for its next act.

Copperfield, the famous magician will know what to do with this one...