Friday, September 21, 2012


One of the FOB sent me an op-ed on abuses (or potential ones) in our philanthropic world. Written by Martin Edwards, the CEO of the Great Britain children's hospice, Julia's House, it concludes:

"Dirty secret

... in my 20-year odyssey through the sector ...I've realised that the real charity world has its own dirty secret, one that the public rarely glimpses. It is that a significant minority of charities are run as personal fiefdoms of overbearing chief executives or chairs.
Happily, I have landed in a charity where good practice reigns, but I have come across some benighted ones too - enough to make me think that the sector is littered with the broken pieces of good people crushed by their charity's malfeasance.
Other sectors have their governance horror stories too, but the power given to trustees in charity law is substantial, and abuses can follow; and if there is a power vacuum on the board - and we have all known trustees with a scarily laissez-faire approach to their duties - it can be filled by a chief executive taking an unchecked hold on the organisation.
Weakness of sanctions
Whenever I read about whistle-blowers seeking help from the Charity Commission's well-meaning compliance unit, I often groan at the long timescales and the weakness of some of the sanctions deployed.
One day there might be a case of a misbehaving charity that captures the public appetite for stories of corporate malpractice or greed. When that time comes, it could tarnish the reputation of the majority of us who strive to do right for a good cause. Our secret will be out, and it may indeed rock our sector to the very fabric of its being. In time, it might lead to a clean-up, to more resources for the commission's compliance unit and less aversion to the strongest sanctions. Until then, things might need to get worse before they get better." (Emphasis added)

Friends, at JFNA, unknown to Mr. Edwards, things cannot get much worse.



Anonymous said...

Writing in eJewishPhilanthopy today, Jim Joseph Foundations Grant Manager Director says, "A core component ... is that successfully navigating the Jewish philanthropic community depends on patiently building positive, trusting relationships with foundations, individual donors, and other organizations."

Many, if not most, individual federations know this. Has the message reached 25 Broadway?

Anonymous said...

Richard you have a lot to atone for....the sin of holding vendettas, the sin of revisionism, the sin of character assassination and so many more.

Anonymous said...

Richard, you probably know the person who wrote the scabrous "Comment" above -- one of the sorry losers who have "led" JFNA over the past six years -- for any of THEM to point the finger at YOU for vendettas, "revisionism"(?) or Character assassination is, as you have written, "calling black, white."

The only thing worse than their leadership is their hypocrisy.

Please keep on doin' what you're doin'.

Anonymous said...

Clearly, the Anonymous who accused you, Richard, of all that he/she have been engaged in for 6 years, at least, has a fun house mirror in his/her home. Another so-called leader who can't distinguish truth from fiction.

Anonymous said...

What hole do those cretins crawl out of -- is there some schedule to these "appearances" or is it something else?

Anonymous said...

Richard, hope you don't let the liars affect you. They can't help themselves.

paul jeser said...

If there is one person who doesn't need to be defended it is Richard...

Having said that, I'd like to suggest that the energy he - and others - rightfully have spent on sharing and commenting on what is happening at UJA/UJC/JFNA z'l,be now spent on fixing it - or replacing it!

The issues facing the Federation world aside, if there is to be a functioning Federation world there needs to be a functioning effective national support agency.

Why not call a meeting of those who care and can effect change to begin the process. If JFNA can't be fixed it needs to be replaced. That can be done if the right leaders put their minds and energy into developing an effective course of action.

Anonymous said...

Hopefully those who succeed the current Board Chair and Chair of the Executive (is there a sitting Chair of the Executive, by the way?) will have the experience and background to bring JFNA back to the federations, starting with dealing with an uncontrolled and apparently uncontrollable CEO.