Tuesday, September 4, 2012


The Forward's Nathan Guttman has written a lengthy piece on the fiasco that is the Global Planning Table -- you can read the entire article at http://forward.com/articles/162024/internal-gridlock-stalls-federation-giving-reform/?utm_source=Tue+Sept+4&utm_campaign=Tue+Sept+4&utm_medium=email . Unfortunately, the article must have been seeded by JFNA itself, as it is riffled with errors that only JFNA's leaders could possibly have provided. Examples abound:
  1. The Global Planning table is an "ambitious reform plan...to overhaul the way American Jews direct their contribution for causes in Israel." No, sorry, the GPT is an ill-conceived and terribly structured attempt to rationalize the precipitous and catastrophic drop in Federation allocations to the core budgets of JAFI/JDC.
  2. Building on this mischaracterization, Guttman continued -- "...the reform plan...was supposed to resolve difficulties in dividing the millions of dollars raised by Jewish Federations...between the Jewish Agency...and the...Joint..." Far from it: the GPT as designed was to deconstruct the funding relationship between the North American federations and JAFI and Joint. In fact, omitted from the article, the contractual allocations split between JAFI and JDC had been terminated in 2010 and, in all events, most federations no longer considered themselves bound by the agreements of JDC and JAFI.
  3. The major issue confronting Joanne Moore's resignation mid-process is characterized by the reporter as "...a result of the difficulty (she) found (in resolving)...the tug of war between JAFI and JDC over their share of the overseas funding budget." JFNA's leaders, in their continuing policy of "the buck stops there,"  might like to believe this to be the case...but that conflict was not at the heart of the issues confronting the GPT -- driven by micromanagement of consultant, Board Chair and CEO into a chaotic, Rube Goldbergian mess. When suggestions of an effective process appeared on the pages of this Blog, JFNA's leaders were disinterested (perhaps, because the concepts that might have reformed the chaotic GPT appeared on the pages of this Blog.)
  4. Guttman concluded that because of institutional obstacles placed in the path of "reform" by JAFI and the Joint, the federations voted last month to extend the contractual split between the "historic partners." That was not the case in any way, shape or form. Though JAFI and the JDC had reached agreement on modifying the split agreement on two separate occasions even before the Global Planning Table process was initiated, those agreements were rejected by JFNA without reason. (Oh, there were "reasons," in the first instance because the amended Agreement would have been for a term of five years, the second, for no reason, the Board Chair merely elected to rewrite that attempt unilaterally. There were "reasons," but...no reason if you get my drift.)
  5. If, as Nathan Guttman wrote, "...[T]he federation's Israel arm has long been unhappy with its representation on the GPT," and JFNA-Israel now finds itself "in control" of the GPT, is it not fair to conclude that Moore's resignation was triggered more by internal JFNA "politics" and micromanagement than anything else?
All in all it appears that those who informed Nathan Guttman's valiant attempt to make sense of the unintelligible tried as usual to blame third parties (in this case the easy "fall guys" -- JAFI and Joint) for their own bumbling, fumbling and failing. Remember -- it is never their fault.



Anonymous said...

Can someone please tell me one thing JFNA Israel actually does (besides the VIP department)?

And this costs us how much a year?

Anonymous said...

Concerning the first point - 1.The Global Planning table is an "ambitious reform plan...to overhaul the way American Jews direct their contribution for causes in Israel." - This is extremely arrogant when one considers that perhaps hundreds of millions of dollars go to Israel annually OUTSIDE of the JFNA via every hospital, university, or friends of ... organization probably far in excess of the funds that actually are funneled thru JFNA.

Anonymous said...

Can someone stop this train wreck of an organization before its leaders destroy the federation system that owns it? These leaders have assured that JFNA serves no purposes but their own.