Thursday, January 3, 2013


Imagine this: a federation in an unnamed City, with an annual campaign of over $10 million, makes an allocation to JAFI and Joint core that is about $86,000 -- or 0%...that's zero percent. It  received a "2 star (of 4)" rating from Charity Navigator amassing a score of 45 out of 70. Its administrative  and fund raising expenses, as calculated by Charity Navigator, are 22.2%. Its CEO, an Associate Member of the Jewish Agency Board, elected by his City-size CEO colleagues (or serving by a rotation he could have declined). In doing so, he succeeded colleagues from Large Intermediate Federations like Mark Freedman, then of San Antonio, now of Nashville, and Alan Margolies, Jacksonville's CEO, serious professional leaders, who studied JAFI's work, and were articulate spokespersons for the Agency.

But, this CEO, smooth and articulate, clearly sees no issue with his service on the Jewish Agency Board with the minuscule allocation his federation makes to JAFI core -- $21,500 (that's $21,000 on annual revenues of in excess of $10 million -- an allocation of .0021%) . His compensation, based on the 2008 990 was $316,000 (which includes  $79,000 from "Affiliates") in a year in which it appears the federation he leads spent almost $600,000 more than it took in.

Now, if this weren't bad enough, this CEO has ranted publicly that if the Agency or Joint fund raise in his federation, then "every cent raised" will be reduced against this federation's allocation. When one of the partner organizations offered to raise funds from its supporters in this community with the federation, this CEO rejected the hand extended in friendship...and the organization raised almost ten times its allocation. I doubt that the organization is worried about a set-off.

His Large Intermediate federation does have speaking privileges at JFNA; and if Dues are the only measure, the federation's payment of $166,000 to JFNA in 2011 measured up. And the CEO has used his speaking privileges well. He has ranted against Jewish Agency and/or JDC fund raising in his community, never reflecting, apparently, on the lack of any measurable overseas core allocation.

So, here's my proposal for amending the Second Membership Criteria:

    1. No federation shall allocate less than 90% of that federation's City-size grouping's average allocation to JAFI/JDC core; and

    2. No federation shall allocate less to Jewish Agency/Joint core than it pays in gross compensation to its CEO. (Only kidding about 2., of course. G-d forbid.)

While JFNA has kept its head firmly in the sand, this land far, far away is but an example of the abuse of collective responsibility that has been on-going. How can any responsible community sit side-by-side at the embryonic GPT with communities like these? And, how can communities like these be allowed any input whatsoever on how our system should meet our global needs?

I have asked these questions before and what I heard in response went something like this  -- the Manning Mantra, if you will: "If the under-allocating communities sit at a GPT with communities that meet their collective obligations to our Israel and overseas partners, they will learn of the criticality of fairly sharing their resources and they will do so." Of course,that's good "selling" but already has proved time and again to be an argument without merit. ONAD existed for six years -- under-allocating communities sitting with those which allocated according to a communal ethos supportive of collective responsibility. Not one...that's n.o.n.e...of the under-allocating federations (as measured by their City-size allocation averages) increased the percentage of their annual allocation to our system's overseas partners. What's changed?

Ponder this.



Michael said...

I think a clarififcation as to which Federation is being referred to is in order.
The post gives the mistaken impression that the Intermediate represetative to Jafi is being referred to rather than another city size.
Thank you,
Michael Weil, Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans

Anonymous said...

Right. Jacksonville, San Antonio, and Nashville are Intermediate Federations. Margolies and Freedman were respectively succeeded by other Intermediate Federation execs, not the referenced exec described in the post from a $10 million campaign community. There are no intermediate communities with $10 million campaigns. Must be from a large city or a large intermediatge city. I agree the post is misleading.

RWEX said...


My apologies for any confusion that this Post created -- I do get those City-size groupings as confused as does JFNA.I would expect that the Federation in question knows exactly who it is -- and it is not Jacksonville, Nashville, San Antonio or New Orleans.

Anonymous said...

This list would be helpful to your readers:

Anonymous said...

denver? Not that it matters, but we all need to have skin in the game.....Richard, don't be so cryptic.

Anonymous said...

denver? not that it matters, but we all need to have skin in the game.....