Friday, February 15, 2013


It has become so evident that the JFNA push for the Global Planning Table is nothing more than desperation but in that desperation there is great evidence that this thing is nothing more than the tail wagging the dog. CEO Jerry has been heard in the hallways of meetings here, there and everywhere, pleading that if "we" (don't exactly know what or who "we" is/are) don't get the GPT, then JFNA will self-destruct. I do know this -- if JFNA's very survival is based on the Global Planning Table's construction, maybe JFNA should no longer exist.

There were four "Strategic Program Initiatives" presented to the poorly attended Retreat; three were nothing more than a rehash of previously successful efforts going as far back as the predecessor organizations or programs presently within a succession of JFNA Budgets but which received little if any real support.

Then, the fourth of these "things:"
"Collective Influence and Impact -- Increase collective advocacy and impact through: effective implementation of the Global Planning Table and forging of synergies with other JFNA functions; strengthened access to and collaboration with influencers in Washington and Israel and our historic agencies (JAFI, JDC, World ORT); nimble emergency preparedness; and a refocus of our messaging, marketing and public relations to promote Federations' unique collective role and relevance."
It is clear that all things JFNA will rotate around the earth that is to be the GPT like the moon rotates around the earth. Forget the JFNA hyperbole -- how does one "increase collective advocacy through...effective implementation of the GPT" when the GPT as currently driven diminishes the role of the overseas partners to supplicants? Easy for JFNA, they just say they are going to do it in the same manner that they believe they have done it.

Do you remember the fiasco of JFNA's demand that the overseas partners pony up for something called Select Core Priorities? The precursor to the Global Planning Table -- in the mind of the now Chair of the Partnership/Exec Committee of the Global Planning Table, the micro-program that would "prove" how valuable the GPT would be in a macro sense? Well here is what I wrote over 1-1/2 years ago:
"Then there is the curious case of something called Select Core Priorities. This "process," begun in 2011, was to be the incredibly successful precursor to the Global Planning Table. JAFI and JDC would put 10% of their highest priorities into a hat, putting 10% of their allocations at risk of reallocation, and federations would jump at the chance to reallocate core resources. (Why either JDC or JAFI would subject themselves to this is another story with all kinds of questions for another day.) Well, at then end of the day, 10 of 157 federations participated ... that's 10 federations 6% of the total... and $2 million at risk, about 1% of total allocations. And JFNA? Its senior professionals applauded and shouted that this meant "...the GPT will be an incredible success." OMG and woe is me. This demonstrates that at 25 Broadway, no one even knows the definition of "success" or the difference between "success" and that other thing....oh yeah, "failure." I ask you to recall that JFNA staff (probably the Philanthropic Resources staff unless they were otherwise busy with the Festivus) was frantically calling federations begging their participation. That effort failed too -- 10, count 'em, 10 federations participated. And, now, in the tradition of repeating failure, we have Select Core Priorities -- the Sequel. For every flop at JFNA has a Sequel. Subject JAFI and the Joint to further unnecessary expense, pressure federations to participate, only more so. We take what we have learned, misinterpret it, and do it all over again."
And, then, in the second year of this failure, even more dismal results -- results so  abysmal JFNA doesn't even report them -- the drum beat for the GPT just gets louder and louder. The facts...with bloviated representations from the then Board Chair, the senior pro of Israel/Overseas and CEO Jerry that the federations would jump at the opportunity to find new dollars to fund an investment in Select Core Priorities, $300,000 in new money was produced over the two years. And, these JFNA leaders were warned that these would be the sorry results. Now, this same sad trio leads the GPT promising that the Global Planning Table priority programs will produce new money, greater resources -- ask why or how and watch eyes glaze over. They just "know it will." And, so the tail wags the dog.

Friends, this is JFNA's cliff and, absent intervention, it's going over and down.

It's all so pathetic; so JFNA.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The JFNA language you quote reads like something out of a Quasi religious manifesto handed out on the NY subway. Who writes English like that? What is an " influencer"? "Preparedness" is not nimble, organizations, responses and actions may be. The writer obviously liked the word written elsewhere and stuck it in, ( "note to self: use the word nimble where possible".). Likewise you do not promote "relevance", you exhibit relevance through one's actions and results. PR is the last refuge of the truly irrelevant. However, the ultimate test is: Would any of us share this document or its language with our largest givers in a solicitation? Would it elicit anything but sneers and blank stares at a local Federation board meeting? WWDDD - what would Don Draper do?