Monday, June 17, 2013


Some decision-making body within the Global Planning Table (I have forgotten which given its Rube Goldberg-like structures, I only recall that it's one chaired by the one and only Ms. Manning and it does not involve the governance of JFNA the fact that significant dollars are suggested will be involved) has determined that the first (and only) Signature Initiative ( a euphimism, I presume for nothing as it turns out) will be...trumpets here, please...for "immersive experiences???" Nothing else? Well, no -- Israel's Civil Society, they'll examine this further; poverty in Israel, not, ironically, until the GPT finds some funders.

So, what have JAFI, JDC and ORT been advised by letter from David Butler and Becki Caspi: Well, even though they weren't around the table for the decision, thanks for all the input and great ideas, now the real work will be done in a Working Group with four federation CEOs, two from communities that abandoned collective responsibility, one a long time ago, another more recently, and two from great federations in New York City and Western Mass. There will be staff, of course and there will be no lay persons on this Working Group whatsoever. And the Working Group report, what about that? Oh, that's due September 11 ( hmmmm!)

Steve Donshik, one of the most experienced and respected pros with our system, has written a brilliant analysis of the implications of the Global Planning Table. You can find it at
Once again, ejewishphilanthropy has done us a great favor. Steve's piece must be read in full -- his conclusions with regard to both collective responsibility and waste are must reading. I doubt that any at JFNA and only a few within the federations will read and then think about that in which they are engaged.

Here's where things seem to be: this is about 5 or 6 federations with resources embracing a nice idea; this is not about all, or nearly all, federations embracing a great cause. This is designated giving taken to a continental level; it is about the one organization that should be driving the federations toward their collective responsibilities, instead preaching a message of division, a message so contrary to collective responsibility as to be shameful. And, at the end of the day, why? Because "otherwise JFNA will fail." No, my friends, it already has.

So, MASA and Birthright will receive some additional funding along with some ORT educational projects and some "new" vendors will show up. The money, in the main, will come out of the ATMs that are/were the core allocations, the collective responsibilities that once were, of JA and JDC (which, for some in leadership) a core purpose of this sideshow.

And the circus continues, the clown cars ride.



Anonymous said...

Thanks, Richard. This is just what my colleagues and I expected. This is a sell-out to a few Fed Execs. Meaningless to 90% of federations.

Anonymous said...

The people (I wouldn't characterize them as "leaders" ) have no net rest in or knowledge of what 90% of federations are going through. These Initiatives are a joke to us as are they.