A wonderful editorial in the July 10 New York Jewish Week congratulated the New York UJA-Federation for a remarkable 2013-2014 Annual Campaign success -- the Federation's Annual Campaign closed on June 30 with an $8.6 million increase over the previous year's $137.6 million -- a phenomenal 6.2% increase. Yet, even with the two largest Federation campaigns increasing, JFNA reported (in almost a whisper) at its June Board meetings that the aggregate of Federation campaigns closed down by 2.5% -- "not our problem," JFNA seemed to suggest, as it always does. And, at one and the same time, JFNA has been whispering to the federations' historic partners -- JAFI and the Joint -- that core allocations will be even further reduced from the lowest points reached at calendar 2012 year-end.
So, what will JFNA do about all of this?? We have heard rumors emanating from 25 Broadway that the departing Paul Kane has been pushing one of his pals for the open position of Senior V-P - Development; one who has not worked in federation fund raising for far longer than a decade, and, upon leaving his last position, is rumored to have engaged in a set of activities that would have negative impacts at that federation for years. His work in that federation has been characterized by one major donor there as a "disaster." This would not be merely the "old boys network" in play, were it to happen it would be the "ultimate alta kocher network" example. If history is any guide as to what JFNA will or won't do in light of continued negative aggregate campaigns, it will offer nothing; it has nothing to offer any more.
And, as to the continuing, even accelerating drop in core allocations, JFNA has already done enough, hasn't it? JFNA's past Chairs and current CEO have actually undermined the historic partnership that once existed between the federations, the Jewish Agency and the JDC. In its manipulation leading to a less than meaningless "Second Membership Criterion," JFNA has provided "cover" to federations which allocate nothing or almost nothing to what once were cherished "partners."
It remains a proven truth that those federations which both continue to emphasize that we and Israel are "one" in our campaigns and then responsibly allocate in support of that truth, have seen their annual campaigns succeed. Those that ride Israel's back in campaigning but then cynically offer diminished if any allocations support, fail. Just look around.
This has been explained to JFNA so often with no results that that reality feeds the sense that until there is real change, professional to be sure, JFNA will continue to waste over $30 million dollars a year.