Thursday, December 19, 2013


On erev Thanksgiving JFNA announced the hiring of a new Senior V-P Philanthropic Resources (ersatz FRD). After a fruitless search (and a number of turn downs from excellent professionals) for close to a year, JFNA has added a long-time FRD professional from the New York UJA-Federation -- no doubt on the recommendation of recently retired, now JFNA consultant, Paul Kane, who, you will recall, came to JFNA from NY UJA-Fed as well.

The new Senior V-P has a terrific background in one federation but...experiences at New York, if the Paul Kane hire is an example, have little relevance in the FRD area to the rest of the federation system. If the new hire is good, and a quick study, this short-coming will be easily overcome.

But, in its announcement of the new hire, JFNA could not resist the hyperbole so characteristic of an organization that knows not itself:

"(he) brings to JFNA the kind of proven track record and extensive communal experience that will help us drive our system’s fundraising forward,” 
This quote was attributed to CEO Jerry -- who, of course, came to JFNA with neither and, apparently, doesn't believe that either is necessary to his position, back for years ago or now.

In fact, close to two years ago, JFNA had the chance to hire one of the best and brightest campaigners in our system. But Paul Kane was still on board even though, beyond the Millionaire's Roundtable, there appeared to this observer that he never tiptoed into the direct FRD arena (even though, arguably, that was the purpose for which he was hired).  Claiming "budgetary issues" two years no hire was made and two years have since passed until this November engagement.

So, is JFNA going to pay Paul Kane to mentor the new hire even though Paul, too, was from the same UJA-Federation environment? Do JFNA's "ideas,"  were there any, in all areas look like the unforgettable New Yorker cover where the world essentially ends at the Hudson River? 

In 2012 JFNA published a Campaign Plan for that year and this with 7 "goals" they were/are:
  1. "Inspire leading investors in the Federation Movement.
  2. Provide support to Federations in their financial resource development and community building efforts.
  3. Continue to strengthen affinities including Women’s Philanthropy, Young Leadership Cabinet, Cabinet Alumni, and Next Generation.
  4. Increase endowment opportunities for the Federation field, for donors, and for JFNA endowments.
  5. Provide training opportunities and tools for Federation professionals and volunteers to enhance their development and community building efforts.
  6. Grow financial resource development in the Network of Independent Communities.
  7. Re-imagine and revitalize the Missions program to support and expand Federation efforts." 
Now, two years later, tell me where there has been any...any...success in any of these seven areas of "focus;" in other words, "what focus?"

I wish the new hire every success. P.S. What ever happened to Matt Freedman, an exemplary fund raiser from a relevant federation?



Anonymous said...

The real question is absent Mr. Daroff and his staff, does anyone, ANYONE, at JFNA do ANYTHING?

Numerous JFNA staff read this blog - though all claim they don't . You need to speak up for yourselves. The wide spread perception is under the current CEO all of you are non-performers. Prove us wrong - let's hear what JFNA staffers are actually accomplishing? I'm speaking to you too, Beth Mann. Stop complaining about how this blog treats JFNA. Self-advocate before you find yourselves out of work!

Anonymous said...

Let's not attack or challenge JFNA are looking in the wrong place:
How about asking any, really any Federation to speak up and let the system know what services (and the quality of those services)they are receiving from JFNA?

Anonymous said...

Why would you pick on Beth Mann, one of the only ones over there with a brain and a heart who actually goes into communities and works with them, with no fanfare, I might add. She came to my community and helped us think things through. Becky Sobelman-Stern also spends most of her life working closely with communities - days and weeks away from home. Women's campaigns are up, because of the work Kimberly Fish does. Elisa Maier is turning around the Mandel Center. You never speak about the women professionals at JFNA who do the Lion's share of the work (pun intended). All those women are also Lions, by the way. They put their charitable dollars into their federations, too.
Things may need changing; in fact they really do. But stop picking on the ones who actually do the work.

Anonymous said...

To anonymous #3 from anonymous #1 - that is exactly my point! Why is NO-ONE speaking about the work these professionals are doing? Certainly JFNA isn't; neither are the communities they are working with!

I realize it is challenging to toot your own horn, but this is a prime example where silence IS NOT golden.
The perception stands: JFNA is accomplishing zilch on the ground.

Anonymous said...

Plans, goals, are you kidding us -- these are as meaningless as is "budget" to Jerry Silverman. Seriously...he hasn't learned a thing in four years other than how to endorse his paycheck.

RWEX said...

I apologize to those "who actually do the work," the sacred work, of the Jewish People at JFNA.

Anonymous said...

Lots of people busy, including many interactions with communities. Not so much impact though because not so much focus which means not so much follow through or sustained attention. That is because resources are constantly distracted and spread thin. This is not unusual in organizations driven by politics and external pressures rather than guided by internal vision.