How is it feckless? Let me count (some of) the ways:
- Back in the 90s this federation stopped paying CJF Dues...just stopped. IIts leaders at the time believed that the community was getting nothing of value for its Dues. It became the first (maybe the second) to be stripped of CJF membership. UJA leaders stepped in and with an enlightened federation lay leadership at the time, an agreement on Dues was reached...and breached...and reached...and breached;
- It appeared in the first years of this Century as if the community had hired one of the best and brightest as CEO, but while the annual campaign dropped from $20 million to $13.5 million where it sits at present, that CEO convinced the new Chair to increase his compensation to the equal of the successful CEOs in Chicago, New York and elsewhere. That CEO was soon terminated and has since left the federation system;
- In that CEO's wake, past Chairs who had spoken out were dismissed from further service, their major communal gifts, history and leadership notwithstanding;
- Its overseas core allocation fell, in the last calculation, to $900,000 -- $.07 per dollar raised. Meanwhile some of its leaders were elevated to the highest positions at the Joint and JA (and what does that say about those organizations?);
- Among the most bizarre of all things, according to a recent major employment discrimination lawsuit filed against the Federation, alleging, among other things, self-dealing and conflict of interest, one, as of my first writing about it on May 16, that had yet to be disclosed to the Federation Board. If the allegations are true, one of the longest-serving Federation professionals, part of this community's senior management, packs a pistol on the Federation campus (which, to my recollection from numerous visits, includes a school) -- in a world gone mad, the Chipotle, Sonic and Chili's restaurant chains bar guns, but a Jewish Federation does not;
- Its Foundation, seemingly part of Federation but with its own Board, has been annually loaning large amounts to the Federation secured by "future increased campaigns." (Question: does Federation include the loan funds to inflate its annual campaign statistics?) While the corpus of the unrestricted endowment appears to be around $6 million, that entire amount may be the security behind a federation guarantee of bonds for a senior independent living development thereby exposing the entire current endowment.
Oh it's a great place!!
It might be a surprise or a miracle, based on the above, that the community has attracted some excellent professional talent of late. Unlike JFNA (and some of the others cited above), that offers the promise of hope. There is also a continuing and incredible untapped capacity in the community that could effect increased annual campaign and increased endowment -- and there are those there who know how to raise money.
One thing is certain -- even though help is needed, this Federation can't expect any help from the continental organization. There is no help to be had.