Sunday, September 14, 2014



  • One used to be able to access JFNA's current IRS Form 990 by link from its web page (well, it wasn't quite that easy, but there was a link, that would take you to another website, where you had to register...but, eventually, you would get there). If you go to the JFNA website right now, I challenge you to find the 990 link -- it, like Sam Astrof, has disappeared.
  • Then, there is this: if you go searching for the current 990 -- that is the 2013 990 which has been filed, if JFNA is following the legal requirements -- and go to, you will find the most recent filing that for 2012. I'd ask JFNA what it is trying to hide, but...why bother. (BTW, the 2012 990 went of record on July 17, 2013 -- check today's date.)
  • Then there is the 2014 GA. Renee Rothstein, JFNA's well-regarded flack-in-chief, has taken the reins, apparently dismissed the lay Co-Chairs, and has been sending out periodic updates that, if you read them, won't encourage you to attend the November GA in some place called National Harbor, Maryland ("you can see Washington, D.C. from there"). The Speakers List, so promising when first announced has added one speaker...that's ONE two months ("renowned TED speaker") -- for a fun exercise, go to the GA website and link to "Speakers;" then go to "See Full List" and watch the same speakers appear with those disappearing Co-Chairs, but listed in alphabetical order.
  • And, worse, these from the GA Website: Plenary Two: "Modern day Aristotle's share their observations of living Jewishly and explore how we organize as a society." So, forgetting the ridiculous use of the possessive in the reference to Aristotle, that's it, nothing more.  That evening there is something called the "Israeli Jewish Congress" but the subtext discloses that this should have been the European Jewish Congress. Oh my. Maybe the "planners" don't believe anyone reads this stuff...maybe they are correct.
  • As if these are the worst of what the GA scriveners have to offer, there is this beauty, planned for Sunday night: "ON Sunday evening Smithsonian's National Museum of American History is ours to explore! Visit Dorothy's ruby slippers..." Only this iteration of our continental organization could further reduce itself to a joke.
  • Then there are the JFNA Solidarity Missions -- I think the fifteenth or 20th just went or returned. I have never been on a national Mission (and I have been on, last count, 23 of them) that had no fund raising component; yet, the leaders of JFNA have now run whatever the number of Solidarity Missions is without any fund raising. How does that happen? How is that allowed to happen? I understand these Missions were short but, communal Missions of the same length, have raised significant dollars in light of the emergency. It should be noted that JFNA CEO Silverman has been on most if not all of these Missions -- guess he either didn't notice, was distracted while writing his summary of the success of the Missions or didn't understand that missions=fund raising...or did, once upon a time.
We at least had hoped that the national organization could rise to a crisis. A "target" for an Israel Emergency Fund was first $10 million, then $30 million. Last month the federations had raised $41 million but transmitted to JFNA only about 50% of that figure. What did JFNA contribute to the raising of this funds?? (That's just another rhetorical question, of course.) Folks are beginning to ask the inevitable -- "do we need a JFNA that costs us $30.5 million a year when we are getting about $5 million in value, if that?"

Well, do we?



Anonymous said...

Richard, do you ever send copies of your posts to the JFNA Executive Committee?
If not, this particular one would be appropriate.....they should know what is happening (from their fiscal responsibilty perspective), regarding the 990s.

Anonymous said...

Not sure your comment is entirely accurate regarding the 990s on You insinuate something is wrong if the latest 990 at is anything earlier than the 2013 990.

There are lots of Federations whose 990 on Guidestar is not yet updated. There is also a very confusing reality with the forms. Some 990 filers us the 2012 form for their fiscal year that began in 2012. Some use it for their fiscal year that ended in 2012. Not sure why. But compare the FYE date at the date in the upper right corner of the 990 form.

That the 2012 990 is the latest on Guidestar does not imply anything nefarious, as you ask.

More importantly I did not have a problem finding the 990 on the JFNA website. It is right there on the ABOUT US page. And its the 990 for the JFNA FYE2013, newer than the one on Guidestar. I don't know if someone updated it since your post, but it did not redirect me to Guidestar or another website. BTW, lots of non profits list "access" to their 990s on their websites, not the actual 990s. In the case of the former, it is not uncommon for the link to go to Guidestar.

Maybe Im wrong, but I could not find a 990 on the Chicago Federation website. It is not on the transparency page which lists wonderful documents including their audited financial statements (a practice endorsed by Charity Navigator). Chicago appears to offer a link to Guidestar. But, from my vantage point, that's okay as well.

Anonymous said...

It is interesting to note that the 990 form available through the JFNA About Us page is signed, but NOT dated. We do not know if/when it was filed. IRS internal regulations stipulate (unless they have been recently changed) that the data is transferred to organizations like GuideStar within 60 days of filing. It then generally takes an additional 30-45 days before being available. The 990 that eventually shows on the GuideStar site will have an official stamp from the IRS showing actual date of receipt.

Anonymous said...

Re Anonymous (September 16, 2014 at 9:09 AM): It's not really "interesting." Do you really think JFNA is not filing 990s within legally required timeframes (even including allowed extensions)? Do you really think Pam Zaltsman, a credible, honorable, and professional CPA, currently JFNA's CFO, would be creating a guise and posting 990s on the website and not filing with the IRS? And the IRS date received stamp is not showing up on e-File 990s.

If you really think JFNA is running afoul of IRS guidelines, call Pam Zaltsman. If she won't confirm JFNA's compliance, have someone in an official position call.

But there are enough issues at JFNA that we should not create or make up distractions.

RWEX said...

No one is accusing Pam Zaltsman of anything. Maybe it's my website amateurism but I go the "About Us" link on the JFNA home page and I go to the 990 Link and I get the 2012 2013. Help me here,

Anonymous said...

To anonymous at 12:18 - I have no idea whether JFNA is filing 990's on time. And frankly, I could care less. But you can't dispute the fact that the posted form is signed (in 2 places) and neither are dated! Please don't insult me by saying she probably overlooked it.

(By the way, I do not know Pam Zaltsman or know anything about her, positive or negative. I was just pointing out a simple fact; make of it as you wish.)

Anonymous said...

I don't think JFNA is in violation yet of anything. An organization that operates on a calendar year has until May or so of the following year to file - roughly 5 months. JFNA's fiscal year is July 1- June 30. Therefore the 2012 file covering July 1, 2012 - June 30, 2013 (according to the date at the top) which is the one on their website is the most current and the one that was filed probably within five months of the June 30, 2013 year end. The 2013 form is probably not due until about November 2014.

Anonymous said...


When you open the 990 link from the JFNA website, read line A of the form. It says the form is for the 2012 calendar year OR for the date noted. It is noted (typed in) that the 990 is for the 2012-2013 fiscal year.

For fye ending 6/30 the IRS has an initial 990 filing date of 11/15. Automatic extension are available to 2/15 and a second extension is available to 5/15. I know our Federation usually files its 990 by 2/15 as the fiscal year audit is first shared with the Federation board at December board meetings.