Every day in some way JFNA exhibits exactly why it has become both irrelevant and a laughingstock. While JFNA lay leadership believes in the fairy tale of a really important JFNA and many of you may still believe in the ideal of a functioning and important organization, feast your eyes on what follows, look at yourself in the mirror and ask the following question: "How much money is my federation wasting on this?"
Friends, what we have here is an epic failure of lay and professional leadership. They not only know not what they are doing, they know not even what they should be doing. So, instead, they don't do a damn thing.
The following is the actual verbatim Agenda of the JFNA "DEVELOPMENT CABINET" meeting at the GA. This Agenda tells you all that you need to know:
Wow!! The "National Elevator Pitch Champion.""Dear Development Cabinet Member,The following is the Agenda for our meeting on Sunday, November 9th from 11 AM – 12:30 PM at the GA.. We will be in room Chesapeake 6.Agenda1. Welcome – Linda A. Hurwitz2. Philanthropic Resources Update – Reuben Romirowsky3. Reinventing the Sapir Award: How Should We Recognize Community Campaign Success? – Linda A. Hurwitz4. Making a More Effective and Powerful “Pitch” for your Cause – Chris Westfall, US National Elevator Pitch Champion, GA Plenary speaker5. AdjournmentThe main purpose of our meeting will be to exam how we recognize successful campaigns."
Yes, while so many federations need direct fund raising assistance and guidance from their national organization, if there was one, while the system's donor base has shrunk to heretofore unheard of lows, what does the so-called Philanthropic Resources Development Cabinet" discuss? "Reinventing the Sapir Award" and "elevator pitching." Are you kidding me? JFNA has reached a point so low, it is off the radar screen; aren't more federations reaching out today to consultants for the services that should be and were provided by our national organization? What are your federation Dues being used for at 25 Broadway?
And, at the same time, Chair Michael Siegal pontificated beautifully and meaninglessly about a vision and specifics JFNA is wholly incapable of framing with its current administration. As one Commentator put it so well:
So very true. It all just makes one want to cry.
"The federation "owners" don't have a shared clue about what they need or want. How can JFNA know what its owners want if the owners don't even know?
By and large, the federations are paralyzed. The American Jewish world has changed and its hardly done. The federations are the status quo institutionalists. supported by those who came to Jewish maturity (and I'm not talking bar/bat mitzvahs) via these same institutions. The donors are clueless or unaccepting about what change means, even as they know change is needed (it's already happening!) for the next generation (which they are scared to death of losing). The major lay leaders and professionals are scared to death of losing donors, their paychecks, status etc = paralysis.
And JFNA is similarly paralyzed. Its doesn't know what it is and its owners are of no help in figuring this out. On second thought, it's not paralyzed; JFNA is simply and tragically chasing its tail the same way its owners are. When the owners get a clue and get decisive, JFNA will follow suit. In the meantime, buy long in tail chasing."