Let's look at the facts:
- JFNA has an annual Dues Budget of over $30 million, much of which is wasted on staff over-compensation; its real Budget exceeds $40 million. Nonetheless its CEO has complained over time that this Budget (the line-by-line allocations from which have been consistently ignored to apply funds wherever the professional staff has deemed necessary while the Treasurer and Budget & Finance Committee merely blinks) is inadequate to meet JFNA's needs, whatever those may be;
- The CEO has promised to fund raise to increase the amounts JFNA deems necessary to fund itself "adequately" but, not surprisingly, no one is buying in;
- So, the chachams have come up with a "solution" -- "we'll just create programs and take the money to fund them from where they were supposed to be applied." Here are two egregious examples:
- Funding The Education Unit. JFNA leaders leaned heavily on the leaders of the National Agencies Alliance to transfer funds intended for the federation-created family of National Agencies to enable JFNA to create this Unit within JFNA. Remember, this was done after a secret (no other way to describe it) consultant's study at a cost to the National Agencies (because it was from their funding that the consultant's fees were paid) of $308,000, resulted in an "Alliance decision" to fund this new Unit to the tune of $410,000 per year. To JFNA this is fund raising; to me this is theft. $2,000,000 for JFNA to play education with -- that's to JFNA with no successful operational experience and no evidence that it can run anything. Was there a proven need for this Unit; not to anyone's knowledge. Was there any proven ability of JFNA to operate an Education Unit; not to anyone's knowledge. So let's grab $2+ million of Agencies' money (money which the vetted national agencies desperately need) and let JFNA play with it. For JFNA it's other people's money anyway; and JFNA leadership just nods its collective head.
- Funding the Negev Work Group/Negev Funding Coalition. The Jewish National Fund, the Ben Gurion University of the Negev and other credible organizations have or are committed to invest 100's of millions of dollars in the Negev -- funds that the charitable organizations have raised themselves and in cooperation with the Government of Israel. JFNA has been, in its mind, in Negev development activities since 2006 when it established a Negev Work Group which, supposedly, "...evaluates the most effective ways in which the...Federations...can contribute to the development and enhancement of the Negev." Then it established the companion Negev Funding Coalition in 2011 (comprised of 8 federations) apparently to fund the needs determined by the Work Group -- a typical Rube Goldbergian set-up that has produced negligible funding for less than ambitious projects. Then, with $4.1 million -- money raised for and committed to Terror Relief by donors during Operation Protective Edge -- not yet allocated, someone at JFNA (no doubt one or more of the minions at JFNA-Israel) said, "hey, where's ours? Let's convert this money from Terror Relief, its intended, committed purpose, to the Negev Work Group." As one Commentator noted: "I guess it was hard to make a decision so staff suggested they give $2.5 Million to themselves and the JFNA committee went along with them - donors gave to an emergency fund and ended up contributing to an ongoing project and continued empire-building..." In other words, let's use funds, not for their intended purposes, but for something else even though (1) the Terror Relief Funds raised during Operation Protective Edge were far less than any reasonable goal (had JFNA had one); and (2) Israel's population is threatened with the potential for a much more damaging war in the near-term future. In a self-congratulatory (and with totally confusing math*) JFNA puff piece -- The Sirens Have Stopped. The Needs Remain -- JFNA can only account for $31.5 million of $55 million that "[W]e raised" in Operation Protective Edge. Therein that $2.5 million appears to be hidden within a silo titled "Fortify Regional Networks of Support" while the Israeli press reported that a Hamas rocket attack on May 26 sent traumatized Victims of Terror -- children -- to the hospital.
- JFNA, under this leadership, even with a budget that claims that 50% is spent on Fund Raising, has demonstrated, among other things, that it does not know how to raise money let alone how to train others to fund raise. So, what the hell, let's see what sources we can find to pull big money for unintended purposes. We ought to be ashamed...but we're not, are we?
* This "fact sheet" actually recites the following: "We raised $55 million and sent it directly to where it was needed the most. More than half of the funds were allocated by the Jewish Federations of North America and the rest by individual Federations." Do these leaders even know where "half the funds" went?