Thursday, May 7, 2015


Are you like me and do you wonder whatever happened to:

  1. Sheatufim? In the original Post I assumed that Sheatufim had gone out of business. Two insightful Commentators (see below) have noted and underscored my error -- for which I apologize. I have rewritten this subsection) You remember way back to the days that Israeli philanthropist and entrepreneur Ronnie Douek kick-started Sheatufim, the organization dedicated to Israel's civil society in "partnership" with, among others, Zionism 2000 and JFNA? JFNA, over the objection of many, plowed well in excess of a quarter million dollars into the enterprise, and had/has a number of very important people on its Board -- Bobby Goldberg, Susie Gelman, Michael Gelman and Toni Young, among others. When asked why we kept throwing big money at this thing year-in and year-out, the answer, as I recall, was that "we needed a seat at the Sheatufim table" -- so, apparently, we bought it. As late as November 2013, less than two years ago, Sheatufim presented at the GA. We know what Sheatufim received from JFNA -- cash -- but we seriously question what, if anything, the federations received from its payments to that organization.
  2. TribeFest, the Festivus for None of Us? Y'all recall the first failed Fest -- over $1 million of donors' money wasted on a party -- true, it was a Jewish party, but there was no return on investment, just over $1 million wasted. Silverman and his claque then decided to ignore Santayana's reminder and repeated the Fest again...and, then, again. And, looking back as JFNA's leaders won't do, what, other than the  waste of precious assets -- maybe $3 million in total -- did the system receive in return? Absolutely nothing. In most places, heads would roll...but not at JFNA where failure has to be rewarded because outside of JFNA Washington, there are no successes.
  3. Select Core Priorities? Rolled out with great fanfare by JFNA and the inestimable Global Planning Table in 2011, these "SCPs" were described -- incorrectly vu den -- thusly: "Select Core Priorities (SCP) is the temporary overseas allocations model as called for in the November 4, 2010 agreement of the Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA), the Jewish Agency for Israel (Jewish Agency), and the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC).  SCP gives Federations the opportunity to direct up to 10% of the funds previously allocated via the core split model to one or more of the four programmatic "core" areas within the Jewish Agency and JDC agendas.  SCP expands opportunities for designated funding and is being implemented in addition to the existing framework for supporting Elective programming."  Friends,  at least 13 papers addressed these "priorities" at the demand of the GPT. The result? In 2014 federation allocations to these "Priorities" totaled $1,717,642 or 1% -- that's one percent -- of the pathetic total allocations. The costs to JAFI and the Joint for this exercise probably haven't been calculated but GPT/JFNA leaders couldn't care less. Oh, and the suggestion that this designated allocations process (that's what it is my friends) is or even was "the temporary overseas allocations model" proved to be the disaster that some of us predicted it would be.
Which JFNA disaster do you remember that matches these? JFNA...let us count the ways.



Anonymous said...

I am a longtime reader of your blog, and agree with much of what your write. However, this post has some inaccuracies.
There is much that can be said about Sheatufim, but it does still exist. They hosted/co-hosted an event at JFN; they have a staff, etc. I would also advise you not to conflate Sheautfim and PresenTense. They do very, very different type of work.I have no idea if Ronmie is a major donor/leader to PresenTense (I don't think so...?)
Your blog draws attention to important things that others don't. It is very important to fact-check to be sure that everything you are saying (esp. the easily check-able stuff) is correct so that it doesn't distract from your larger messages.

joebrown42 said...

Richard - sheatufim's e-mail address may have changed over the years, but they are still active, and doing a lot in the NGO world in Israel.
They have done a lot of work in regards to the position of the CEO in NGOs in Israel, and have created active forums and worked on creating knowledge for nonprofits, as well, especially as far as strategies.
Joe Brown Leer

Anonymous said...

Now that we are well past the announced deadline for raising funds for the signature initiatives shouldn't there have been some fallout for JFNA? I thought the deal was that "If federations don't support the signature initiatives it will mean the end of JFNA." Did I misunderstand the quote or has JFNA actually gone out of business? I notice that they did cancel a planned GPT meeting (or maybe it was the Partnership committee) that was to have been held in late April. I guess they didn't want to admit another failure.

Anonymous said...

Whatever happened to OUR MONEY?