Thursday, January 21, 2016


Still my favorite video of JFNA at work:

Some stuff:

1. Here's what one Commentator recommended in response to my Post -- Camouflage for Failure:

You should learn more about how Seattle has decided not to pay their full dues to JFNA -- instead they are basically going to pay JFNA the value of what they believe they get in return (which is much less). Imagine if every Federation did that? 
If this is JFNA's response to a hardship request -- denied BTW by the Financial Relations Committee almost a decade ago -- that might be fine but why hide that decision behind the JFNA Iron Curtain? 

Another Commentator explained the reality:

"Love JFNA or hate JFNA. It does not matter. We have a collective and members cannot decide to pay what they want. If they are unhappy with the budget/collective fair share dues, or whatever you call it, then they should work to lower to budget. Fight loudly to lower the budget or raise the budget. Advocate aggressively to change the priorities, service quality, and net value of the organization.

If a community is undergoing definable, financial hardship, I am all for JFNA working something out. But if it is ideological (don't like the CEO, don't like other staff, think the budget is too high, think the program priorities are misaligned, etc.), then this is not a private matter but a public matter for the collective. JFNA is doing a disservice by not sharing this information with all the Federations. I don't need to know about financial hardships. but if what Anon 10:25 AM is correct, then that's not right.

And JFNA is just plain wrong to hide the information, and communities playing such games with their dues are just plan cowards if they keep it quiet.

I am not arguing if JFNA is providing a decent value received or not. Or whether the budget is too large or too small. Or whether the volunteer or professional leadership should stay or go." 
Friends, if "private, secret deals," like Seattle's purported "deal," are being made; it's over; they will cascade like a flood. But, other than on these pages (and, in particular, in your Comments) where is the outrage? Where is the demand for Dues transparency? If Seattle (or any other federation) is not paying full Dues: (1) why are they still voting members of JFNA; and (2) is your federation or mine making up the difference?

 2. In the year-end issue of New York Magazine the editors showed a photo of an art installation next to the ancient and decrepit Williamsburg Bridge -- what looked like two letters in brilliant yellow spelling out OY. I thought that perhaps it would be possible to move the sculpture to the door way at 25 Broadway -- keeping it the wholly appropriate yellow -- OY!

3. A friend shared the following video that he/she discovered. It appears to capture the totality of Smilin' Jerry's contract negotiations: Watch it and weep.

4. Many of you will remember Eric Levine, a wonderful professional, first at UJA and later at JFNA where, as I recall, he was promoted to the leadership of FRD (kind of a "last man standing" after multi-purges of great pros before him) before idiots decided to collapse the Continental FRD effort. Eric left JFNA some years ago and has moved on to important roles elsewhere. When he was at UJA one of his responsibilities was to accumulate and publish comparative annual campaign data -- these data compilations distributed every other week helped to focus the UJA leadership on federations where campaign assistance would be helpful and provide communities with comparative measures of federation achievement (or failure as the case might be). Then, at JFNA during those years when the organization provided any service to the communities whatsoever, the organization offered "benchmarking" giving communal leadership the opportunity to examine their comparative success and to undertake responsible goal-setting. Of course, the "benchmarking" was data dependent -- with no staff, no benchmarking. Another communal void. 

If, as I think all of us practice in our businesses whatever they may be, that metrics are critical -- why do we continue to permit the circus that is 25 Broadway to avoid not just metrics to help federations in their work, but metrics to measure JFNA's own work? 

Just asking'?

5. And the reference immediately above to JFNA's address -- 25 Broadway -- reminded me that in the spectacular movie -- The Big Short -- a critical scene takes place at that very address. For that was the address of the credit rating agency confronted with its continuing support of the highest bond ratings for what were already "junk." While that organization has since moved to 55 Water Street, one wonders whether, given JFNA's sorry performance as well, 25 Broadway is cursed...

...or, as indicated above, needs to have the OY! construction relocated to its front door.



Anonymous said...

If you were making a movie about an organizational disaster, a shipwreck if you will, and placed its headquarters in 25 Broadway, a landmark building named The Cunard, reviewers would accuse the producers of a cheap metaphor. However, there you go...

Anonymous said...

While Jerry Silverman is in LA next week, no doubt he'll fit in a meeting with Richard Sandler. That would be a perfect time to put the CEO on notice that his time is short. This farce can't be permitted to continue.