This is an example -- an example of cost and waste -- the kind that happens when an organization, any organization, has no management nothing more than mismanagement from the top down. Read it and weep.
Less than one year ago, three silos within JFNA -- Israel and Overseas/Global Operations, the United Israel Appeal, and the Global Planning Table -- sat together apparently to assure that in the implementation of their separate "Portfolios," there would be working relationships, a full court press on Israel and Overseas matters and a minimum of overlap among the silos. Just a few months ago, the GPT, to our collective relief, collapsed of its own weight -- a total failure. It took only weeks thereafter for Israel and Overseas/Global Operations to carve up the remains and reallocate GPT roles to
I counted the use of the term "I and O Agenda" at least five times in the Portfolio Document; I saw the term referenced as "this important work." Nowhere can you discover what the hell that "Agenda" is. You know, just a declaratory statement that starts like this: "The Israel and Overseas agenda is as follows..." No, there are 12 "strategies and goals," 11 "deliverables," and a listing of the GPT programs I and O will swallow up. There is also an allocation of the 22 Israel and Overseas professionals (excluding Becky Caspi, Silo Manager, and 6 UIA personnel) to their tasks; none of these professionals are resident in JFNA New York HQ but will, nonetheless, purportedly be able to engage with federations on everything from allocations to Missions.
Immediately post-merger, an "Israel Task Force," co-chaired by the great leader, philanthropist and humanitarian, my great friend and mentor, Marvin Lender, past-UJA Chair and first Co-Chair of JFNA's Israel and Overseas Task Force, and Bob Aronson, then the Detroit Federation CEO and one of the great fund raisers and professional leaders in our system's history, studied our engagement with Israel, JAFI and the Joint. A number of the readers of this Blog may have served on that Task Force. Among the recommendations that flowed were: the focus of the JFNA Israel/Overseas Office be relocated to New York with a skeleton Israel presence, that many of the Office functions in Israel be carried forward by the federations' growing number of Israel-based professionals, that JFNA Israel/Overseas work be fully integrated with JFNA's FRD operations, if not fully absorbed by the FRD effort. Integration was the main thrust of the Task Force's recommendations.*
And, here we are today:
- Although rumor has it that the National Campaign Chair, working with consultant Vicki Agron, is attempting to create a FRD function within JFNA, there is none today...and there is no FRD staff (other than for Missions and VIP travel and that staff is lodged within the JFNA-Israel Silo);
- But, for the bloated success-free Global Operations: Israel and Overseas operation, that's just fine because:
- This Silo just grows and grows arrogating to itself every conceivable JFNA function, staffing up and accomplishing nothing;
- Israel/Overseas is totally and exclusively housed in Israel, self-managed, self-contained and irrelevant to the federations which, at last examination, still purport to own, or at least fully fund, JFNA.
The Portfolio Document, among so many other things, ignores the need for complete integration into FRD of allocations advocacy (through "Envoys," "Ambassadors" or just plain "federation leaders"), Special Campaign FRD and allocations, cash collections, and related matters. Oh, and the Silo will "attempt" to raise $750,000 for JFNA programs from Israel philanthropists.
With no FRD function within JFNA, with no management, and no accountability, the Silo wins every time. And all of us lose.
* As the new I and O Council Chair took office last year, I suggested to him that he might wish to read the post-merger Work Group Study. This Portfolio Document strongly suggests he didn't