Yes, having been blessed with the power of prophesy, Cassandra was cruelly cursed in that no one would believe her. And, here am I.
About one year ago I told the then heavily-recruited lay leader being pursued, after others turned the position down, as National Campaign Chair. to take the imprecations of the Board Chair and Smilin' Jerry with a major grain of salt. They were promising this terrific lay leader the earth, the moon and the stars if he would only accept the position. Yet, it seemed evident that the offers being made were wholly illusory, made by those who had proved already to be incapable of carrying them out.
Then, things got worse. The candidate accepted the promises as worth their weight in gold, impressed by the sincerity (false) with which they were made. Harold Gernsbacher accepted the position -- and, shortly thereafter, the rebranded Philanthropic Resources thing was made devoid of its senior professional in New York -- meaning that other than Missions professionals, there were none -- and a Business Plan for Financial Resource Development, written by the National Campaign Chair himself, appeared to be incorporated into the 2015-2016 JFNA Budget in haec verba. Yes, a "Plan" without a staff to implement it but with modest measurable as goals was on paper for all to see. We'll get back to those later.
Further, it turns out that there had been no real Campaign Cabinet for years...and there still is none. It wasn't so long ago that the Cabinet was effectively visiting federations, assisting in Annual and Special Campaigns, actually fund raising. My most recent memory of the Cabinet's "agenda" a few years ago was of too frequent focus on criteria for the Sapir Awards. And, then, there was none...no Cabinet...no campaigns.
And, with the "Plan" now incorporated into the Budget, JFNA retained a great consultant, Vicki Agron, esteemed by many for her decade-long leadership in the UJA, and her commitment to the "cause," the then JFNA FRD effort before being constructively terminated from that role by Smilin' Jerry's predecessor. And, Vicki did what she does so well-- she drafted an FRD Plan. It was completed and submitted, we believe, before the 2015 General Assembly. Agron knows what was in her plan, presumably so do Jerry and Harold and, maybe, Richard Sandler -- but no one else seems to have seen it. And, of course, the implementation of any plan -- the Campaign Chair's, Vicki's or any other -- requires a staff...and there remains none. And there remains no Campaign Cabinet to vet any Plan. (I know all of this borders on the ridiculous, but this is JFNA after all.)
Agron, whether within her contract or outside of it, attempted to recruit a top level fund raiser. She actually almost succeeded as we understand it but the Smilin' one made a hire impossible with an unacceptably low offer from which he would not negotiate an appropriate compensation package as is his prerogative.
So here we sit, approaching a new Budget cycle, without staff. and with a secret plan.
Sounds like JFNA 2016.