Wednesday, March 16, 2016


      "Nonfeasance is the failure to act where action is required—willfully or in neglect."

So, you tell me -- are JFNA's leaders guilty of nonfeasance? And, if so, is it somehow excused by some argument -- like a lack of competency? Or, "it's not our fault."

And I am not just writing today about the fact that JFNA has no priorities, has failed to develop a single new program of value for at least the last 5+ years (correct me if I am wrong...please), and seems excellent at only two things: (1) rebranding -- itself or old wine in new bottles (e.g., "best practices" into FEDovations); and (2) self-promotion. No, I am also speaking to the need to recreate the organization under new professional leadership -- the nonfeasance of JFNA lay leadership.

Let me put this in context. We received the following from Richard Sandler a month ago:

"Dear Colleagues:

JFNA is pleased to announce that one of our successful collaborative initiatives, the Social Venture Fund for Jewish-Arab Equality and Shared Society (SVF), has found a new home. Beginning July 1, 2016, the SVF will be facilitated by our friends at the Jewish Funders Network.

The eight-year-old effort attracted support from multiple Federations, foundations and individual philanthropists. The SVF produced $7 million of collective investment from 35 different funders to address unmet needs of Israel’s 1.6 million Arab citizens, helping them integrate more fully into Israeli society and strengthening Jewish-Arab relations. With a particular focus on education and economic development, the SVF has:

·         Helped more than 6,000 Israeli Arab high school students and graduates gain access to quality higher educational opportunities that allow them to participate more fully in the spectrum of Israeli life;

·         Facilitated the integration of thousands of Israeli Arab university graduates and professionals into private and public sector jobs commensurate with their skills and education, and unemployed Arab women into their first jobs;

·         Provided 600 Israeli public schools teachers and principals with the knowledge and skills to lead shared life education and joint learning experiences benefiting thousands of elementary, middle and high school students;

·         Supported dozens of local organizations reaching tens of thousands of Israeli citizens with trainings and peer experiences that develop leadership skills and promote mutual understanding; and

·         Leveraged millions of government and foundation dollars to scale up successful pilot initiatives and helped catalyze significant structural and institutional change.

From poverty and unemployment to poor health and education, many Israeli Arabs face enormous challenges. Supporting this growing population continues to be of strategic importance to Israel’s economic health and security and ability to thrive. We are proud of what we have accomplished and we are thrilled to know that this important work will progress unabated."
A great program engaging some terrific lay leaders over its eight years from creation to...handing the program over to the Jewish Funders Network?  WTF?? Is JFNA's Consulting Services Department doing so much that it just couldn't continue doing anything other than negotiate the terms of this turnover? OK, Consulting Services lost its professional leader in mid-2015 and, as in so many other areas, has not replaced her, so the question: is JFNA so busy with so much on its plate that all it can do is congratulate itself on walking away...?

But, fear not. The Board Chair closed his February 19 letter with:
"Federations will continue to address the unmet needs of all Israeli citizens. Funded by our 2014 Stop the Sirens campaign during Operation Protective Edge, our partners JDC, The Jewish Agency for Israel and the Israel Trauma Coalition have launched innovative programs to help build personal and collective resilience in communities throughout the South. Partnerships like these will help strengthen the future of Israel and its core values of democracy and equality."
JFNA will just have no more to do with them. So, congratulations are due JFNA!! Right?

Got it. See definition above.


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