Friday, June 17, 2016


1. This November we'll have another "all New GA" -- better in so many ways (what with another $250,000 pumped into the Budget for the thing) and promising a program that will attract another 10% increase in federation leader participation  (I think that would be about 70 more registrants or, considering the subsidy -- $3,571/additional registrant). But, if you look at the 2015-2016 Budget, then the organization was striving for another 10% increase of just lay registrants; now its lay and professional leaders. What was Daniel Turnham's demand: "make no little plans?" For JFNA, it's but slightly modified: "Only make tiny plans."

Already the Program is in formation:

  • Rather than star Debra Messing, this year it will be the new Hollywood millennial, Beanie Feldstein, you've no doubt heard of her;
  • For the annual Supreme Court Justice appearance, we don't know exactly which Justice it shall be just that it won't be Antony Scalia, because he's dead. I'm thinking it's going to be Justice Merrick Garland (a person can hope, can't one). We have already learned that, once again, one of my heroes, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg will be back;
  • Rather than Boogie Herzog for the Israeli opposition, it may be Bogey Ya'alon, provided he has not by then rejoined the Coalition;
2. Is there something further to hide? Sure, you may ask until the cows come home, until pigs fly, for, for example, which JFNA consultants are being paid how much and for what (hellloooo, Debra K. Smith) -- but you will never learn the answer. Or you may ask why, as of June 30, 2016 JFNA still has posted on its website the 2013 990. Why is that? More to hide by this "most transparent" of organizations? Just don't hold your collective breath...ever.

3. Back pre-merger -- so that's way, way back -- we used to hear the predictions (that we still hear approaching two decades later) -- "we are about to experience the largest transfer of Jewish the trillions of dollars. One would think, wouldn't one, that JFNA would be spearheading a major educational effort to educate Federation Endowment and Foundation leaders with best practices in how to capture a fair measure of these "trillions." But, in fact, there just isn't much of that education and training going on. You may now again ask "why?"

4. And, on the "why" front, why do JFNA's leaders, starting at the very top of the professional pyramid think it's worth bragging about and self-congratulating now that JFNA no longer engages in the distribution of best practices, in the convening of communities to engage with each other on successful experiments (except, of course, when GAs role around and Federations are actively promoted). So it's apparently a really, really big deal that JFNA provides a web vehicle for federations to seek assistance from each other. Can JFNA Jerry really take credit for this? Will we wake up one morning and discover that...poof...JFNA has just plain disappeared? Unless it's gone already and no one noticed?

5. You know my sense that reading comprehension among JFNA leaders is a serious problem; couple that with the inanity that is FedWorld. Those who edit that expensive albeit worthless publication came up with this recently:
"The newly released Giving USA Foundation annual report reveals that charitable giving in the U.S. has reached a record high for a second year in a row."
Ok, that was true BUT might there have been some mention that another, more relevant study also found that federation fund raising had fallen through the floor over the same time frame. Oh, I forgot, never is heard a discouraging word....and, of course, if properly reported, someone(s) might suggest that an effective continental organization might have helped/might help to make a difference on that score.

Helllloooooo Richard Sandler...wherever you aren't.

No comments: