Saturday, November 19, 2016


It is that most respected measure of non-profit performance, Charity Navigator, which analyzed Executive Compensation in depth and then warned:

"Consider the performance of the charity in relation to the CEO's pay. If you come across a charity whose CEO pay is higher than other similar charities, don't immediately dismiss that charity's request for funding. You're better off supporting a charity that is fiscally efficient, accountable and transparent, achieving its programmatic goals and paying its CEO well, than a charity that has substandard fiscal health, fails to live up to its mission, but under-pays its CEO. Charity Navigator’s ratings can be of help in your research into the charity’s Financial Health and commitment to being Accountable & Transparent. If possible, also conduct your own review of the charity’s performance to determine if it is delivering on its intended results."
Imagine, an independent source actually recommends that executive compensation be based upon the non-profit's (1) performance, (2) living up to its mission and (3) "delivering on its intended results." Friends, can any leader at JFNA, its Board Chair, any member of its Compensation Committee look you in the eye and tell you that Jerry Silverman's compensation is in any way whatsoever related to these criteria -- or any one of them? 

Please bear with me here while I rant a bit. The lay leaders of federations of every City-size do not know what the CEO of their organization, JFNA, earns until the 990 is published 2 years after the fact. That's remarkable; and wholly inconsistent with best governance practice for non-profits. The best estimate one can make of Jerry's current compensation based upon the latest filed 990 is somewhere between $700,000 and $800,000; but I would be complaining, I have to admit, if he were paid $400,000. You see, Jerry's responsibilities even before that 990, had been drastically reduced: remember, Mark Gurvis was hired to perform what were until that engagement the entity's management and operation responsibilities -- in other words, the CEO's responsibilities were cut in half and he received a raise!! (I guess it could be argued that Jerry wasn't performing those responsibilities anyway, so what the heck...or something.)

And, how's Silverman performing in the role that he was left to perform? You tell me -- be it as our representative at the State Funeral for Shimon Peres, z'l;  being named one of the Jerusalem Post's 2016 Top 50 Jewish personalities; to his many invites to the White House; to his many visits and speeches to federations and constituencies around North America. Then there was the pies de resistance -- he showed up at a ribbon cutting for a new JDC JCC in Kiyuv!! Friends, I'm not making this up.  (Nice photo-op) Are we really getting bang for the buck...any bang for the huge amount paid for these aimless travels, for these photo ops? It's a rhetorical question. 

Remember, Jerry Silverman was hired to be JFNA's CEO and President. He was hired to both manage the organization and be its public face (!!). He was hired at an annual compensation paid his predecessor (and, no matter how one felt about Howard Rieger's execution  of his CEO responsibilities, it can't be denied that he was performing both of the functions for which he was hired). And, within the first term of his contract, his responsibilities were halved (or more than halved) and he continued to be paid as if he were still engaged with both areas -- management/public face -- of the responsibilities for which he had been hired. Where in non-profit history has something like this happened? To my knowledge -- only at our JFNA.

Only at our JFNA.



Anonymous said...

There can be no question: Silverman's compensation is so unreasonable given his performance, his limited responsibilities and his failure to execute even those that Richard Sandler needs to be held accountable.

Anonymous said...

If Charity Navigator had the staff to look behind the 990 filings, JFNA would be exposed not just for overcompensating Silverman but for its extremely high overhead vs. program. Then the federation system would take notice. It's clear that it will take a serious investigation to get these leaders to do anything at all.

Anonymous said...

richard - see the article in the Jerusalem Post. Truly a powerful and well said piece. Why are we hearing this from the outside and not from JFNA?

Anonymous said...

It's not enough to blame JFNA. Why are our Federations not responding?

Anonymous said...

Because you didn't read the actual article that the previous anon posted?