Wednesday, March 15, 2017


The most often asked question on these pages has been and is: how long will the leaders and Board at JFNA continue to endure an organization in stasis...or worse? The answer appears to remain: until the first to occur of JFNA's dissolution or perpetuity.

This seminal question arose once again as I reviewed the JFNA "Mid-Year Progress Report." If nothing else, JFNA should be commended for the candor one associates with the reality of unrealized promises. Time and time and time again, the message is, as it always seems to have been, "we're almost there; give us just a little more time." And the answer should be: "No more. Your time is up."

Just a few highlowlights:

~ JFNA had planned " ensure monthly contact with each of our federations."  The organization has done nothing other than to announce a reconsideration of its approach based upon "[T]he development and implementation of a team of FRD Consultants assigned to each federation." Unfortunately, FRD has but two "consultants," both part-time, both excellent, assigned to federations and those are assigned as, apparently, part-time Consultant Vicki Agron determines in her unilateral discretion. 

~ "Reinstitute JFNA Planning resource..." The "reinstitution" was in limbo until a recent Associate VP Research and Planning hire. G-d knows what she will do alone. That vacancy in the JFNA "Planning resource," by the way -- had been vacant since Bob Hyfler left the organization over a decade ago. Maybe Silverman, et al., hadn't noticed. Compare and contrast the brilliant and deep CJF Planning and Research staffing with the current void.

~ The effort to "[B]uild a systemwide TECH (training, education, coaching and help*) Team...of top campaign leadership trainers and speakers" was to reach 15 Federations and 50 visits. The "Team" was formed but "fewer than expected speaking/training requests" have come in -- 10 communities have been visited. You'd think the message to JFNA would have led to an intense introspection with the seminal question being: WHY? But the circus moves on.

~ Special Campaign results are confused, at best: the Holocaust Fund has done quite well; but, then, IRep, the "Israeli civil society" effort has had a $2 million goal for over 2 (maybe 4?) years, as I recall, and has raised less than $1 million; and, then, there's a surprise -- an $18 million "campaign for ENP" which has a Chair (who, one might ask) and a draft Plan with a "commitment" of $600,000 to date. Was the inclusion of this "Campaign" in the mid-year Summary intended to raise some mid-year questions like: WHAT? Where did this come from? Who decided that this would become an obligation of JFNA? Where was it approved? Is this any way to run a business?

~ The GA continues to disintegrate (while the Board Chair thinks/thought all is going great) -- lay leadership registration/"participation" was down 10% in 2016. Does anyone think this is a problem?

Friends, there is so much more but OMG!! This Report is a cry for help; and no one seems to care.


* Vayezmir.


Anonymous said...

Where does one find the report? I am a Federation exec and never seen nor heard of such report. (and, trust me, no consultants have been calling us.)

Anonymous said...

The Report Richard cites was distributed at the JFNA Board Retreat. You should have received one as CEO; I did at the Board thing. Maybe call Mindy Hepner at JFNA. But, maybe, JFNA doesn't think federation CEOs should be receiving it.

Anonymous said...

It would seem that our Jewish leaders answer only to god and those in charge of White House invites. The rest of us proste yidn will have to wait for their tweets and vanity press memoirs.

Anonymous said...

Maybe for those execs and presidents NOT at the board retreat (an expensive waste of time) they should send it out.