JAFI $81,500,000JDC 31,000,000
ORT 2,400,000These horrible results (a reduction of almost $4 million from the dismal results of the prior year) are now accompanied by a footnote (apparently repeated and to be repeated annually):
"*Note: This estimate reflects a decrease from 2017 allocations. JFNA/Federations will pursue all possible avenues to increase the available amount." (emphasis added -- and I would add, bullshit)The individual allocations are (or should be) humiliating to JFNA, the aggregate total, $115,000,000, beyond embarrassment...or should be. Think of it: in the first years of JFNA, the allocation to JAFI alone was $185,000,000 -- while federation campaigns have stagnated, even fallen off for some, they stand at $933,000,000 year-to-date -- 12% -- a percentage that will surely fall by 2018 calendar year-end to about 7%.
So, after the toilet-training advocacy offered by JFNA -- Envoys, Ambassadors, whatever -- the end result reflects a system in denial that it no longer is a partner in 2018 in the work of what were our partner organizations. The denial is so gross that after the Board meeting, outgoing Board Chair Richard Sandler wrote:
"We look forward to continuing to work with our overseas partners to improve on these results."Nice, but, of course, there is no "how" because JFNA never has a"how" -- but the reality is that under JFNA's benign and inept "stewardship" the allocations have cratered.
OK, that's the environmental scan, as it were. What should be done, or, at the least, what could be done. As I proposed 15 years ago to JAFI and JDC -- and which the Joint leadership declined after serious internal discussion -- the JDC, JAFI and ORT should take over the total responsibility for their own advocacy for core allocations. This would not be a joint venture that would preclude the on-going financial resource development by the individual organizations, it would merely locate the responsibility for advocacy to the beneficiaries themselves working together in their common interest...where that responsibility should lodge given that JFNA has evidenced over the past decade that the organization has neither the interest nor any sense of moral imperative to do so. That's a shame, but it's also the reality. When it comes to advocacy for the core allocations, jfna has offered lip service.
Here is another reality that must end -- the Joint and the Jewish Agency continue to fight over percentages -- as if this were 1998. The JDC takes umbrage that it receives such a small slice -- 27% -- of an ever-smaller pie. The JDC will not acknowledge that it is doing quite well in reaching to its own Board members and to the federations for project giving that rights any imbalance.
Advocacy should no longer be about the "split," but, instead, about increasing the aggregate pie benefiting all of the partners. At one point in JFNA history, JAFI and JDC had agreed to a new formula that would have awarded "new money" allocated to the two partners 50-50. Without reason or judgment, the then JFNA Board Chair rejected this compromise. She is no longer around -- isn't it time for the parties to return to their agreement and move forward together?
The "split" percentages argument, as it has been for years, maybe decades, is the classic movie MacGuffin -- a distraction designed to take an organization's (or two) eyes off the ball. It's a distraction like a Trump Tweet. The fact that there continues to be an argument over nothing (or almost nothing) reflects badly on all organizations. Let's focus on substance, the MacGuffin be damned.
For JAFI/JDC/ORT to leave advocacy to JFNA after decades of its neglect and failure and lack of passion, would be a shame. The partners need to leave this failed "partnership" and bring their passion for their work and purpose directly to te communities -- and they need to do so...NOW!!