We won't learn the answer from Josh's cryptic note to his friends at JAFI and beyond:
"It’s been a pleasure, but it’s time for me to move on to the next chapter. I have enormous respect for each of you and I know that you will continue to do wonderful work at the Agency on behalf of the Jewish world...I will likely be pumping gas in New Jersey if you are passing through."His departure on to the "next chapter" was precipitous...literally days after the decision was communicated. Judy Maltz, doing her usual superb reporting in Haaretz, Top Jewish Agency Executive Outside Israel Quits, suggested that Fogelson traveled to Jerusalem to surprise JAFI higher-ups of his decision to move on. Equally, if not more likely, he was summoned to Jerusalem to explain why The Jewish Agency International Development ("JAID") was producing lesser results than those in Jerusalem anticipated given its overhead and let go, forced out, whatever one wishes to call it. We, no doubt, will never know.
One thing we do know -- after less than 3 years Josh Fogelson is no longer JAID"s professional leader and JAFI's financial resource development must be in disarray and needs a reexamination. Yet, the only "reexamination" that appears to be on-going is Alan Hoffmann, the Jewish Agency Director General who has only months to go as CEO, is determined to assert JAFI Jerusalem's hegemony over JAID. And, to assert his authority, even as the lamest of lame ducks, Alan was in New York two weeks ago, between Rosh Ha'Shana and Yom Kippur, interviewing Search firms to identify a new JAID CEO acceptable to...him? (If this "process" makes sense to anyone, or if you believe Hoffmann should be leading it, please explain.)
One other thing we do know, as I was recently reminded:
"The Iron Law of Institutions is: the people who control institutions care first and foremost about their power within the institution rather than the power of the institution itself."As one of my own chevre, close to the situation, advised, to paraphrase: "The Israelis just expect money to rain down on JAFI" as a matter of entitlement. They don't understand the need to invest in fundraising as do, e.g., JDC, JNF-USA, WorldORT and federations -- especially if they cannot totally control the effort.
So, Fogelson met the same fate as his predecessors -- David Sarnat, Maxyne Finkelstein, Misha Galperin -- each of them a superb professional, each totally dedicated to their engagement and to JAFI. Yet, in each of those prior circumstances, one could point to the lay and professional leaders who decided the professionals' fate -- Sharansky and/or Alan Hoffmann, then the JAFI Chair of the Executive and Director General, respectively. But Natan is gone and Hoffmann tendered his retirement notice last March, and Bougie Herzog is still too new to his Chairmanship. So, Hoffmann...
In this void, who is making decisions at JAFI on FRD matters? On the investment necessary to create a return? Who is part of the cabal that decided that after less than three years Josh Fogelson's success or failure could be measured? Fogelson did spend a significant amount of time restocking the JAID staff, then drafting a fundraising plan. He rejected suggestions as to how to reinvigorate outreach to the federations directly because he knew better. Yet, as his third year of FRD leadership was coming to a close, the fruits of his efforts appeared to be on the cusp of some degree of success. And, he is gone and there are a lot of resumes of good people now in circulation.
There is a pattern here. I remember as if it were yesterday being in Jerusalem with Misha Galperin literally on the eve of the execution of his JAID CEO contract as certain JAFI leaders (OK, it was Hoffmann), somehow already dissatisfied with the deal that JAFI had made, started demanding changes to Misha's contract that would have brought him under the very thumbs of those in Jerusalem who would turn out to be obstacles to JAFI's FRD success (OK, it was Hoffmann).
When, after years of substantial financial results, Misha decided he'd had enough, JAFI determined to bring the FRD marketing function back to Jerusalem and under the control of the bureaucrats there. As we observed at the time of Fogelson's hiring:
"Anyone who has led an FRD effort understands that marketing and FRD require coordination and direction, by FRD for FRD -- that will not be the case at JAID/JAFI."Now, it appears that JAFI wants to coopt its own financial resource development by relocating the FRD effort to Jerusalem, as well -- a locus that has never produced signicant dollars for the Agency. So, whatever fundraising progress was made since we established JAFI North America and, then, JAID, Jerusalem will surely reverse it.
JAID can still succeed. But only if it is allowed to.