The national federation-agency Alliance (you remember that thing, created in part, to increase the resources of the member national agencies, wholly failing in that purpose [sound familiar?]), which attempted four years ago to disconnect the federations systemically from one, if not more, of its national agency members, has now scored its own form of vengeance for agencies standing up for their rights, for fighting back. With neither warning nor reason, and with no prior discussion with the affected agencies (each thought to be and characterized as a "partner" in this now perverted process), the Alliance determined, over the objection of a number of its member federations, to cut three member agencies by 40%. Yes, you read it correctly -- 40%...allegedly based upon a Survey in which the Agencies did not participate.
These draconian cuts were accompanied by the admission to "membership" (about as valuable as being a JFNA "partner," they should be forewarned) the BBYO and American Jewish World Service, extremely worthy organizations for sure but those that bear no direct relationship to our federations or the federation system. So, here are NCSJ, the Foundation for Jewish Culture and HIAS all cut beyond bone and muscle, while not only is the Alliance adding "strangers" to its version of "funding" but holding back 20% of its allocated funds for...more new agencies, while funding for those agencies "lucky" enough to avoid the draconian cuts stagnate?
When four years ago one of the now punished national agencies fought back against defunding and prevailed, there was an implicit threat, if not explicit, from Alliance leadership that "we won't forget this and your time will come." And, now it has -- not because the three national agencies suffering these inexplicable and indefensible cuts have somehow failed in their missions on behalf of the federations but because the JFNA Alliance itself has failed...and failed miserably. And, why...just because it can. If this is any way to run our national system, then we can't be very proud.
Consider this: the NCSJ, whose membership consists not only of advocates but federation leadership, through its credibility as the institutional representative of American Jewry with the governments of the Republics of the FSU, was able to assure that one of our treasured American organizations saved nearly $1 million in claimed taxes; it is an organization daily on the firing line fighting growing anti-semitism and xenophobia. Did the Alliance consider either of these matters? Was the Alliance staff aware of them? Come on, these horrifying cuts are the results of the Alliance's failings, not those of the NCSJ, not those of HIAS and not those of the NFJC...nothing more, nothing less.
I have reflected before upon the futility of the Alliance, the growing toxicity of its decisions, decisions announced from its star chamber to the agencies, its pitting national agencies against each other for the table scraps of funding it dishes out and now, this. I see so many parallels in so-called process and decision-making to the emerging outcomes of the Global Planning Table as to offer an evermore frightening picture of the months to come.
Meanwhile, no additional federations have joined the national funding process , which might have increased the pool of available dollars, a number of federations have left or cut funding deeply (LA and San Francisco have dropped out, among others) and the national agencies are more and more "demonstrating their mandates" by approaching federations and donors directly. And, what was, at the time of the Alliance creation, to be a more positive national funding process has become, as a direct result of its failures internally and externally, a "national agency defunding process."
It's shameful and they are shameless.