Notwithstanding the hopes of the federation system and the merging organizations that created United Jewish Communities in 1999, any fair review of its "accomplishments" since its founding would have to conclude that UJC has been a costly bust. After spending over $280 million (or more given that in its early years millions were expended on severance payments "off the books" out of allocations due the JDC and JAFI) in aggregate budgets, what has our system to show for it? The Washington Office? Sure, but that was incredibly effective in the era pre-merger. Diasaster Relief? The same. The Israel Emergency Campaign? Great, but that was driven by the individual actions of 155 federations with UJC counting the money and monitoring its expenditure.
What UJC is today is nothing more than a stumbling bureaucracy that can't get out of its own way. Fund raising -- the lifeblood of federations -- has been reduced to an afterthought, marginalized notwithstanding that in every survey UJC itself has conducted over its lifespan, financial resource development assistance has been at the top of the owners', the federations', priorities for their national organization. How did we get to the point that UJC is allowed to spend in excess of $40 million per year of donors' dollars -- donors who, in the main, haven't a clue that there is a national entity out there literally throwing our money away? These will be the questions that this Blog will attempt to answer in the weeks and months ahead -- how did we get here and what are we doing about it? This is about the Emperor's New Clothes.