Monday, January 14, 2008

There's No dues Like No Dues

These can't be the best of times at Disunited Jewish Communities, but your bloggers agree it's the worst. Now, on top of losing critical Senior Managers one after the other; on top of promoting a dictated "Organizational Strategy" that can't possibly move the organization forward but is presented as the best thing since Saran Wrap, federations of all City-sizes are not just protesting their super sized dues, they have decided not to pay them in whole or in part.

Some examples, you ask:

  • South Palm Beach County. This southeast Florida Federation, headquartered in Boca Raton, sought hardship relief from UJC arising out of, among other things, uninsured costs of hurricane damage to multiple facilities. When UJC leadership determined that the community's wealth, successful annual campaigns and unwillingness to borrow to meet its "obligations" in a decision smacking of arrogance and noblesse oblige, UJC denied the community any relief. The community is currently paying its dues but had advised UJC that it will not be bound by any dues decision for 2008-2009.
  • Palm Beach County a major partner in UJC has advised the national organization that it will not pay any increased dues to UJC and demands a complete review of the UJC budget which has begun an upward "creep" dictated top-down. The home of top leadership of the JDC and Jewish Agency, it has been visited by Messrs. Rieger and Kanfer who lectured the federation on its responsibilities. South Palm Beach has been constantly threatened with membership termination.
  • Detroit. One of the strongest, most tight-knit of federations, Detroit advised UJC over 2 years ago that it would limit its dues payments going forward to $1 million per year unless the dues formula was changed from its current strict emphasis on annual campaign achievement, the organization reformed itself to engage with both the federations' needs and with its obligations to its overseas partners, among other thins. Getting annual promises from UJC that something would be done to meet Detroit's dues concerns, but no action, and after many, many meetings, promises and threats, in 2007 Detroit began transmitting its overseas payments directly to JAFI and JDC fearing that UJC would make up budget shortfalls out of allocations intended for The Jewish Agency and the Joint -- something UJC has promised not to do.

There are more, many more -- what you read here are, from what we are hearing inside the hallowed halls of 111 Eighth Avenue, the tip of a growing iceberg (even in this time of global warming). UJC's leadership's idea of "federation engagement" is to visit with federations when their dues are threatened. So, if you want a visit from Howard, Kathy, Joe or Michael Gelman (and who wouldn't), just let them know your federation will/can no longer pay its dues; they will down shortly thereafter promising "things will change," then proposing increasing the dues for, e.g., a vital $845,000 branding research project.

When they come to see you, say hello for us, the neglected boys/girls of UJC

1 comment:

elaygee said...

Refrain from having any pity for South Palm Beach County, home of "I was no one where I came from but I'm a macher down here"

Even if one of those ubiquitous Florida sink holes opened and swallowed the whole damned thing, the earth would probably spit it back up and ask for mouthwash.