You may recall that when Jerry-being-Jerry was still unaware of what JFNA would be, his predecessor, demanding absolute fealty, began constructively terminating the entire Financial Resource Development professional staff. One after another, superb professionals were forced out -- each of whom landed on her/his feet, thank G-d, and each has proved their professional brilliance in other venues. To demonstrate how totally removed JFNA distanced itself from its core responsibilities to "raise more dollars/more donors," that CEO, before his contract was not renewed, placed FRD in the hands of the professional leader of what was then "UJC Consulting."
And...then came Silverman.
Jerry Silverman continued the emasculation of continental fund raising, rebranding it as "Philanthropic Resources," assuring that the organization was only in charge of cheer leading, and leaving the professional void to fester and grow. Then, as if there had been some message from on high, JFNA announced the hiring of, first, Matt Freedman, an experienced campaigner from the Baltimore federation, and Dr. Rueben Romirowsky, from the New York UJA-Federation. Yet, these two pros had to make it up as they went along -- there was no leadership to offer them guidance or support their efforts. Last year, Freedman left and, now...
...on two weeks notice, after professionally leading the JFNA 2015 Campaign Chairs/Campaign Directors Mission, Dr. Rueben Romirowsky, Senior Vice-President, Philanthropic Resources, appeared to have been summarily terminated, told to vacate his office two weeks later. Now, I don't know if Rueben was doing a great or competent or terrible job -- I do know that he never had a chance with a CEO who viewed FRD as an after-thought in a system that desperately needs a vital continental FRD effort. And, then, two weeks to vacate his office? How about two weeks for "Jerry-being-Jerry" vacating his?
Silverman, in announcing Romirowsky's departure,* endorsed the engagement of Vicki Agron, once the Continental system's professional leader of Financial Resource Development, to ostensibly lead a consulting effort to try to make sense out of the moribund JFNA FRD effort:
"A consultant to or having advised scores of local, national and international Jewish non-profits, Vicki comes well prepared for this consulting assignment. We look forward to her help in building a top notch team and aligning JFNA’s fundraising support services to meet Federation needs that will serve us well into the future. She will begin on August 3."**I wish Vicki every success just as I predicted on these pages the disaster her departure from JFNA in 2008 meant for FRD in the organization. But will she be able to "...help in building a top notch team and aligning JFNA's fundraising support services to meet federation needs" when those she may try to attract realize that they will be reporting, ultimately, to Jerry "We-Don't-Raise-No-Money-and-Never-Will" Silverman?
Upon discovering this latest example of dysfunction at 25 Broadway, one clever Blog Commentator wrote:
"FedWorld July 28 2015 NewsFlash
"JFNA's roadmap to fundraising has been paved. Agron is Back! Yes, Vicki Agron is back on the team and disco is en vogue. Agron will be flanked by Max Kleinman, retired CEO of MetroWest and Bob Aronson, the same from Detroit. What a team!! Jerry, you got vision! It's been heard that Jeronamoe is in the process of bringing back Elton Kerness and David Agronin. Stanley Horowitz was unavailable. What's old is new. Now that's a Fedovation! Hashem help us."These names brought back many memories. Then...I thought, how cynical it is that Silverman, knowing that now that there is no one populating FRD at JFNA, reaches out to Vicki Agron so that he can claim that he has "a plan;" when, of course, he, as always, has none. Absolutely none. And, you, Michael Siegal, do you have even a clue at how you continue to be played? Do you read what's on the Memos/Briefings you sign?
When JFNA reached out to Fort Worth's Harold Gernsbacher, a truly good man, as National Campaign Chair, I don't know what Harold was promised, but, whatever it was, here's what he's got -- a totally defenestrated FRD/Philanthropic Resources Department with, allegedly, a huge budget...and no staff. The JFNA 2015-2016 Budget allocated $17,718,000 to "FRD Impact Program Expenses." With no staff. "Inspiring Major Gifts" alone would double under that Budget to $7,000,000. With no staff.*** A joke. It appeared to this writer that all JFNA did was take a Financial Resource Development "Business Plan" drafted by a National Campaign Chair with no evident engagement in National Campaign planning or execution (he was not even on the JFNA Campaign Cabinet) and incorporated it into the JFNA Budget as if it were real...that may have made the National Campaign Chair feel great; but it...meant...nothing.
And...here is where JFNA stands: it has no senior professionals in Financial Resource Development; the Senior professional at the Network...gone; the long-serving Senior professional of Planned Giving and Endowment...gone -- there is nobody home...nobody. It is as if Rieger and Silverman (the latter with the connivance of Paul Kane -- finally we know what Kane was doing there) decided to destroy the Continental FRD effort -- one, Rieger, with intent; the other, Silverman, through willful negligence. Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall....Never have so few done so so much damage to so many.
Based on the evidence that the worse Jerry Silverman does, the more he deserves, let's give "Jerry-being-Jerry" another contract extension.
* For reasons unclear, both Silverman and Michael Siegal sent out the identical letter over their respective signatures to apparently different constituencies.
** It is unbelievable but Silverman/Siegal announced that Vicki Agron will begin her consulting role on August 3 -- Reuben Romirowsky vacates his office on August 2. I guess to the master mismanager this is "continuity."
*** There is one senior campaign staffer remaining at 25 Broadway -- Beverly Woznica, who leads the "Recognition Societies" effort, a superb professional,