JFNA, JAFI, JDC agree to continue cooperating


NEW YORK (JTA) — The Jewish Federations of North America and its two overseas partners have agreed to continue working together to try to raise more money for overseas needs and to find a better way to split what they raise.

JFNA, the Jewish Agency and the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee met Monday at the New York offices of JFNA in an attempt to solve their continuing struggle over how much each of the two overseas organizations should take home from the federations’ annual campaigns.

The JDC and the Jewish Agency have been negotiating for nearly two years over how to divide what is now about $130 million in unrestricted funds that the federations raise for overseas needs each year.

Traditionally, the agency has taken home about 75 percent and JDC about 25 percent. JDC has become adamant that that formula is no longer appropriate, while the Jewish Agency is trying to preserve it. The disagreement has become particularly heated in recent weeks as the JDC has taken the aggressive stance that if the federations don’t change the formula, the JDC will simply raise money in the federations’ backyards. JDC outlined the strategy in a memo to its board laying out a series of suggestions revamping the organization’s fund-raising strategy.

The memo rankled the federations, who insisted that JDC remove the suggestions from its document or the JFNA would end negotiations between the three parties. When the JDC acquiesced last week at its own board meetings, the three parties agreed to sit down Monday for a regularly scheduled negotiation session.

According to a statement signed by the top lay leaders at each organization, released late Monday after the three sides met, the three organizations  will continue to negotiate and will try to work together to help the federations raise more money for overseas needs.

The three “agreed to pursue a framework to revitalize Jewish Federation collective overseas funding for Israel and Jews worldwide,” the statement said, adding that “the three organizations agreed to continue studying key proposals to increase funding for overseas needs.”

“We came together in a collaborative process, and we are going to move ahead in a positive and constructive manner,” said Kathy Manning, chair of the Jewish Federations of North America, and Jerry Silverman, president and CEO of JFNA. “We will continue our discussions, and ultimately we remain unified in our goal of more effectively meeting Jewish needs worldwide.”

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