[by Shiela Steinman Wallace, Editor]
When the Jewish Community of Louisville’s Planning and Allocations Committee began to craft its recommendations for the allocation of funds for fiscal 2014, $2 million had been raised during the 2013 Annual Campaign, and that was the number the committee used as a starting point for its work.
Additional pledges are continuing to come in, Campaign Chair Karen Abrams reported, and if sufficient additional funds are raised that have the potential to enhance community programs, the committee will reconvene to make recommendations on allocating the additional funds.
Where Funds Go
Funds raised by the Campaign support a wide variety of services and programs in Louisville, North America, Israel and around the world.
Locally, funds go to Jewish Family & Career Services, Louisville Beit Sefer Yachad, the Temple Hebrew School, the High School of Jewish Studies, and the Jewish Community of Louisville for its many programs including the Jewish Community Center, Hillel, the Jewish Community Relations Council and Community. The Campaign also provides support to Chavurat Shalom, the Vaad Hakashruth and National Council of Jewish Women.
See full article on What Campaign Dollars Do at the JCC.
Ensuring Fiscal Integrity
The JCL has historically allocated money based on the amounts donors pledged to the Annual Campaign. Once the allocations to the agencies have been approved by the Board, they have been paid to the agencies as approved. Each year, some money raised by the Annual Campaign has been designated to cover pledges that are uncollected.
“For the Campaign years 2012 and 2011,” JCL Vice President and CFO Ed Hickerson explained, “the amount the JCL paid to the agencies to fulfill the allocations approved by our Board exceeded the cash we actually collected.” The JCL covered the difference through cuts to its own budget.
“To ensure that this type of situation won’t recur,” Hickerson continued, “the JCL Board of Directors instructed the Planning and Allocations Committee to hold back 10 percent of the pledges received for the 2013 Campaign.” That left $1.8 million for the committee to allocate to Louisville’s constituent agencies.
“If the cash actually received,” Hickerson continued, “exceeds the fiscal 2014 allocations, then the Planning and Allocations Committee may consider allocating the additional funds. This practice helps assure that the amounts paid out do not exceed the amounts received. This will help put the JCL on a more stable financial footing moving forward.”
If the amounts collected significantly exceed the amounts allocated and if they come in early enough in this fiscal year to make a difference, the Planning and Allocations Committee will reconvene to decide on the allocation of the additional funds. If the amount collected exceeds the amounts allocated by a small amount or if the additional funds come in late in the fiscal year, that amount will be added to the allocable dollars for the 2014-15 fiscal year.
How Decisions Are Made
Since the total amount available to allocate this year was approximately $130,000 less than what was allocated the previous year, difficult decisions had to be made. To ensure that those decisions are made fairly, the Planning and Allocations Committee members are drawn from across the community.
This year, the Planning and Allocations Committee included Chair Jay Klempner, Vice Chair Leon Wahba, Jon Fleischaker, Harry Geller, Lance Gilbert, Jane Goldstein, Ralph Green, Dennis Hummel, David Klein, Paul Margulis, Ellen Rosenbloom, Susan Rudy, Hunt Schuster, Judy Sharp, and Jacob Wishnia.
The committee met over several months, developing a thorough understanding of each agency and its funding request. Committee members considered how each program serves community priorities; effectiveness; other funding sources; structure, support and involvement of its Board; planning; size and growth potential; sustainability; and responsiveness to prior Planning and Allocations Committee recommendations and concerns.
Before allocations were granted, each requesting entity submited a formal request for funding. The committee reviewed each request and asked for clarifications and additional materials needed for a thorough, fair and equitable evaluation.
Each requesting entity was invited to make a face-to-face presentation to the committee to showcase its programs and needs and engage in dialogue with committee members.
The committee reviewed all information in light of community priorities, then made its decisions. Those decisions were reviewed to ensure that the final allocations recommendations are based on full information and understanding, fairness, equity and an appreciation of the impact of the requesting entities’ work.
The committee’s recommendations were approved unanimously and sent to the JCL’s Executive Committee and Board of Directors where they were reviewed. The Executive Committee approved the report unanimously and the Board approved it by an overwhelming majority.
Each committee member took the responsibility seriously, invested many hours to ensure each entity was treated fairly and made decisions based on community priorities.
The biggest change this year comes in the area of Jewish education. In the past, the JCL provided allocations to Louisville Beit Sefer Yachad, The Temple Hebrew School and the High School of Jewish Studies and each school decided how to use these resources.
This year, with a goal of ensuring that Jewish education is available to every Jewish student, regardless of the family’s ability to pay, the committee recommended that the allocation move from fully-funding the education agencies’ requests to funding scholarships for students-in-need through an additional allocation.
Recognizing that this is a significant change from what has been done in the past, the Planning and Allocations Committee made the 2013-14 fiscal year a year of transition and recommended allocations for each school of approximately half what they requested. The committee also recommended a $40,000 allocation for scholarships.
When a school identifies a student who needs financial aid, the school can file a request and the scholarship money will be released. This year, all the schools will make their own decisions on awarding scholarships.
“Over next year,” Klempner said, “our committee is going to be discussing how financial aid will be further administered to the schools. It could possibly be done in a confidential manner through an independent entity like Jewish Family and Career Service that does so in a confidential manner for the JCC.”
All the schools, Klempner explained, “are important to Jewish education – every last one of them. Our issues are with the financial sustainability of each individual school,” he explained. “Their associated synagogues must be financially responsible for how they’re providing their service.”
“Over the past three years,” Klempner continued, the committee’s focus has been on discussing “with each of the schools their financial responsibilities to provide Hebrew and Jewish Education. … I want to encourage the schools to continue to provide good programs and services for the children and to continue to be fiscally responsible in generating enough revenue to cover their expenses without being dependent on the Annual Federation Campaign to supplement a shortfall in revenues.
“I want to emphasize,” he added, “the community has Jewish education as a priority, but Jewish education can mean other things in addition to Hebrew School and Sunday School.”
Jewish Community of Louisville
The Jewish Community of Louisville absorbed the biggest cut – more than $92,000 in its basic allocation. Last year, it received $1,215,000 plus $30,000 for teen programming. This year, it received $1,132,743 plus $10,000 each for the Jewish Community Relations Council and Hillel.
The Planning and Allocations Committee designated specific funding for the Jewish Community Relations Council and Hillel because the group sees the two as critical services provided by the JCL and committee members felt strongly that JCRC and Hillel “are performing so well that we want to ensure the momentum continues and they will be there for Jewish college students” and advocates for the Jewish community, Klempner said.
Through the Jewish Community Center, the Jewish Federation of Louisville, the Jewish Foundation of Louisville, the Jewish Community Relations Council, Hillel and Community, the JCL provides many services to the community (see story, page 10). It is also working hard to maximize other sources of revenue, including memberships, program fees, sponsorships and grants, to reduce its draw on community resources.
“What the public needs to know with discussions held at the Planning and Allocations Committee,” Klempner explained, “is that the JCL is no more important nor less important than anybody else asking for money. They are asked the same hard questions everyone else is asked. … The Annual Campaign is not the JCL campaign and the JCL cannot expect to come each year and ask for more money.”
With fewer dollars available to allocate, Klempner said, “almost everybody received less except Jewish Family and Career Services. They received the same as last year,” he stated, “because they help in all the areas that are the priorities that govern the Planning and Allocations Committee. They are also the most susceptible to the drastic reduction of grants from the sequestration.”
JFCS serves people in every age group across the entire Jewish community, he pointed out, and “its services meet community needs that are continuing to grow because of cuts to the economic safety net. JFCS provides services to those who are in crisis and those who are hungry.”
“Obviously when you have less money to allocate,” Klempner continued, “and your purpose is still to provide continuing services and programs and funds to quality programs and other entities, … hard decisions have to be made on where you get the biggest bang for your buck.”
While most local groups received less than they did last year, local, regional, national and international agencies received less, too. The allocation for the Jewish Federations of North America’s (JFNA) Israel and overseas was $110,000, down $8,000 from last year; and no money was allocated for missions. The Agency Alliance and the regional Hillel Consortium also received less and supplemental funding for the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, beyond what it receives from the Agency Alliance, was cut.
The only allocation for a national organization that increased was the one for the Foundation for Jewish Camp, which provides scholarships to enable children, including several from Louisville, to attend Jewish overnight camps. That allocation increased by $3,500.
A full list of allocations for the 2013-14 fiscal year can be found here.
“We had nearly $130,000 less to allocate this year than last,” Klempner said. “We paid close attention to what’s going on in Louisville. There are some good programs and services we want to continue to fund, and we felt that a reduction in overseas support was warranted.
“Just because a program, entity or service had their funding reduced doesn’t mean the committee felt it wasn’t good. We believe all programs and entities are doing a good job,” he continued, “but when you don’t have the money to allocate hard decisions must be made.”
The community needs to realize, Klempner added, that “the Campaign is not an entitlement.”
A stronger Federation Campaign in 2014 can ensure that next year more money will be available and the committee will be able to increase funding for worthy services and programs.
“We had a great committee with phenomenal participation,” Klempner concluded. “The members were involved, asked thoughtful questions and had uninhibited discussions.
“It truly was amazing how close everybody was when asked to put down individual Zllocations,” he observed. “When we compared our recommendations, everybody ended up pretty much on the same page.”