[Archived from February 06, 2009]
The reality facing Jewish Louisville is our community is changing. Fewer Jews are affiliated with the Jewish community than in the past, and we are older than we were a generation ago. Most of our agencies are dealing with financial challenges, and many of our communal facilities are aging and in need of repair.
But our Louisville Jewish community also has a strong, resilient core that is committed to addressing the challenges we face head on, re-envisioning the community to meet the needs of tomorrow, reshaping it to achieve fiscal stability and infusing it with energy and life.
This core has come together as Yachad Kadima – Together Forward, and it is charged with bringing the Jewish Community Center and the Jewish Community Federation together as a single agency, governed by a unified community board, that will deliver high-quality Jewish experiences, drawing on the best of both agencies and responding to the community’s changing needs.
Today, each agency has its own culture, mission and objectives. Lay leaders and staff from both agencies have been meeting regularly to develop an appropriate plan, and progress has been made. However, even under the best of circumstances, it is difficult to bring such divergent groups together.
To ensure the success of the consolidation, Yachad Kadima is seeking to engage an outside consultant to facilitate the process to assure the best possible outcome.
The facilitator would have to invest a significant amount of time to develop a thorough understanding of the community in order to guide the process appropriately in addition to make several trips to Louisville to work with all parties involved.
Securing the right person for the position is critical to the success of the consolidation, and this will require a significant investment during a time when community dollars are extremely limited. To cover the cost, the Federation requested help in the form of grants from organizations that promote community development and support efforts like this one.
United Jewish Communities (UJC), the Federation’s parent organization has agreed to provide a grant of $30,000 that will cover a significant portion of this expense. Additional support is needed, so the Federation has applied for a grant from a second organization, but is ready to move forward now.
“We are grateful for the helping hand extended by UJC to help us make this important project a success,” said Yachad Kadima Co-Chair David Kaplan. “I believe that with the help of an outside consultant, we will be able to make complex decisions more quickly and streamline our committee process. My goal is to quickly complete our interviews and bring the right person on board to assist us as soon as possible.”
Yachad Kadima began last September with a community-wide meeting to look at a successful consolidation model from another community, and continued with a community-wide summit in October that brought together people from all Louisville’s Jewish agencies and synagogues to dream about what could be and build a consensus for change.
At that summit, the overall Yachad Kadima Committee, co-chaired by Doug Gordon and Julie Temes Ellis, appointed by the JCC, and David Kaplan and Helene Kramer Longton, appointed by the Federation, began to meet and subcommittees to address governance and legal issues, short-term finances, programming, facilities, philanthropy, operations and administration were formed. Those committees have been meeting regularly.
By engaging a consultant at this point, the Yachad Kadima leadership hopes to move the process forward quickly so consolidation of the two agencies will become a reality in a few months.
Funding for the grant from UJC comes from the UJC Consulting Grants program for intermediate and small Jewish federations. Its purpose is to enable federations to purchase services that make lasting and substantive improvements in performance so they can more effectively build community and develop financial resources.
Grants from this fund range from $7,500-$50,000; and all proposals for grants over $30,000 require a 10 percent match from the federations that receive them.