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Jewish Journal

Federation Cuts Allocations

by Julie Gruenbaum Fax

March 23, 2010 | 7:12 pm

The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles handed out cuts to all of the organizations it supports in the 2010 budget approved Feb. 18, a result of a challenging fundraising year and some changes by the new president, Jay Sanderson.

Sanderson, who took his post Jan. 3, had delayed final approval on the $45.8 million budget while he reviewed it. Sanderson said he made some minor adjustments but nothing far-reaching.

“We continue to be an enormous supporter of all the agencies that we fund, but, given the economy, each one of the agencies received less in 2010 than in 2009,” Sanderson said.

Sanderson set aside additional funds for cash reserves that had been depleted over the past couple of years, so that Federation has fall-back plans for community crises and emergency capital expenses. In addition, he reserved $1 million to take advantage of worthy programming opportunities that might arise midyear.

In total, Federation allocated $28 million to 400 agencies and programs locally and around the world, ranging from overseas Jewish communities to domestic violence shelters in Los Angeles.

Most agencies contacted said they had expected the cuts, which mostly ranged from 5 to 20 percent.

But some agencies felt the sting more strongly.

The allocation to the Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust was cut nearly 40 percent, bringing Federation’s contribution to the museum’s $727,000 budget to $33,460 — half of what the museum was getting five years ago, despite the fact that its operating budget has doubled in the same span.

“I think that there is a tendency in the Jewish community to want to use the Holocaust for fundraising, but there isn’t a proportional desire to actually invest in the teaching of its history and the research and the memorialization of the Holocaust,” said E. Randol Schoenberg, president of the museum’s board.

The museum is set to move into its new location in Pan Pacific Park this summer and hopes to draw 40,000 students a year. It has raised 80 percent of the $20 million construction costs. Federation did not contribute to the capital campaign, according to the museum’s executive director, Mark Rothman.

But Sanderson said Federation, which founded the museum in 1960 and ran it until 2005, remains committed to Holocaust education.

“I’m disappointed that they’re taking a negative approach to our support of the museum, considering that a vast majority of the collection is owned by Federation and we have given use of it to the museum because we are committed to furthering Holocaust education,” Sanderson said.

Sanderson said to expect big changes in the 2011 budget.

“We are starting to look at how we will transform this Federation in a way that will really make a maximum impact in the community,” he said. “Things are starting to take shape in our collective thinking, and you will see a new Federation emerging over the next six months.”

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