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August 01, 1986 - Image 15

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1986-08-01

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of Detroit. Feinstein noted: "What I
learned is that Detroit is a great place
to live; I just wouldn't want to visit."
He arrived in town with four
primary goals: to increase communal
fund-raising, make the endowment
program viable, develop long-range
leadership and planning, and make
Detroit a teaching federation in terms
of training young professionals in
communal service.
Three of those four goals are
"well under way," says Feinstein,
with the teaching component just get-
ting started.
In the summer of 1982, when
Feinstein arrived in Detroit, the Al-
lied Jewish Campaign was raising
about $18.5 million and several other
major Jewish funding efforts were in
full gear: Project Renewal, completion
of the Fleischman Home for the Aged
and the Holocaust Memorial Center,
and the campaign to help Israel dur-
ing the war in Lebanon. Feinstein felt
that with these five major projects,
Federation was spread too thin and he
set out to "refocus" by "re-
establishing the centrality of the Al-
lied Jewish Campaign as well as in-
crease the number of people who con-
tribute to the Campaign and raise the
quality of each gift." He noted that in
a community of some 70,000, perhaps
a few hundred are active campaigners
for Jewish causes and at least 50 of
them probably were involved in all
five efforts.
Feinstein concentrated on re-
focusing and re-organizing the Allied
Campaign and completing some of the
other major projects. "If I have any
area of expertise," said Feinstein, "it's
in long-range and strategic planning,
and with the help of a great staff and
dedicated lay leaders, we were able to
plan to raise $25 million by 1987 and
$30 million by 1990."
He helped restructure some of the
Campaign professional divisions that
had become moribund and created
new ones in fields like hi-tech and fi-
nance. He sought to bring the Cam-
paign back to basics through hands-
on, person-to-person solicitation, and
noted that 1984 Campaign chairman
Jack Robinson was instrumental in
that area.

In the area of endowments,
Feinstein persuaded former Federa-
tion president Mike Seltzer to head up
the major effort and, after studying
successful endowment programs in
Baltimore and Cleveland, they came
up with a multi-year strategy whose
key was to involve every constituent
agency of the Federation. They felt
this was crucial because otherwise
agencies would be in competition to
create their own endowment pro-
grams. By the 1984 annual Campaign
meeting, Feinstein and Seltzer had a
statement signed by the president of
every agency pledging their support
of the centralized effort.
The next stop was to approach
major contributors. Feinstein cited
Max Fisher's decision to contribute
his annual gift in perpetuity as a key
to the program's success. The endow-
ment program raised about $16 mil-
lion in 18 months, increasing from
$48 million to about $64 million in
cash, not counting pledges and letters
of intention. Feinstein is confident
that Detroit will meet and exceed its
goal of raising $100 million for the
endowment program by the mid-
A challenge of a more subtle na-
ture, dealing with relationships
rather than dollars, was how to blend
younger people and veterans in Cam-
paign leadership. Feinstein was well
aware of the concern in the commu-
nity that he and several key lay lead-
ers of his generation might not be suf-
ficiently sensitive to, or respectful of,
the older leaders in the community.
"There was a problem of disaffec-
tion initially," said Feinstein, "among
some of the veterans who were not re-
nominated to their leadership posi-
tions. But we couldn't afford to
alienate them. The younger leaders
had a genuine respect for the older
leaders. We viewed them as mentors." -
He said the disaffection ebbed: One
of the accomplishments I'm proudest
of is that we were able to blend the
older, current and future leaders."
Feinstein is proud of Federation's
60-year history and of what he refers
to as his "stewardship" these last four
years and he remains firmly commit-
ted to the concept of federation as a

quintessentially American communal
response to Jewish needs. As long as
federation is evolutionary," he says,
"and true to American ideals and
Jewish tradition, it will be responsive
and innovative."
He is trying to implement some of
those same techniques now in Los
Angeles, where he has been on the job
for a little more than a week. During
a follow-up phone conversation the
other day from his new post as head of
the Los Angeles federation, he spoke
of the challenges he now faces and
some of the differences between the
Detroit and Los Angeles organized
Jewish communities.
Los Angeles is considered the last
frontier among Jewish professionals,
a vast area with about 500,000 Jews
who are spread out and diversified
Jewishly as well as geographically.
The potential is enormous; so are the
problems. Feinstein noted, for exam-
ple, that while Detroit's Jewish com-
munity of about 70,000 has about
20,000 contributors to the Federation,
raising more than $20 million, only
about 50,000 of the half-million Jews
in Los Angeles contribute to the fed-
eration, totalling about $45 millon.
He'd soon like to see that figure reach
$75 million.
"Unlike Detroit," he said, "there's
a lot of apathy and disaffection here."
There is also a greater sense of
democracy within the federation in
Los Angeles, where leaders are cho-
sen through election campaigns
rather than consensus. Feinstein
hopes to tighten the reins a bit in
terms of establishing the federation
as the community's central address
while fostering that history of democ-
He will be seeking to build credi-
bility and a new image for federation.
And Detroit will serve as his model
for what can be achieved.
"The Detroit community has a
caliber of professional and lay leaders
who are able to spend community
money in the most thoughtful, intelli-
gent way. And that's very rare. I've
been away too briefly to be nostalgic
yet, but I feel strongly that Detroit is,
can be and will be a leading Jewish
community in this country." 11

Wayne Feinstein
looks back
on his
here as
he faces the
of the
Los Angeles


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