• • ▪
A sale so big
we had to
take it outside.
Chapter of change written into president's term.
RUTH LITTMANN STAFF WRITER
ttorney David Page sits at
his 19th-century ma-
hogany desk surrounded
by antiques: a 200-year-old
grandfather clock, an old tobac-
co box and a vase from the Ori-
Relic collecting hasn't blind-
ed Mr. Page to serious issues
looming in the here-and-now. His
term as president of the Jewish
Federation of Metropolitan De-
troit (1992-1995) was rocked by
waves of change and efforts to
steer toward new policy.
"We went through some very
difficult times in the last few
years, but David didn't get lost in
whatever problems we had. He
kept us moving forward," says
Federation Vice President Pen-
The first obvious challenge sur-
faced at Borman Hall nursing
home. Violations of state health
regulations sparked controversy
over Federation's commitment to
the Jewish elderly.
Then, there was news of the
failing UHS Transportation Sys-
tem which, like Borman Hall,
shut down last year.
To complicate matters, the Al-
lied Jewish Campaign — Feder-
ation's largest annual fund-raiser
— had remained flat since the
early 1990s. It rebounded this
year, but not before several Jew-
ish agencies cut staff and services.
"I think David worked well
with those crises and strength-
ened Federation's mission," says
Robert Naftaly. "He has been a
driver toward change."
Mr. Naftaly will replace Mr.
Page as president during Feder-
ation's annual meeting, 7:15 p.m.
Oct. 2 at Adat Shalom Synagogue
in Farmington Hills.
"It's not easy to change a large
organization," says the president-
elect. "David's been the one to
help us focus on our goals and
work toward them."
In response to troubles at Bor-
man Hall, the Page administra-
tion — its staff of Federation
employees and volunteers — re-
defined the Jewish community's
responsibility toward the Jewish
aged. Delegating nursing-home
operations to private companies,
Federation narrowed its own fo-
cus to include Jewish compo-
nents: primarily, religious and
cultural programming, as well as
supervision of kosher kitchen fa-
The Page administration also
grappled with the highly con-
tested "60-40 split," a Detroit tra-
dition of sending more than half
of its Campaign dollars to Israel.
In a tug-of-war between local and
overseas needs, Federation de-
cided to alter that ratio to "57-43"
The move was dicey, leaders
The Sidewalk Sale. September 2-4.
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the outlets at
A fan of century old antiques, Mr. Page has focused on future challenges.
say. Allegiances to Israel run high
in the metro Detroit community,
and many local givers, big and
small, want their Campaign dol-
lars to target overseas causes.
The Page administration set in
place committees to gauge senti-
ment among givers and suggest
a solution that would be least
likely to foster feelings of disen-
franchisement among con-
"Change is always a scary
thing for anybody involved," Mr.
Page says. I think we were able
to effect change with minimum
amounts of anxiety."
Anticipating challenges down
the road is among the most im-
portant jobs of a leader, says Fed-
eration Executive Vice President
Bob Aronson. Three years ago,
when Mr. Page took office, he
came fresh off a committee to de-
sign a plan for the Jewish com-
"Change is always a
— David Page
munity in the 21st century. The
"Strategic Plan" called for Fed-
eration to embark on a system-
atic overhaul of many of its
longstanding fund-raising, ad-
ministrative and outreach poli-
Mr. Page, who chaired that
cn committee, says the idea was to
run Federation more like a busi-
ness. He took to the helm with
two goals in mind. The first was
8 ° to implement fiscal oversight
committees for better supervision
of monies raised, spent and al-
located by Federation. The sec-
ond was to nurture broad-based
Jewish participation in Federa-
tion activities beyond charitable
"It 's a never-ending process,
but I think we've made substan-
tial progress on both fronts in the
past three years," he says.
The Page administration also
zeroed in on ways to bolster en-
dowments and foster strong re-
lationships between Federation,
its beneficiary agencies and local
Michigan Miracle Missions to
Israel, in 1993 and 1995, plus an
impending Teen Mission, aim to
deepen cross-continental alle-
giances amongst Jews. The new
and on-going Partnership 2000
program will further that cause,
During his term in office, Mr.
Page attended early meetings,
late meetings, mid-day meetings
and many meetings, as well as