New Orleans Federation embarks on community strategic plan

At the MLK Day Parade in New Orleans, 2019 The Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans announced that it will be embarking on a Strategi...

At the MLK Day Parade in New Orleans, 2019
The Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans announced that it will be embarking on a Strategic Planning process this year, for the first time in over a decade.

The process, which was alluded to at the Federation’s annual event last fall, was announced in a community email by Federation Chief Executive Officer Arnie Fielkow and Board Chair Joshua Force on Jan. 23.

The process is beginning because “it is imperative that we take the time both to hear and understand our surrounding community, a community that has helped us become the organization we are today,” the email said.

A Strategic Planning Committee will be working with trepwise, a New Orleans-based growth consulting firm that has a national footprint, including working with the Jewish Federations of North America, Maccabi USA and the Jewish Design Institute, along with Tulane Hillel and Touro Synagogue.

The coming year will be spent “exploring possibilities, designing strategies, and building plans to define and fulfill our current and future role in the Greater New Orleans Community.”

The first step will be getting perspectives from a range of individuals and groups in the coming weeks, through a community-wide survey and interviews. An emphasis is being placed on reaching a “diversity of voices,” including new or currently non-involved voices.

After a “comprehensive effort” to reach out and collect feedback, data and insights, the information will be synthesized into recommendations that the committee will be able to use to design strategies for the best path forward.

In an interview, Fielkow noted that Jewish Federations have expanded beyond their traditional role of being seen as the community fundraiser, embracing many new initiatives and projects. “It’s really important that what we’re doing has the buy-in of the community and reflects the priorities of the community.”

Among recent areas are the two new Centers for Excellence that the Federation announced earlier this month, and increased advocacy work.

This process “will lay the blueprint for the next five to 10 years of our community,” Fielkow said, and will help give direction to lay and professional leadership, what the Federation’s “lanes of impact” are and how successful they are.

The Federation is a membership organization, Fielkow said, and “it isn’t up to me to tell the community what to do… I want the community to give us input.”

The last strategic plan was done in the rebuilding process after the levees broke in September 2005. The first community-wide activities took place in December of that year, and by September 2006, most programs were up and running again, with a much smaller community. The plan was started in 2007 as there were discussions of whether to downsize the community facilities to reflect a smaller community, or to embark on growing the community. Today, the community is larger than it was pre-Katrina.

The 2007 plan “was really important,” Fielkow said, but it was intended to cover the five years leading to 2012. Toward the end of that time, a demographic study of the Jewish community was done. A current strategic plan is important, "like in any good business."

The committee will work on the plan through a series of working sessions through the spring and summer.

Southern Jewish Life: New Orleans Federation embarks on community strategic plan
New Orleans Federation embarks on community strategic plan
Southern Jewish Life
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