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Board to JUF

Board to JUF

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Published by slurie4723
Letter of intention for mediation from Board to JUF. Dated March 28, 2012
Letter of intention for mediation from Board to JUF. Dated March 28, 2012

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Published by: slurie4723 on Apr 19, 2012
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March 28, 2012Skip Schrayer, ChairSteven Nasatir, PresidentJewish United Fund/Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago30 S WellsChicago, IL 60606Dear Messrs. Nasatir and Schrayer, At last night's meeting (March 27, 2012), the members of the Board of Directors of the University of Chicago Hilleldirected us to communicate the Board’s continued interest in restructuring our relationship with JUF such that theUniversity of Chicago Hillel goes forward as an independent entity and to convey the Board’s desire to try toestablish a new mutually beneficial relationship between the University of Chicago Hillel, the Federation, and theUniversity of Chicago.We are grateful for Federation’s ongoing support, but at this time we are unable to fulfill our mission if Federationwill not allow us to make budget cuts from the building management and administrative charges it controls andassesses to our Hillel. This leaves us in the position of either having a building without a program or a programwithout a building. We have explained this in great detail at our earlier meetings with you. We continue to believe that a solution exists. By restoring the corporate independence of the University of ChicagoHillel—a status that it enjoyed for most of its history and the very same status that is enjoyed by nearly every otherHillel in the country—the Board of Hillel would take steps to manage the building and the administrative needs of the organization in a more cost-effective way than is possible under the Federation system, thus maximizing theorganization’s capacity to serve students. We therefore request again that Federation agree to a working group process (with the possible participation of HillelInternational and of the University of Chicago) to effectuate Hillel’s return to corporate independence. NancyNewberger has suggested involving a neutral party to serve as a mediator, and we would be more than willing toagree to do so, both in order to honor the wishes of the family that has given so generously to the organization andbecause we believe that a mediator might give us the best chance to achieve a solution. Over the past six years, the University of Chicago Hillel has achieved enormous success, including, for example, the#1 recruitment rate for campus Birthright trips for two years in a row. More profoundly, in just a few years, we havedeveloped a new approach to student engagement that has attracted national attention far beyond the Hillel world.Over the same period, and on our own, we have more than tripled our fundraising. Unlike the budget cuts we haveproposed, you have only suggested a course of action regarding the budget that would undermine what ourremarkable staff, led by Dan Libenson, has built. We cannot accept that result. A restructuring of the Federation/Hillel relationship is therefore the best way to serve the mission of Hillel: we seekto retain our public identity as the University of Chicago Hillel, our home in the Newberger Hillel Center at 5715 SWoodlawn Ave., and the financial benefit of the endowment funds established by our donors. We believe that wehave a legal right to recoup these assets and to have Federation unwind its affairs from ours. Rather than “owning”Hillel, in our view Federation has been serving in a manner more akin to a trustee or fiscal sponsor, with ourorganization retaining its right to restore independent status. Federation, however, has stated that it is unwilling toconsider unwinding its affairs from ours and has threatened us with litigation if we use the Hillel name. But we haveno interest in wasting our time and the resources of those who support our critical work in litigation. 

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