Comments from Tom Freudenheim
The Foundation has done extraordinary things, but a reality check is in order to understand that organizations which can’t be funded may have to face that fact. Under Elise Bernhardt’s direction we got out of our deficit situation, yet even with the enthusiastic support of the artistic community we never were able to sustain and really fund an organization – as distinct from programs, which are (and may well remain) fundable. Remember that the Federations used to pick up the lion’s share of the bill, and that’s simply no longer the case.
But let’s not wring our hands. Jewish culture lives! That’s not in question. It’s kind of sad that Jewish culture has to live in spite of, rather than because of, the support of the organized Jewish community. Nevertheless, reality checks are important.
I do, in fact, still believe that, given our amazing track record, we should declare victory and call it a day. Spending more money to manage cultural activities than can be spent supporting creative people is unconscionable. And in my opinion it’s very much to the credit of Elise and the FJC board that they have come to that conclusion as well.