SUCCESS AT A PRICE; 10% Deficit Analysis and Rationale for Relief Funding
Peace Child Israel’s annual budget has been in the area of $200,000 for the past five years. This figure reflects what the organization was able to secure in funding, rather than the potential volume of activity. In each of the past five cycles, there has been a necessity to abandon intentions to initiate the program in at least 2-3 locations at the beginning of each cycle (September).
The organization’s budget is based on an August thru July activity year, with intensive staff training in August. In September of any given year, risk-taking is unavoidable, since numerous appeals to funders do not coincide with the organization’s activity year. Peace Child Israel is generally very conservative in its risk-taking. The custom is to rely on a total of only 50% of the outstanding appeals. Despite the penchant for conservative fiscal management, the organization is 10% in deficit. When working on a year-to-year basis, as this organization must, there are no reserves, and the sum of $20,000 – a modest figure in the true scheme of things – becomes monumentally critical in such a context.
Peace Child Israel is always searching for new granting sources and in 2003 was greatly appreciative of the support of the EED/Middle East Desk, a new contributor, which became its major donor, as well as two other new sources. However, there were also two instances that were considered very reliable which went astray: Peretz-Naftali Foundation (which is going through a transition after the major donor passed away in December 2003) and The Ted Arison Family Foundation (which folded when Ms. Sheri Arison left Israel). The figure that was expected from these two sources ($40,000) is twice the amount of the 10% deficit that the organization has accrued, reflecting the strategy of always assuming an income of 50% less than the amount submitted to donors.
The Field Work
The “excuse” for going over-budget cannot, however, be placed solely at the door of the risk-taking. Peace Child Israel has had quite a miraculous year, particularly in light of the odds against dialogue. However, the success is directly proportionate to the investment that was made, in terms of energy, personnel and field mechanisms that were instituted. The areas of over-extension are, mainly:
Peace Child greatly increased the processes with adults, both with preparation in schools before recruitment and with the parents of the participants at each of the five sites where the program was implemented. In two cases, in Jerusalem and in the Emek Hefer-Kfar Zemmer partnership, six meetings were provided for an extended process with the parents. In the other three locations, the parents met three times during the year, once unilaterally and twice bilaterally. The facilitation staff designated to work with adults was specially prepared and provided with professional supervision.
Schools were always in a position of identifying a faculty member to accompany the group and in securing additional hours from the Ministry of Education to cover these costs. This is no longer a viable solution and in 3 of the 5 cases, Peace Child Israel was liable for the compensation of the school liaisons, which was not budgeted. In one case, Jerusalem, the liaison from Issawye school also organized and was present at the six parents meetings for the purpose of translation.
In the case of the Jerusalem and Ramle-Lod groups, the transportation cost was absorbed by Peace Child. This was unforeseen in the budget planning and became necessary when the Issawiye schools (girls and boys) of east Jerusalem became the partners in a last minute change of venue, and when the Ramle Municipality informed Peace Child, in December 2003 that it would not be able to support the program with the $3,300 which it had hoped to provide.
Meeting Space Rental
In the case of the group in the central region and the sensitivity of being so close to the “seam” (“green line”) the usual circumstance of weekly meetings once at the Jewish school and once at the Arab school had to be forfeited in favor of holding every meeting at a “neutral” location. Givat Haviva was the location of choice, however it was another non-budgeted expense. The parents meetings – the other of the elongated programs – also took place at Givat Haviva, as did the play, but all at a cost.
Rehearsal Weekends and Field Trips
One major source of bonding is the field trips, where the teenagers enjoy getting out of the usual framework and where they meet counterparts from other locations. In January 2004 all five groups met at the Tel Aviv Performing Arts Center. In late February and March, the groups went for an over-night (2 days) meeting for jump-starting the rehearsal process. Ramle-Lod and Emek Hefer/Kfar Zemmer met in Caesarea and the Jerusalem, Misgav/Sakhnin and Dir el-Assad/Karmiel groups convened in Tiberius. The participants contributed a nominal amount to the cost, and the cost was greater than budgeted. However the group bonding was invaluable.
Regrets? Not really. Only at being in the awkward position of having to plea for help. Administration costs do not manifest any over-spending to speak of; the deviation from the budget is reflected nearly exclusively in the fieldwork. None of the mechanisms were luxuries or superfluous. They are what guaranteed the five groups, which started the year, to end it in one piece and with a show being mounted. Three intend to continue meeting. The parental involvement in support of the teens’ processes and the development of relationships at the adult-level are something that the organization hopes to enhance even further rather than regrets. However, this mechanism cost nearly three times what was budgeted.
Nearly half of the $20,000 deficit has been secured:
The Feldman Foundation - $5,000
Private Donors - $3,500
Income from an anonymous source in Switzerland, allocated for summer staff training, has also been re-allocated to cover a portion of the deficit. However, without further assistance, the new staff, and the veterans, will be ill-prepared for the genuine challenges they face in the 2004-2005 cycle.
Any and all assistance that would be considered is deeply appreciated.
Melisse Lewine-Boskovich, Managing Director.
Jerusalem Post Coverage of Peace Child Israel
New Israel Fund USA Web Site New Israel Fund - Israel Web Site
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Peace Child Israel
P.O. Box 57431 Tel Aviv, 61573
Tel: (972-3) 730-0481 Fax: (972-3) 730-0695
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