In Baltimore, for 16 consecutive yearsâ?? which included the period after September 11â?? The Associated: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore's revenues increased so dependably that even in the most uncertain times the federation was able to meet its agencies' basic needs. So the pain was especially acute when, in allocating funds for the 2003-2004 fiscal year, the Associated was forced to retrench, anticipating a 6% aggregate reduction in funds available for allocation to local agencies. Indeed, the crisis tested our strength as an agency network, as a federation, and as a Jewish community. In the process we gained valuable insight into agency-federation relationshipsâ?? into what contributes to excellence, what most benefits the Jewish community, and what must be improved.