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What You Need to Know About the BSA’s Financial Situation

By now, many of you have probably seen or heard the recent news reports speculating that the National Council of the Boy Scouts of America (“National BSA”) is considering filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, which allows reorganization under the bankruptcy laws of the United States.

National BSA has shared with all local councils that they are exploring a number of options regarding a financial restructuring of National BSA, but no imminent actions or immediate decisions are forthcoming at this time.

We want to assure you that Scouting locally in the New Birth of Freedom Council is strong.  The New Birth of Freedom Council and National BSA are separate organizations and our Council receives no funding from the national organization.  The responsibility for the Council’s annual operating budget and other assets (endowments, offices and camps) are ours locally. 

Below are a few facts about the New Birth of Freedom Council:

  • The New Birth of Freedom Council is an independent 501(c)(3) entity incorporated in Pennsylvania. Our camps, our council service centers, our bank funds and investments are owned and controlled locally by the New Birth of Freedom Council.
  • Our Council receives no funding from the National BSA organization. In fact, we pay fees to National BSA as a part of our charter agreement and for specific services. We receive value back from the national organization, but we operate as a financially independent, not-for-profit organization.
  • The nature of the relationship for a council with the national BSA organization is that our Council is the holder of a charter to conduct the Boy Scouts of America programs in our defined territory.
  • Friends of Scouting (FOS) and other financial contributions to our Council stay in our Council.  Contributions to our Council go to support delivery of our own Council’s programs and services to our own Scouts.
  • We partner with National BSA for business purposes includes things such as several insurance programs, services for IT, and expertise related to camping, youth protection and so on.  Importantly, our local council employee benefits, such as healthcare and retirement, are funded by each council but through programs offered by National BSA. 

The future of the New Birth of Freedom Council is bright and exciting! We will end 2018 with growth in our youth membership for the first time in several years, serving close to 9,000 youth. Our programming will go on uninterrupted regardless of what, if any, financial restructuring the National BSA pursues.

With your continued support for our Friends of Scouting annual campaign and other fund-raising efforts, we will continue to offer Scouting to an expanding group of truly terrific young people. It is our hope that the National BSA organization can navigate the difficult waters that many organizations face, while our Council continues its focus on bringing high-quality and safe programs to all of the youth in each of the neighborhoods we serve.

Thank you for your continued support, help and leadership.

Best wishes for a very Happy New Year!

Ronald M. Gardner, Jr.
Scout Executive & CEO

What Leaders Need to Know Regarding Media Speculation About the BSA’s Financial Situation

From Scouting Magazine blog – December 14, 2018

News broke last week speculating on the financial situation of the Boy Scouts of America, including a suggestion that the organization may be considering the option of bankruptcy.

While that headline sounds startling, here’s the reality: Scouts, parents and adult volunteers can (and should) keep on enjoying the same great Scouting program uninterrupted.

On Wednesday, Chief Scout Executive Mike Surbaugh shared on his blog that “our daily mission will continue and that there are no imminent actions or immediate decisions expected.”

In other words, this weekend’s camping trip? Still a go. Next month’s Pinewood Derby? Green light. Next summer’s World Scout Jamboree at the Summit Bechtel Reserve? Bring it on.

Your council’s upcoming Friends of Scouting campaign will happen as usual, as well. Which reminds me: Funds you donate to your local council through FOS stay local.

This is all meant to remind you that young people are counting on leaders like you. That hasn’t changed.

These young people committed their time and resources to joining your pack, troop or crew. Nothing should, or will, stand in your way as you deliver on that commitment. The BSA will be here to support you and your Scouts’ journey through this great movement.

So what’s next? That’s all I know right now, but Surbaugh assured us that the organization will “communicate transparently as there are developments or updates to share.”

BSA’s commitment to keeping children safe

Even as the BSA works with experts to address our financial future, the organization is committed to “fairly compensate victims who suffered abuse during their time in Scouting,” Surbaugh wrote.

“As you all know, we have always taken care of victims — we believe them, we believe in fairly compensating them and we have paid for unlimited counseling, by a provider of their choice, regardless of the amount of time that has passed since an instance of abuse,” he wrote.

Surbaugh continued that, “throughout our history we have taken proactive steps to help victims heal and prevent future abuse. I want to stress that at no time in our history have we knowingly allowed a sexual predator to work with youth, and we always seek to act swiftly when alerted to abuse allegations.”

Scouting is more important now than ever. And with the BSA’s move to welcome girls, there’s real momentum.

Scouting is 108 years strong, and everyone — from volunteers to professionals — is working hard to ensure the BSA is around for the next 108 years and beyond to continue serving the youth of our nation.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Has the BSA declared bankruptcy?

No. The BSA is working with internal and external experts to explore all options available. All potential paths under consideration will ensure that the BSA has a long and bright future and that all local and national programming will continue uninterrupted.

Q: What would happen if the BSA does decide to file for bankruptcy?

We want to reemphasize that no decision has been made. If we do decide to pursue a restructuring, you can be sure that our life-changing Scouting program will go forth uninterrupted.

Q: How will this impact our Scouts and leaders?

Our Scouts and leaders will not be impacted. Every possibility being explored will ensure that the local and national programming of the Boy Scouts of America continues uninterrupted.

Q: What does this mean for our council assets?

Councils are independent non-profit organizations. We own and control our camps, council service centers, bank funds and investments.

Q: What should we be doing now?

Our job today is exactly the same as it was yesterday. We have an important duty, and an incredible opportunity, to focus as an organization on keeping children safe, supported and protected, and preparing youth for their futures through our nation’s foremost program of character development and values-based leadership training.

As an organization, our focus must be to:

  1. Build upon the momentum we have already experienced this year with new members,
  2. Plan and implement a successful launch of Scouts BSA to welcome boys and girls into the program in February, and
  3. Support our fundraising efforts to ensure our continued ability to deliver Scouting to our communities

Keep the momentum going and stay focused on what really matters: delivering the Scouting program to youth in our communities.

Q: What does this mean for Friends of Scouting contributions?

Friends of Scouting (FOS) and other financial contributions to our Council stay in our Council. Contributions to our Council go to support delivery of our own Council’s program and services to our own Scouts.

Our Council is an independent not-for-profit organization that is incorporated locally. We own and control our camps, council service centers, bank funds and investments.

The nature of the relationship between councils and the national BSA organization is that we are the holder of a charter to conduct the Boy Scouts of America programs in our defined territory. Our Council receives no funding from the national organization; in fact, we pay fees to national BSA as a part of our charter agreement and for specific services. Councils receive value back from the national organization, but we operate as a financially independent not-for-profit organization.

Q: What is the BSA doing to protect Scouts from abuse?

Nothing is more important than the safety and protection of children in our Scouting programs– It is our top priority. Many years ago, we adopted some of the strongest barriers to child abuse found in any youth-serving organization, and we take the responsibility to uphold those barriers seriously. From completing our youth protection training, to adhering to policy and reporting the suspicion of abuse, we all are vital in helping keep kids safe.

The BSA is also committed to helping abuse victims heal. We have always taken care of victims – we believe them, we believe in fairly compensating them, and we have paid for unlimited counseling for abuse victims and their families by a provider of their choice, regardless of the amount of time that has passed since an instance of abuse. We require no proof; a victim need only make a request.

Q: What is the future of our national high adventure bases?

Properties are where the program is delivered. The BSA considers its national high adventure bases to be of paramount importance and a pivotal part of Scouting’s future.

Q: Is the BSA still paying its commitments to vendors?

While we are considering all options, we have always upheld our payment and contractual obligations. We are the same organization today as we were yesterday, and we will be the same organization tomorrow. All of our operations are continuing uninterrupted.

Q: What is the future of the BSA?

All of the options under consideration ensure that the BSA has a long and bright future and that all local and national programming will continue uninterrupted.

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