I read and hear many people refer to BSA as a corporation and it seems to imply that BSA must function like McDonalds opening new locations and closing or selling others based on maximizing shareholder’s value.
However, BSA is more accurately described as a Not For Profit Corporation. “The National Council is incorporated as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and is funded from private donations, membership dues, corporate sponsors, and special events. In 2005, the BSA ranked as the twelfth-largest non-profit organization in the U.S., with total revenues of $665.9 million.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boy_Scouts_of_America
On BSA’s own website it also says that “It is a not-for-profit private corporation.” http://usscouts.org/aboutbsa/bsaorg.asp A nonprofit is by definition “not established for the purpose of making a profit; not entered into for money: a nonprofit institution.” Dictionary.com. Yes the Executive Board needs to be fiscally responsibly, but they should look at the non-financial considerations when looking at these “real estate assets”. They were often donated and purchased with funds given to BSA Councils for the specific use of the property by Scouts. Unfortunately, some Executive Boards aren’t “Trustworthy” and try to ignore these facts. Read about what’s happening with Camp Easton at http://www.savecamps.org/?p=335.
The Boy Scouts of America were incorporated on February 8, 1910, and chartered by Congress in 1916. One interesting thing written into the Charter is “Limitations on Exercising Certain Powers. – (1) The corporation may execute mortgages and liens on the property of the corporation only if approved by a two-thirds vote of the entire executive board at a meeting called for that purpose. (2) The corporation may dispose in any manner of the whole property of the corporation only with the written consent and affirmative vote of a majority of the members of the corporation.
I wonder how and if this affects local Councils? I’m going to write a lawyer involved in the save Camp Easton effort to see what he says.
I’ve sat on the board of a good size, statewide NFP before and was the Treasurer. I had to explain to board members that you have to either cut expenses or increase revenues. One of them even said to me “But Ken, that’s why we have an endowment.” And I said, “We won’t have one for long unless we balance the budget.” So I understand being fiscally responsible, but councils also have to set priorities and I believe that maintaining, improving and retaining BSA’s camps should be a top priority. It drives membership. Council’s should take the lead from National who just opened the Summit Betchel Reserve.
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