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Local Scouting follow-up to Wall Street Journal (WSJ) online story regarding the financial status of National BSA

The Old North State Council and the Boy Scouts of America have a responsibility 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.
With a focus on safety first and complete transparency, I am sharing this week’s Wall Street Journal (WSJ) online story stating that National BSA has hired a bankruptcy attorney in light of the costs of defending sexual abuse lawsuits.

In a communication released at the time of the WSJ story, BSA reaffirmed its commitment to the social and moral responsibility to fairly compensate victims who suffered abuse during their time in Scouting, and the deep care and concern for all victims of child sex abuse and the proactive steps to help victims heal and prevent future abuse.  At no time in the BSA’s history has it knowingly allowed a sexual predator to work with youth, and will always seek to act swiftly when alerted to abuse allegations.  
In a written statement and a conference call with Council Scout Executives yesterday, National BSA confirmed no imminent actions nor immediate decisions are expected by the organization in light of the WSJ news story. Below are five key points to keep in mind:

  1. National BSA, with the support and engagement of the National Executive Board, is doing its due diligence to research and consider all options for financial restructuring.
  2. This consideration of financial restructuring has been ongoing within the National Executive Board, National BSA senior staff members, and trusted (outside) legal & financial advisors for 1-2 years.
  3. No decision(s) is being forced nor is one imminent.
  4. An update will be communicated throughout the BSA and its constituents in the first quarter of 2019.
  5. All consideration involves National BSA and does not impact local Scouting Council operations nor assets.

Also, I have assembled below important items of note from an Old North State Council perspective when considering the WSJ online story, other media coverage, or questions you receive:

  • The strength of Scouting for 108 years has been its local domain.  Each unit (Cub Scout Pack, Scout Troop, or Venturing Crew) is owned and operated by its charter partner which is typically a place of worship, service club, or educational institution.  Each local Council- Old North State is one of 260 nationwide- is locally incorporated in the specific state where it operates. My position as Scout Executive/CEO is registered with North Carolina as the Secretary of the Corporation. I report directly to the President of our local Council Board of Directors and not to National BSA.
  • The Old North State Council is a 501(c)(3) entity incorporated in North Carolina.  Our Camps, our Scouting Service Center, our bank funds, and investments (including our endowment) are owned and controlled by the Old North State Council.
  • The nature of the relationship between each local Council and the National BSA organization is this: Each Council is the holder of a charter to conduct the Boy Scouts of America programs in its defined territory. For us, we are chartered to administer Scouting within eight (8) counties of the Triad: Alamance, Caswell, Davie, Davidson, Guilford, Person, Randolph, and Rockingham. We have full-time Council paid staff members overseeing Scouting programs in each of these counties, and they are supported by teams of volunteers at the unit level and Scouting (by geography/county border) district level.
  • Councils (including Old North State) receive no funding from National BSA; in fact, we pay fees from our annual operating budget to National BSA as a part of our charter agreement, and for specific services. We receive value back from the National BSA but we operate as a significantly financially independent not-for-profit organization.
  • Areas where we partner with National BSA, for business purposes, include several insurance programs, services for IT, and expertise related to camping, Youth Protection, and so on.  Also important to note is employee benefits such as healthcare and retirement are funded by each council but through programs controlled and operated by National BSA.
  • The Old North State Council- gold rated in BSA’s Journey to Excellence program performance plan- is one of the stronger councils in the BSA from perspectives of overall fiscal health, program quality, board and volunteer dedication, and staff commitment.

We are confident that National BSA will navigate the difficult waters that many organizations face over a century of existence. In Old North State Council, we will stand ready to help, while continuing our primary focus on delivering high-quality Boy Scouts of America programs to 8,600+ Scouts and their families in every neighborhood that we serve.
You are welcome to email me with your thoughts or concerns.
Thank you for your commitment to local Scouting and the youth we proudly serve.

Yours in Scouting service,

Ed Martin | Scout Executive/CEO
Old North State Council, Boy Scouts of America

BSA Financial Future Messaging and FAQ 12-13-18.pdf

Wall Street Journal Article on BSA Challenge.pdf

Invest in Scouting and transform the lives of young people in the Triad.pdf