Boy Scout funding takes $88,000 hit

By By Lance Traweek / American Press

The Boy Scouts of America Calcasieu

Area Council was allocated $32,549 from United Way of Southwest

Louisiana — a funding

reduction of $88,451 for 2013. Last year, the group received

$121,000, or 19.8 percent, of its $611,000 annual operating budget.

But the Boy Scouts will receive almost $41,000 because United Way allows for designations by donors. The group will get the

higher of the two numbers, said Denise Durel, local United Way president and CEO.

In 2000, the national initiative of the

United Way was to modify its procedures for fund distribution. The

model, called the

Community Impact Business Model, is based on funding programs that

achieve “measurable results,” concentrating on assisting

programs that provide opportunities for at-risk children and

adults. And this year, the United Way adopted this model.

When defining “at-risk,” United Way “looks at indicators of potential barriers relating to education, income and health,”

the local United Way documented.

The Calcasieu Area Council board is “deeply disappointed by the decision” of the local United Way “to radically reduce funding

for Scouting in Southwest Louisiana,” said Council President Tom Price.

The council requested $121,000 again this year.

Price said the Boy Scouts showed United Way that more than 25 percent of the youth in Scouting meet United Way’s new definition

of “at-risk,” while the reduced funding amount represents only 5 percent of the council’s budget.

But Durel said it’s required that the

program be one of United Way’s focus areas, and the Boy Scouts indicated

that they were

only able to present those for a specific Boy Scout group of

children ages 11-18. The group’s focus with the money would be

on boys transitioning out of middle school successfully — one of

the education goals of United Way.

Therefore, based on their request the only Boy Scouts considered were that age range, she said.

“We were only able to review what was in his proposal,” she said. “The Boy Scouts’ calculations were not matching what was

written.”

Five proposals were submitted January-May.

“You have got to be able to tie (the funding) to a core problem,” Durel said. “We are trying to be in line in making sure

our donors are getting their return on investment.”

“Despite what United Way claims publicly, the facts are simple,” Price said.

Three years ago, under new management, United Way cut $67,000 in funding to Scouting, he said. “Now, United Way is cutting

an additional $88,000,” he said. “The council board believes these actions clearly demonstrate United Way’s perception of

the value of Scouting to Southwest Louisiana.”

Durel said the United Way supports the Boy Scouts in its mission and the “wonderful things they bring to the community.”

“Our desire is that every child has the opportunity to be a Scout, especially when their family cannot afford to do so,” Durel

said.

All 35 agencies asking for funding must complete an application that details how the funds will be spent as well as program

goals. A total of 75 volunteers throughout the region were involved in the decision.

Price said the total loss of income of more than $155,000 from United Way to the council’s budget will “present an enormous

challenge to providing the Scouting program, but Scouting will continue in Southwest Louisiana.”

“The council board must now decide what

actions are appropriate given this loss of support from United Way,”

Price said. “I

can only hope that the public of Southwest Louisiana will respond

to this defunding with their direct support. The youth of

our area need Scouting, and I ask everyone to keep the council in

their prayers as we try to overcome this unfortunate turn

in events.”

The reduction in funding will begin in July.