Activist Groups Urge Obama to Reject Boy Scout Honor
From Fox News:
Activist groups, including Scouting for All, urge President Obama not to accept the honorary Presidency of the Boy Scouts of America until they stop discriminating.
Scouting for All is a 100% Volunteer 501-(c)(3) Nonprofit Organization. Every dollar donated goes toward our education and advocacy programs, and is tax deductible.
Boy Scouts of America and Affiliates Draw Attentionfor Alleged Unethical and Illegal Business
March 8, 2006
When people think of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA), they usually picture Tiger Cubs, Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts or
Venture Scouts. These groups constitute the Traditional Scouting Program operated by the National Council of the
Boy Scouts of America. The BSA formed a separate corporation, Learning for Life, Inc., to operate two additional
programs, the Learning for Life Program and the Exploring Program, that are quite different from the Traditional
Scouting Program. The Learning for Life Program is a curriculum supplements program that is used in classrooms
to improve the academic performance and life skills of inner city youth in kindergarten through high school. The
Exploring Program offers career-awareness activities in twelve career areas.
Proponents of the Learning for Life Program claim that it exists to benefit disadvantaged youth. After all, it
is the largest program of its type in the United States, having grown from 600,000 when it was founded in 1991
to 1,700,000 in 2004. In addition, it is widely supported by federal and state agencies, local United Way chapters
and numerous charitable foundations. When you look at the Articles of Incorporation for Learning for Life, Inc.
you get an entirely different picture. According to Article 4, the purpose of the organization is "to benefit
the Boy Scouts of America." Learning for Life, Inc. was incorporated by representatives of the BSA as a charitable
corporation subject to the restrictions of Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Since the code clearly
states that a charitable corporation cannot be incorporated to benefit its creator, it is questionable whether
Learning for Life, Inc. even qualifies as a charity, let alone as a charity that exists to benefit disadvantaged
Learning for Life is in fact quite profitable. From enrollment figures and contracts available in public records,
we concluded that Learning for Life had revenues of around $80,000,000 in 2003. Both Learning for Life, Inc., and
the National Council of the BSA are registered as 501(c)(3) charitable organizations. As such, they must file copies
of IRS Form 990 each year to disclose their financial dealings. Once filed, these forms are matters of public record.
We obtained copies from an online research firm (Guide Star) in order to see just where these revenues were going
in 2003. They certainly weren?t going into Learning for Life accounts. According to Form 990, Learning for Life
had revenues of only $9,000,000 (and expenses of $8,000,000) in 2003. The National Council, on the other hand,
reported $114,400,000 as revenue from "membership dues and assessments." The number of members in the
BSA as well as the dues charged are matters of public record. From these, we conclude that the actual "membership
dues and assessments" that the National Council should have reported was $44,000,000. The difference between
these two values ($70,400,000) isalleged to be revenues diverted from Learning for Life, Inc. The sum of the revenues
for Learning for Life, Inc., $79,400,000, is very close to the $80,000,000 calculated from enrollment figures and
contracts noted above. The return-on-revenue, 100 x [revenue ? expenses]/[revenue], for Learning for Life is nearly
90%, making it a very profitable venture indeed. It?s much easier to be profitable when your profits are tax-free
and when you can even accept donations and grants from individuals and government agencies. We reviewed the finances
for 2001 and 2002 and drew similar conclusions.
Why would the BSA go to such lengths to conceal the fact that Learning for Life, Inc. was actually supporting the
National Council by providing nearly 70% of the revenue sustaining the Traditional Scouting Program? The answer
is quite simple. The BSA has repeatedly stated that the Traditional Scouting Program (which bars homosexuals and
atheists from membership) is totally separate from the Learning for Life Program (which does not practice discrimination
in enrolling participants). If Learning for Life, Inc. had simply granted its profits to the National Council,
this would have shown up on Form 990?s for both organizations, and it would be obvious that Learning for Life existed
exclusively to earn money for the BSA. The hypocrisy of practicing discrimination in some BSA programs while banning
discrimination in others would have also come to light.
If you check out the list of occupants at the National Headquarters of the BSA in Irving, Texas, you find that
the National Council BSA, Learning for Life, Inc. and a third affiliate, the National Boy Scouts of America Foundation
(the Foundation) share this address. They share much more than an address, however. Various members of the National
Executive Board of the National Council sit on the Board of Directors for the Learning for Life, Inc. and the Foundation.
When we investigated the Foundation further, we found that its purpose was to financially support the Boy Scouts
of America and Scouting organizations around the world. The foundation is incorporated as a 501(c)(3) charitable
foundation. As such, it can accept tax-deductible donations from individuals, corporations and foundations. It
can also disperse funds to Scouting organizations in the US and abroad without oversight of an independent Board
of Directors. According to IRC 501(c)(3) a charitable foundation cannot be organized to benefit its creator. We
assert that the Foundation may not qualify as a charitable foundation.
Sir Walter Scott once said, "O what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive." No truer
words could be said in the case of the BSA and its affiliates, Learning for Life, Inc. and the Foundation. The
details of this complaint have been presented to federal agencies and selected members of the media for further