Butler County’s Boy Scouts of America chapter is withdrawing from a full partnership with the United Way of Butler County and intends to focus on more in-house fundraising.
“We just feel the United Way has their hands full,” said Ray Tennent, scout executive and CEO of the Moraine Trails Council.
Tennent stressed that the withdrawal is not an expression of displeasure with the United Way. The two organizations have been partners for more than 30 years.
“Essentially we’re just not going to rely on them (United Way) because they can only allocate so much,” Tennent said.
The move means the Boy Scouts this year will give up a $7,500 grant the United Way had designated for its Scoutreach initiative. The after school program for at-risk youths costs about $53,000 each year.
Tennent said shrinking grants from the United Way were a factor in the council’s decision to step back from the partnership.
The United Way cut a $15,000 grant to the council’s traditional scouting programs from its latest round of grant awards, and reduced the yearly grant to Scoutreach from $10,000 to $7,500.
The council’s traditional scouting programs, which include summer camps, camping and staff costs, cost about $411,000 each year and serve 3,000 to 4,000 scouts, Tennent said.
“We don’t see one thing that’s going to replace (the lost) funding,” Tennent said. “There’s going to be a very diverse effort going forward.”
He said the council was already working with organizations like the Rotary Club of Butler and PNC Bank to develop fundraising and grant writing opportunities.
The decision won’t effect the council’s partnership with United Way of Lawrence County, which donates about $20,000 to the council each year, Tennent said.
The council’s decision to step back from a full partnership is a first for United Way executive director Kierston Hobaugh, who said she hasn’t seen anything like it in her two years with the United Way.
Hobaugh said the United Way is determining what to do with the $7,500 grant intended for Scoutreach, but that the money would likely go to another education initiative.
The two organizations remain on good terms, she said, and will continue working together.
The Boy Scouts will remain a designee in the United Way’s capital campaign, meaning donors can still earmark funds specifically for it, Hobaugh said.
Renewing a full partnership in the future remains a possibility, she said.