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United Way cuts funding for local ScoutReach program

Published On: Dec 24 2013 06:45:39 AM EST   Updated On: Sep 12 2013 06:16:33 PM EDT

United Way has decided the ScoutReach program does not align with its priorities that focus on education, income and health.


The United Way of Roanoke Valley has pulled the plug on funding one of the Boy Scouts most important programs.

United Way has been dishing out money for the ScoutReach program since the 90's but that's come to an end.

The local chapter of United Way has decided the ScoutReach program does not align with its priorities that focus on education, income and health. Now, local scouts need to raise $60,000 to save it and that's just for this year alone.

The ScoutReach program helps the inner city and Hispanic communities in our area. There are currently 700 people in our area who take part in it.

According to the Blue Ridge Mountain Council, the program meets once a week to help people understand responsibility and respect. It also focuses on scouting values and skills.

United Way tells me the program did not receive a passing score in 2012 to receive the funding anymore.

The Blue Ridge Mountains Council of Boy Scouts of America said the news is devastating.

"Our problems with the Roanoke United Way began several years ago and in 2011,” said scout executive Dan Johnson. “They first began to say they don't feel like scouting aligns with their narrow focus for education. They have a very narrow focus and we have a much broader focus helping young people."

In a statement, the council said it felt like it presented enough evidence showing the program helps to improve grades, higher education rates and better attitudes.

There is no appeal process with the United Way so the Blue Ridge Mountain Council is now asking for your help.

You can make direct donations to the council or you can still donate through the annual United Way campaign, but you need to make sure you designate it to the scouts.

Below is United Way's statement to WDBJ 7 regarding the cuts:

In 2011 United Way of Roanoke Valley (UWRV) adopted a new strategic direction to focus on three key impact areas: Education, Income, and Health - the building blocks for a productive and successful life.

Investment decisions are made by volunteers based on specific criteria. Each program that applies for funding is first scored based on alignment with UWRV strategic priorities.

In 2012 Boys Scouts of America-Blue Ridge Mountain Council (BSA-BRMC) requested funding from UWRV for the Boy Scout’s Comprehensive Youth Development/Multicultural Initiative.

This program did not receive a passing score on alignment. There was consensus among the UWRV volunteer reviewers that although the program addresses and supports some areas of the Education priorities, it was not viewed as strongly aligned or as competitive as the other programs that applied for funding in this area. The alignment score is not a value judgment on the program. Alignment with UWRV’s Education strategic priorities is core to fulfilling UWRV’s mission and drive our community investment decisions.

However partnership with UWRV is not limited to a funder-grantee relationship. UWRV partnerships are based on relationships that achieve a common goal through collective efforts in Education, Income and Health priorities. UWRV is committed to convene, engage and work with all partners who are invested in the area of education, and the common goal of increasing high school graduation. There will be continuing conversations around this issue with the BSABRMC and other programs/organizations that want to improve educational outcomes.

In recognition of our long-standing relationship and to minimize the impact of the change in funding status, UWRV offered BSA-BRMC the opportunity to allow donors to continue to support its work through United Way’s annual campaign. BSA-BRMC accepted this offer.

UWRV will continue to honor donor’s designations made to the BSA-BRMC through the annual campaign.

BSA-BRMC may also consider opportunities for funding from UWRV during 2015 when UWRV’s focus will be on advancing our Education strategic priorities. Special and unique requests are reviewed periodically during the year.

Below is the Blue Ridge Mountains Council of Boy Scouts of America's statement to WDBJ 7 regarding the cuts:

The Blue Ridge Mountains Council of Boy Scouts of America has been a partner agency with United Way of Roanoke Valley for many years. However when the United Way campaign gets underway this fall that no longer will be the case. United Way has decided our program does not align with UWRV’s priorities that focus on education, income and health. Therefore, the $60,000 for Scoutreach that makes scouting available to all boys, especially those in inner city and underserved populations has been eliminated.

We find that decision hard to comprehend since we presented evidence showing that our Scoutreach program has been directly connected to improved grades, higher graduation rates, better attitudes and relationships among the boys who participate. Scoutreach is now known as the “Multicultural Scouting” program. Three full-time program specialists work with 32 scouting units and more than 700 registered youth in the Blue Ridge Mountains Council.

In December 2011 United Way informed the Blue Ridge Mountains Council that it would be receiving less funding from the Community Investment Fund in 2012-2013 funding cycle because our programs simply did not support its goals. We did not take that lightly. We met with United Way executives for clarification on what was missing and also guidance on how to proceed with formulating an application that would address the alignment issues. We were instructed to present data during the LOI process that supported student growth and to expand on that data during the application process. After meeting with United Way execs, we immediately assembled a strong committee to begin working on the 2012-13 application. The committee consisted of key Roanoke Valley educators, Blue Ridge Mountains Council executive board members and staff, who put together what we considered a clear Letter of Intent,as directed, outlining areas where we had statistical evidence indicating academic and interpersonal growth among the students who participate. And then in December 2012 we were quite dismayed to receive a letter from the Community Impact panel indicating the scouting program once again had not received a passing score. Our status as a PARTNER AGENCY would be changed to ELIGIBLE AGENCY in fall 2013. This means the only funds we will receive from United Way for the next three years will be gifts specifically designated by donors to the Boy Scouts. We may reapply for Partner Agency status fall 2015 for the 2016-17 funding cycle.

The Multicultural Program is too valuable a program to lose. Please make a donation to the Blue Ridge Mountains Council of Boy Scouts. If you choose to donate through the annual United Way campaign, you must fill out a designation form indicating you want your donation to go to 0105, our Eligible Agency number. Again, that is the only way dollars will be sent from United Way to the Boy Scout council. Help spread the word of the funding cut by calling or sending e-mails to your friends; making announcements at meetings; telling your colleagues; or even making a supplemental pledge to the organization. We need your support and are grateful for it.