Financial Development

A sparkling day on the water is made possible by well-directed funding, which keeps Scouting dynamic, supports the BSA's positive message, and makes local units successful.

The Detroit Area Council is distinguished by a continuing legacy of outstanding fund-raising results. In 2003 alone, the council met its $2 million Friends of Scouting campaign goal, an achievement that largely can be attributed to dedicated board members and other volunteers. The council's financial development success has helped produce high-quality program, a new service center, and recognition as the largest youth organization in southeast Michigan.

Covering a three-county area that includes the city of Detroit, the council offers programs to more than 90,000 youth and involves over 18,000 volunteers. Many of those volunteers are associated with the area's major corporations, especially the automotive industry. As Executive Board Chair John Bava states, "Large corporations provide lots of resources. Our board members who are a part of them exert influence in the community, getting through to others, taking leadership roles, and promoting our mission." Council Vice President Jean Shapero adds, "The council's successful because of key volunteers working tirelessly. They want to do it--there's no ego involved; they're not doing it for recognition."

Local financial development helps fund council camps and programs.

One such volunteer is Fund-Raising Chair Nick Scheele, who serves as president and chief operating officer of Ford Motor Company. Involved in Scouting since he was a boy in England, Scheele views the council's financial development as "not just a BSA fund-raising effort, but as a business community effort." It's crucial that the council solicit funds from that business community as well as recruit board members from it. Bava, who has served as executive board chair of four other councils, credits much of the Detroit Area Council's recruitment success to Scout Executive John Primrose: "He does an exemplary job--not a day goes by that he doesn't think about the composition of our board. And he and senior volunteers go out and recruit members personally." Whether it's the youth or the adult leaders, Council President John Middlebrook declares, "It's all about people."

Venturers learn teamwork and outdoor skills when they head for the wilderness and high adventure.

The proof of the council's success is in the numbers. The Detroit Area Council Boy Scout Pro-Am Golf Classic, which is one of the BSA's largest such efforts, sold out in 2003 and raised $400,000. The Shooting Clays Event brought in $170,000 in one day, and the new Autumn Adventure Bird Hunt raised more than $50,000. Coffers were further enhanced in 2003 through the lunchoree, at which three Good Scout Awards were presented, and the distinguished citizen award dinner, which honored Wayne County Executive Robert Ficano.

However, if it weren't for the strong tradition of the organization, fund-raising efforts wouldn't be nearly as successful. As Bava comments, "Our success goes beyond attracting the right people to board membership and leadership roles. It's also about the basic values of the BSA organization." Scheele remarks, "Scouting offers kids something unique: experiences of camping and trailing applied to skill development and blended in an ethics program." Shapero echoes these thoughts when she declares, "Scouting is more than just camping; it's training the youth for life."


Brick-and-mortar evidence of the Detroit Area Council's financial development success is the Dick and Sandy Dauch Scout Center. Dedicated in September 2003, the service center was completed under budget and largely paid for by the generous donations of the Dauches; Council Treasurer Irving Rose and his wife, Audrey; and Council Vice President Richard Marsh. The building cost almost $6 million, including new furnishings, landscaping, and demolition of the old building.

The Chief Seattle Council of Seattle, Washington, also ensures these experiences for its youth through strong financial development. Year-round succession planning, solid program, and extensive volunteer involvement have contributed to the impressive results of the council's innovative fund-raising efforts.

According to Scout Executive Brad Farmer, year-round succession planning plays prominently in fund-raising success. Vice chairs of events become the next year's chair, so "the new chair is working on next year's event the day after the previous one is over. This structure instills confidence in volunteer leaders." Asking leaders to commit on a multiyear basis "allows for embedding of wisdom and experience. You have that next individual in line to pick up the mantle," observes Vice President of Financial Development Tom Pigott.

Enthusiasm is infectious among high-spirited Venturers.

And the council is loaded with committed volunteers. Pigott says he's "continually impressed by the amount of time and dedication given to the movement. Volunteers show support through weekly communications, meeting attendance, showing up at events, and being available." According to Council President Bill Krippaehne, attracting effective volunteers and building financial success requires strong program. "People want to support success. It's a giant 'field of dreams.' If you build the program, they will come--'they' being youth, volunteers, and community support."

In large part, the council garners community financial support through three annual FOS breakfasts, two of which actively involve the Seattle Mariners and Seahawks. The Downtown Breakfast, themed "Camp Cuttabigcheck," raised $550,000 in 2003, and the Mariners Scout Breakfast raised $65,000. According to Mariners CEO and chair Howard Lincoln, who is also incoming council president, "The Mariners have tried to give the council as much support as possible. It's a win/win situation."


Co-hosted with Outback Steakhouse, the Chief Seattle Council's golf classic and auction includes a rousing day on the links followed by dinner and silent and live auctions at the Golf Club at Newcastle. This fund-raising event replaced the council's black-tie auction. According to Wayne Perry, council executive board member, "Our previous auction was competing with other downtown black-tie auctions. The tournament/auction frees up staff resources and allows for more interaction."

Further fund-raising efforts, specifically for the council's at-risk youth, involve two innovative events. Among other benefits, the activities help support camperships for over 200 Scouts. The Great Outdoor Team Odyssey (GO TO) Camp is a corporate team challenge that raised $40,000 in 2003. Participants travel by floatplane to Camp Parsons on the Olympic Peninsula for a day of team building and friendly competition. Scouts help coordinate activities and discuss Scouting. Camp Chair Fred Grimm sees special advantages in the GO TO Camp: "It draws people without a Scouting background and helps create emotional connections to Scouting. It's much better than just talking about Scouting in a ballroom."

Similarly, the council's business-leader Boeing Campout includes Scout fellowship and patrol competitions for 20 to 30 executives for three days. As Wayne Perry, council executive board member and president of the Western Region, comments, "The campout is an intuitive buy. The audience for this event has a lot of opportunities for fun, but this one is for a good cause." FOS chair Kim Hillyard adds, "It also helps solidify strong relationships for the council." The event is followed up with private meetings or lunches with participants, during which council leaders ask them to get involved in Scouting. Overall, Pigott observes that this event, as well as the others, "introduces participants to the passion of the Scouting movement."