The Boy Scouts of America is a non-profit organization incorporated as a 501(c)(3). This means that the Boy Scouts of America does not seek profit in its operation, and receives funds from private donations, membership dues, and other forms of revenue. Some estimates of the Boy Scouts of America assets are in excess of $1 billion, according to Reuters.
Non-profit organizations, as the name implies, generally function for a purpose other than financial gain. Religious organizations, charities, educational, and some scientific incorporations provide examples of these types of non-profits. Employees of non-profit organizations can still work and earn wages, though.
There are several benefits to incorporating as a 501(c)(3) organization. In addition to the Internal Revenue Service granting certain tax exemptions, non-profit organizations benefit in several ways:
- Grant eligibility: Some non-profits seek grant money to continue their service in a particular community or line of work.
- Legal formality: While a group of individuals meeting informally for a particular cause helps, if a group forms an official non-profit, they create an entity that legally exists.
- Liability: If an incident created a legal liability among an unofficial group, such as grounds for the collection of assets, each individual could bear the consequences and financial responsibility. As a non-profit organization, the organization as a whole is liable rather than the individuals making up that entity.
While there are several advantages to forming and operating under non-profit status, there are also several disadvantages, too.
Some disadvantages of non-profit organizations include:
- Public finances: Non-profits exist to serve the public in some way, and for this reason, they operate more transparently than other businesses or organizations. If a non-profit organization inappropriately uses or improperly allocates funds, it can face public scrutiny.
- Regulation: While all organizations are regulated in some way, becoming an official non-profit organization creates legal boundaries and regulations. It is important to have the staff or board members capable of navigating these guidelines to ensure legal operation.
- Abstinence from political lobbying: Non-profit organizations cannot be politically active in a way that attempts to change laws or legislation, whether specifically related to the organization or not.
- No shareholder earnings: Because the mission of a 501(c)(3) does not involve profit, individuals in positions of management cannot gain financially other than a salary. Standard businesses allow shareholders to collect for company gains.
- Shared management: This could arguably create an advantage or disadvantage, but non-profit organizations are generally structured in a manner that distributes decision making power. Private companies and for-profit corporations can sometimes rely on a founder or sole shareholder for decision making. While checks and balances have benefits, this can create a difficult decision and approval process that interferes with or slows down the mission of an organization.
The Boy Scouts of America is a very large non-profit organization with a wide range of membership.
According to the 2016 annual report, the Boy Scouts of America, or “BSA,” serves millions of youth members across the country. Below is a list of the number of youth engaged in BSA programs as of 2016:
- Over 1 million boys between the ages of 6 and 10 years old in the Cub Scouts program.
- 822,999 boys between the ages of 11 and 17 years old enlisted as Varsity Scouts or Boy Scouts.
- Over 130,000 boys, girls, men, and women involved with the Venturing Sea Scout program.
- Over 100,000 men and women engaged in career-based programs in the United States.
Additionally, the Boy Scouts of America partners with many businesses and organizations in several ways. Some of these businesses consist of small, locally run organizations, while others are major corporations. It is estimated that over 100,000 partnerships with the Boy Scouts existed as recently as 2016.
In the past couple of decades, hundreds of lawsuits challenged the organization, most revolving around child sexual abuse. According to Reuters, in 2020, the Boy Scouts of America filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, meaning the BSA could still continue to operate but may have to reorganize and pay off legal fees, debts, and other liabilities.
If you or someone you love was involved with the Boy Scouts of America and has reason to explore legal options, contact Pintas & Mullins Law Firm at (800) 794-0444 today. Depending on your case, financial compensation could be available for your suffering. Speak with us during a free consultation.