scouts-l Mail Archive for November of 1999: Re: Who "owns" a Troop?
Tue Nov 02 1999 - 10:36:33 CST
I have stayed out of this because the question is subject to too much
interpretation, however, here I go.
If the question means who owns the troop as it exists and functions,
certainly the sponsoring organization does, because Scouting is the program
that Sponsor adopted to benefit its youth, see generally Rules and
Regulations, Article VI, Section 3, Local Units, where it is clear that the
BSA "grant[s] charters to organizations...to organize and maintain units of
the Scouting programs...."
But if the question means, who owns the hard assets, then it gets trickier.
Certainly, the BSA grants to these organizations the ability to run the
Scouting program, and to do that they need to have control of the assets of
that unit- no questions. But when and if that unit dissolves, the BSA
asserts that it owns those assets, not the Sponsor.
Specifically, Rules and Regulations, Article XI, Section 1, Clause 2(b) Unit
Obligations, states: "In the event of the dissolution of a unit...the unit
committee shall apply unit funds and property to the payment of unit
obligations and shall turn over the surplus, if any, to the local council....
In the case of a chartered organization, any funds or equipment which may
have been secured as property of the unit shall be held in trust by the
chartering organization...pending reorganization of the unit or for the
promotion of the prgram of the BSA."
Section 2 speaks about real estate holdings of units, and states that "title
to all real estate...shall be vested in a bank or trust company, in trust for
the use of the unit..., with a provision in the deed that in the event of the
dissolution of the unit...said trustee...will pay the net proceeds...to the
Why is this true? Well I believe it is set up this way for tax purposes. A
charitable organization, in order to preserve its charitable status, must
make sure that, in the event of dissolution no benefits will enure to any non
charitable organization. Since charters are not restricted to charitable
organizations (even private corporations sponsor Scout units), in order to
preserve charitable status, the assets of all units, upon dissolution must go
to a charity. Which one? Well, it makes sense, at least to me, that those
funds go to the BSA. Afterall, those funds were raised for the BSA program;
when they are no longer needed where they are, they should go to the program
itself, not the sponsor.
Does this mean that the BSA owns all units? No, but sorta. It is clear that
while alive a sponsor owns the unit, but upon death, that unit's will leaves
everything it owns to the BSA.
At least that's the way I read this stuff.
Yours in Scouting,
G. John Marmet
ASM Glenview, IL