In a move that surprised New Birth of Freedom Council CEO and Scout Executive Ronald Gardner Jr., the United Way of Carlisle & Cumberland County recently decided to drop the local Boy Scouts chapter as a partner agency.

The decision makes the organization ineligible for money from the United Way campaign fund starting this year, though area residents can still donate to the Boy Scouts through the local United Way by requesting their donation be sent to the organization.

According to Debbie Keyser, chair of the local United Way board, the decision stems from an agreement they have with each of their partner agencies.

“They did not comply with our partner agency program agreement,” she said.

Keyser said she would not disclose what was not in compliance, but Gardner ran down the list of reasons, some of which he said may mean the council is unlikely to become a partner agency again.

Gardner said there were several reasons identified as to why the Boy Scouts were found noncompliant with the agreement. Some ranged to small items like needing to send a printed copy of their board minutes instead of an online login while other issues were ones that Gardner felt were basically non-negotiable.


One of the reasons included the local United Way chapter not wanting any of its partner agencies doing any fundraising during a blackout period.

Gardner said that policy is difficult enough to follow since the New Birth of Freedom Council covers six counties and is funded by three United Way chapters, which are all autonomous and don’t all have the same policies.

The reason is particularly hard for the Boy Scouts because United Way of Carlisle & Cumberland County’s blackout period happens to coincide with their annual Eagle Scout recognition dinner and fall popcorn sales, Gardner said.

“The Eagle Scout recognition dinner is also a large fundraiser, and it’s annually held the Tuesday before Thanksgiving,” he said. “This started in 1975, and we’ve been doing it ever since. They’ve known about it for years, and this is the first time anybody has ever said we can’t do it.”

Gardner said the popcorn sale, additionally, has been going on since the early ’90s and is annually held in the fall. Like the dinner, he said the popcorn sales have been well known to happen during that time period.

The New Birth of Freedom Council has previously attempted to satisfy arrangements with United Way chapters for black out periods, and Gardner noted he worked with Robert Woods, executive director of United Way of York County, to get a waiver to have the Eagle Scout dinner during that chapter’s blackout period — which the Boy Scouts did receive after waiting two years to do the fundraiser.

Gardner said he didn’t receive a warning about this, but shutting down the annual dinner or popcorn sales in Carlisle was also not an option.

“We try to deal with all of them (United Way chapters), but cutting out a popcorn sale in just Carlisle and Cumberland County is really hard to try to do,” he said. “Our popcorn sales are in excess of $1 million (regionally). The dinner is also a significant fundraiser for us.”


Another reason for United Way’s decision dealt with information the New Birth of Freedom Council annually gives to the United Way chapters, according to Gardner.

Gardner explained every year, the council sends out outcome information, specifically in regard to what the organization does with the funds given to them by the United Way.

“(United Way of Carlisle & Cumberland County) wanted more information on the low-income people we serve,” he said.

Gardner said it’s been an ongoing point of discussion with the Carlisle chapter, but he said it’s not information they have.

“We don’t collect income data from our Boy Scouts,” he said. “We know what zip codes they’re from, and we do provide that. We don’t only serve low-income kids.”

Gardner said the council also gives information about how programs are funded, since the scouts themselves don’t directly receive funding from the agency.

He also noted that this problem only occurs with the Carlisle chapter — both the United Way of the Capital Region and the United Way of York County have taken no issue with the outcome reports.

“We’ve never gotten anything but positive feedback from the two United Ways,” he said.


The Carlisle chapter’s decision comes at a tough time for the New Birth of Freedom Council, which is already seeing threats of funding loss from other sources, including the two other United Way chapters.

The United Way of the Capital Region said in August it will not allocate funding from its capital campaign based on the Boy Scout’s policy on homosexuality, which the chapter said was noncompliant with the United Way’s non-discrimination policy. The national Boy Scouts of America reaffirmed its position against homosexual troop leaders last year, which prompted the decision. Gardner said that the United Way of York County has likewise said if the policy doesn’t change in the next 2 1/2 years, the chapter will also stop allocating funds.

The national Boy Scouts organization threw out an idea in late January that would put the onus of the decision of inclusion on charter parties, also known as sponsors. However, the idea is not official, and Gardner said it only be until the Boy Scouts have a national meeting in May that a new policy would be discussed.

Even locally, Gardner knows it won’t be an easy issue to settle.

“There are strong feelings on both sides of the issue,” he said. “People tell me if you change it, they’ll pull their kid out of Scouts and won’t donate. On the opposite side, you have the exact same thing. It’s a very, very difficult decision for the Boy Scouts. It’s not as easy as people might think.”


Whatever the reasons the United Way chapters cite, the New Birth of Freedom Council stands to lose a lot of funds.

And compared to what could be lost from the United Way of the Capital Region and the United Way of York County, Gardner said changing the Boy Scouts’ activities for the United Way of Carlisle & Cumberland County wouldn’t be worth it.

Gardner estimated the council receives roughly $90,000 from the United Way of the Capital Region, and almost $180,000 from the United Way of York County.

On the other end of the spectrum, for 2013, the council was allocated $4,300 from the United Way of Carlisle & Cumberland County.

That amount is something Gardner called a “steep decline” from previous years. In 2009, the council was allocated $28,372; in 2010, $24,667; in 2009, $19,600; and in 2012, $15,000. The 2013 amount won’t have much of an impact on the council’s budget, Gardner said.

“Our total ... is $3,415,000,” he said. “(What the local United Way offers) is about 1/10 of 1 percent of our budget. People might be surprised of how little is coming from Carlisle.”

Regardless of the amount, however, Gardner said he’s sad to see their relationship with the local chapter end.

“We’ve been part of that United Way for 70-some years,” he said. “Times are different now than they were 70 years ago. That’s just the situation we have, and I can’t see how we can satisfy that.”

(22) comments


Sounds like the United Way has a hidden agenda and this was their excuse to seperate from the Boy Scouts.
Just another reason that few people donate to the United Way any more. Their P.C. agenda is getting tough to swallow.
And the people of Carlisle are about fed up with everyone having their hands out for more money every day. Especially while the quality of life in our town continues to plummet while the talking heads in borough hall keep their heads in the sand.


Couldn't the The Cumberland County not all Boy Scouts ( or The Straight Boy Scouts of America) make up the funding loss by asking Chik Fil E to sponsor them to make up the funding loss from United Way. I am sure Chik Fil E patrons would not mind paying an extra penny a sandwich for such a good cause.


I wonder if the general public is aware that some scouts and their families have sued the BSA for homosexual assaults by gay scouts and leaders in the past? And won. Ths BSA paid millions of dollars on those claims. More importantly, look at the ravaged lives of those innocent scouts.

It is far more important to protect scouts from these predators than to be politically correct.


At the same time, it's important we not equate "gay" with "assaults." It's very hard to generalize about one or another group of people. This is like saying "all blondes are ditzy," which we know not to be true.

I am disappointed the BSA did not change their policies yet and very glad United Way has withdrawn its support for now, as has happened in many other locales. To get community support, non-profits need to demonstrate they serve. BSA needs to re-think its policies.


I wonder if the general public is aware that some scouts and their families have sued the BSA for homosexual assaults by straight scouts and leaders in the past? And won. Ths BSA paid millions of dollars on those claims. More importantly, look at the ravaged lives of those innocent scouts.

It is far more important to protect scouts from these predators than to be politically correct.


It is MOST important, in order to protect the scouts, to recognize that individuals who would commit such heinous acts as abusing/assaulting children are differentiated by THAT action, rather than gender preference. AND, to recognize the signs of, and take action on such incidents as soon as they are notified.

Identifying as LGBT (or any other preference, for that matter) is not an indicator of an abusive personality.


Well said, MaryAnn! It's amazing that people are still so ignorant as to equate homosexuality with predatory behavior.


I agree absolutely, I was being ironic.


Well, they finally found a way to punish the Boy Scouts of America, without bringing up the "gay" thing. Seem like you can stand up for morality anymore otherwise you are the bad guy..
Time for me to stop my payroll deduction to UW and give directly to BSA local council. I challenge others to stop their contributions to UW and let them know how you feel.. Its your money.


Haven't and won't give to UW. Stand up people.


The United Way supports a lot of important local community organizations. Check out the list at Punishing the United Way because it stopped funding an organization that admittedly discriminates, when the United Way's policy is to not fund organizations that discriminate, doesn't make sense to me.


And I give directly to them. I don't need to support the office staff at UW, who in turn cuts off the Boy Scouts. Who's next? There are other organizations who do no support the politically correct line in all forms. Who will they go after next Sandy? Thank about that one.


The Boy Scouts should be free to set whatever policy they want, as should the United Way. Of course it is silly to think that the Boy Scout policy actually stops homosexuals from joining the organization, it only stops openly homosexual individuals from joining.


You forgot a few things, like it keeps them from having leadership who will them promote homosexuality, and have the scouts marching in the gay pride parade, and getting their minds indoctrinated to promote gay lifestyles.
Not allowing it keeps them from becoming a mouthpiece for the gays.


That has nothing to do with my point. I support the Boy Scouts' right to set their membership policies as they see fit. I just hope they don't fool themselves into thinking a "no gay" policy means there are no gays in the organization. And if I were the sort of parent to worry about letting my kids be around gay people, I'd be far more worried about a secretly gay scoutmaster than an openly gay one.


Nobody "worries about being around gay people". The worry is having their lifestyle promoted to them while under their watch. Preditors aren't gay or straight, they are just vile pukes.


'Them' promote? Oh you meant 'then' promote. And Sokrates, michael is brilliant at making comments that relate to nothing.


You mean like your trolling sniper attacks?
And you don't know what promoting the gay lifestyle is? Really. Feigned ignorance is a cheap way out.
Sort of like simpletons who snipe at a spelling mistake or error to point out their intelligence. What a cruddy homelife they must have.


Yes, we agree that predators are vile. As you say, their willingness to hurt others for their own pleasure derives from their vile nature, not their orientation. But I disagree that some people do worry about being around gay people. Some people cannot distinguish between "being gay" and "promoting the gay lifestyle" (whatever that means).

Zippy D Dudah

UW should lose its tax-exempt status, since it has now become a political organization.


United Way a political organization? No way! If you read the actual reasoning and not just put your own twist on it, they are hardly political. I predict this will get solved, and perhaps fairly soon. BSA is finally coming to understand that the kind of discrimination they have been engaging in is ethically wrong. The basic American tenets of inclusion means for ALL people, and the Boy Scouts have been trapped by leaders who forgot about this. But they will change, soon I hope.

Windbag Lawyer

Heard Sherrie Davis "resigned", wonder what if it had to do with this? There's a scoop for you, Sentinel

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.