In a letter, the Evangeline Area Council, which oversees the scouts in Acadiana, learned the United Way of Acadiana is slicing its scout funding by $90,000 for 2009.
The United Way of Acadiana has been helping support the Boy Scouts over the last 60 years.
The decrease caught many by surprise.
“We were shocked and we were stunned,” said Art Hawkins, who is the executive director of the Evangeline Area Council. “We believe our programs are a steady foundation within the community.”
Over the last two years, the United Way of Acadiana has donated an average of $100,000 to the Evangeline Area Council. In 2002, the United Way donated $150,000 to the council.
The council’s yearly budget is $1.1 million.
Hawkins learned the reason the scouts were cut out was because of the way the United Way funds its programs nationally.
Hawkins met with United Way of Acadiana to see if he could appeal their budget decision and was told no because the money had already been allocated for 2009.
“This a major concern for us,” he said. “We were counting on the $90,000 to support our day-to-day operations. We are having a board meeting next week to discus what our next action is. It is not our intent to lay off anyone, but to ask the community to help us and make up the $90,000.”
This week, 4,600 letters were mailed out to parents of scouts and friends of scouts in Acadiana. The two-page letter explains the history of the United Way of Acadiana and the Evangeline Area Council and about the reduction of $90,000. In the letter is also a pledge card. On one side of the card is a diagram of Evangeline Area Council’s budget and where it gets funning and also its expenses for the year. The other side is a pledge form and levels of giving.
“It is important for the community to know we believe the United Way is a great organization,” Hawkins said. “We believe the scouting program is part of the solution. We are still shocked and stunned that we did not receive any funding. We will continue to have a strong and positive relation with the United Way in the future.”
If anyone would like to help the Boy Scouts raise the $90,000, they can call the Evangeline Area Council at 235-8551 or visit the Web site at www.eacbsa.org.