Developing Scouting's Philanthropic Foundation

Howard and Cristi Bulloch, leaders of two new donor societies, aim to inspire future philanthropy benefiting the Scouting movement.

When Howard Bulloch was a Boy Scout, his Scoutmaster offered Scouts ranked Star or higher the opportunity to go on a high-adventure trip each summer. There was a catch: To go on a subsequent weeklong outdoor adventure, each Scout had to advance another rank during the intervening year. Howard was up to the challenge, and he made sure to go on each trip. “We went to the Beartooth Mountains of Montana,” he recalls. “They are majestic mountains.”

Beautiful enough, in fact, that the lure of adventure encouraged young Howard to earn his Eagle rank. The experience shaped him on his path to become a Las Vegas real estate businessman with a long history of adult involvement in Scouting, including positions with his church’s Scout troop, service as the Las Vegas Area Council president, and now a spot on the National Board of the Boy Scouts of America. Howard currently serves as Chairman of Trustees for the BSA National Foundation. Beyond their significant financial support of Scouting, Howard and his wife, Cristi, are most recently leaders in developing new ways for prosperous couples to become involved in the movement.

Scouting’s Presidents Leadership Council (PLC), a special new entity led by the Bullochs, is modeled on similar groups of supporters at institutions of higher education across the country. The PLC creates a donor society for couples who can make seven-figure gifts. It provides them with a venue to come together with like-minded couples who share their passion for Scouting, their ideals, and their intentions for the gifts they make. Members of the group also receive special access to Scouting events and people, so they can see the results of their gifts in action.

In the same vein, the Bullochs have helped shape the Second Century Society, another donor group for those capable of giving $100,000 or more during a period of five years. Like the PLC, the Second Century Society gives donors the opportunity to associate with people who can relate to their desire to support Scouting, and it expands the concept to a broader donor base.

“The vision for these organizations is to identify, befriend, love, and involve our very best supporters in this incredible Scouting movement. Scouting needs to last a lot longer than my leadership role,” Howard says. “The Presidents Leadership Council and the Second Century Society will make that happen.”

In addition to inspiring and energizing the support of their members, Howard hopes both organizations will encourage members to recruit others to join their ranks. The PLC just inducted its first 11 members. Howard foresees having 200 members within the next 10 years. “People will rise up in that organization and get other people involved,” he predicts.

Decisions to make gifts of this magnitude are naturally made by couples, and Cristi finds as many reasons to support Scouting as her husband. “When you give philanthropically, you hope that it will affect lives,” she says. “In Scouting, you know you can affect lives.” And, it’s important to note, members of the new donor organizations can feel confident that their gifts won’t only be felt at the national level. Their support will also create and sustain initiatives in local councils.

Cristi emphasizes that they don’t just hope to inspire more significant financial donors. “Maybe it will motivate others who can’t contribute financially but have the time to be a merit badge counselor or help with Cub Scouts,” Cristi says. “Hopefully, this will motivate people to help in all ways, not just financially.”

Howard, recalling that long-ago volunteer Scout leader who showed him the Beartooth Mountains, certainly agrees.

The Boy Scouts of America National Foundation (bsafoundation.org) provides a full range of philanthropic and charitable gift services for donors and their advisors. Its primary mission is to support local, national, and international Scouting programs and initiatives.

WHY WE GIVE: THE NEXT GENERATION OF FAMILY VALUES

One of the benchmarks Howard and Cristi Bulloch set for their two daughters, Laurel and Bethany, is that some day they might marry Eagle Scouts. It’s not an impersonal requirement. Cristi recalls that when she was a young woman, she could tell a distinct difference in those young men (like her future husband) who had achieved Scouting’s highest rank. “I always felt safer and more honored as a woman when I was accompanied by an Eagle Scout,” she says.

That kind of alignment with family values is a key reason why Howard and Cristi are supporters of Scouting. Both see the beginning of Scouting’s second century as a pivotal time for the movement, during which it faces new challenges and new opportunities. They consider support like theirs essential to empower Scouting to enable young people to become better leaders, citizens, and people.

Howard was particularly affected by a recent meeting with several national youth leaders of Venturing, Sea Scouting, and the Order of the Arrow. “That’s what I believe in,” he says. “They are the crème de la crème of today’s youth. They’re going to grow up and become the future leaders of our country and our communities—and the Boy Scouts of America.”

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