You’ve probably heard of the World Friendship Fund. You might even have donated a few bucks to the cause at summer camp, roundtable, a training session like Wood Badge or a Scout’s Own worship service.
But what is the World Friendship Fund? How did it start? And where do World Friendship Fund funds go?
I checked with Janine Halverson, director of the BSA’s International Department, for the details.
The timing is perfect because from Feb. 1 to 15 every year — timed to coincide with the BSA’s birthday on Feb. 8 — Scout Shops join the World Friendship Fund effort.
Visitors to Scout Shops are encouraged to donate $1 or more to the World Friendship Fund. You may also make a one-time or recurring gift online.
What is the World Friendship Fund?
The World Friendship Fund takes voluntary contributions from Scouts and leaders and uses that money toward projects to help Scouting associations in less-fortunate countries.
Remember, we are not alone. Scouting is global, and the Boy Scouts of America is merely one of 169 different National Scout Organizations. There are more than 40 million Scouts and adult volunteers worldwide, according to the World Organization of the Scout Movement.
Since the inception of the World Friendship fund, American Scouts and leaders have donated $11 million to support Scouts in other countries.
How did the World Friendship Fund start?
World War II was especially painful to Scouting worldwide. Scouts in many war-torn countries lost everything. They needed help to restart their Scouting programs.
In response to these Scouts’ needs, the BSA established the World Friendship Fund.
Where do World Friendship Fund donations go?
Donations help Scouts around the world with Scouting literature, uniforms, summer camp equipment, computers and other Scouting-related supplies.
The United States Fund for International Scouting (USFIS) is a subcommittee appointed by the National International Committee. They meet every February, May and October to review submitted grant proposals and vote on their approval.
When awarding a grant, the USFIS looks for projects that would assist a large percentage of the Scouts in the National Scout Organization. The projects should enhance Scouting in a significant way. Individual units aren’t eligible. Neither are Scouts from unrecognized Scout organizations.
Who are some recent World Friendship Fund beneficiaries?
Guatemala Scout Association: Scout leaders in Guatemala wanted to host the 2015 Inter-American Leadership Training. The six-day leadership and team-building course improved the skills of young Scout leaders from throughout the Inter-American Region of the World Organization of the Scout Movement. The training helped Scouting not just in Guatemala but also in El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Colombia, Peru and beyond.
The Scout Association of Mongolia: As part of its Safe Scouting project, Mongolia wanted to provide showers, modern toilet facilities and clean water for hand washing at its National Scout Camp. After the project was completed, the camp hosted several events, including a National Risk Management Workshop for the entire Asia-Pacific Region.
Pakistan Boy Scouts Association: Scout leaders in Pakistan sought to renovate and update the Scout Center at their National Camp. Improvements included adding new plaster for the building, rewiring electrical cables, treating the roof, adding an audio-visual system and more. The building, seen in the before-and-after photo above, was opened Feb. 7, 2017.
Asociación de Scouts de Nicaragua: Nicaragua’s Scout association wanted to reconstruct its national auditorium, which was in such disrepair it posed safety and environmental concerns. The rebuilt auditorium will be safer and have more air flow and natural light.
How to donate to the World Friendship Fund
Do your Good Turn for the globe. Donate to the World Friendship Fund today.
How to promote the World Friendship Fund
Collections for the World Friendship Fund can be organized during camporees, roundtable meetings, den and pack meetings, summer camping programs, blue and gold banquets, or any other Scout activity.
At many Wood Badge courses, offerings at the nondenominational worship service go to the World Friendship Fund.
World Friendship Fund brochures, posters and labels are available through your local council.
Register for the 2019 World Scout Jamboree
Want to experience just how global Scouting really is? Register to attend the 2019 World Scout Jamboree, held at the Summit Bechtel Reserve in West Virginia.