It wasn’t quite a treasure map, but it was close.
As Bill Maloney began researching Troop 292‘s history in advance of its 100th anniversary this year, he uncovered some old meeting minutes from the early 2000s.
“In the minutes, they talked about having lost information about mutual fund shares the chartered organization owned when the building they occupied burned down,” Maloney says. “The minutes were less than clear on whether the funds were ever found, so I decided to check my state’s lost property office.”
Maloney submitted a request to the state of California and is optimistic that some or all of the money will be returned to his troop’s chartered organization. While he awaits the official word, Maloney decided to check whether any other funds were owed to Troop 292 or its chartered organization.
“While I was at my state’s lost property website, I tossed ‘Scouts’ into the search,” he says. “I was surprised to find more than 500 listings of funds owed, including $25 that was due to our troop.”
Maloney shares this story with us because he knows that unclaimed money awaits thousands of Scout units across the country. He wants fellow Scouters to spend a few minutes checking to see whether their Scout unit or chartered organization is owed anything.
Sure, $25, $50 or even $250 won’t replace your pack or troop’s next popcorn fundraiser. But it could be enough to cover snacks at an upcoming meeting or transportation to a future campout.
And besides, free money is free money.
Unclaimed property can come into play when a unit checking account goes dormant or money owed to a unit is returned to a bank undelivered and undeposited. When that happens, banks turn that money over to the government after a defined period. The state holds on to that money until it’s claimed — if ever.
We searched the unclaimed property databases for all 50 states and found multiple results when using the search term “Scouts.” Most states don’t disclose the exact amount of the unclaimed property, but many do share whether the value is greater than or less than $100 or $250.
We found several examples of packs, troops and crews across the country that are owed more than $250, such as Troop 524 of Westminster, Colo., and Pack 152 of Detroit. We even found a troop out of Agoura Hills, Calif., that’s owed a whopping $679.26.
Ready to start your treasure hunt? Here’s how.
1. Head to unclaimed.org and find your state
Visit unclaimed.org, a safe and free tool created by the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators. (Note: Beware of potential scams. There is no charge to search for or claim unclaimed property in any state. If you are being asked to pay anything, you’re on the wrong site.)
Use the map on unclaimed.org to find your state’s official unclaimed property site.
2. Input your unit number into the search field
Most state databases have a field for “last name or business name.” This is the box you want.
You may need to try multiple combinations. For Troop 123, try combinations like “Troop 123,” “Scout Troop 123,” “Boy Scout Troop 123” and even “Boy Scouts 123.”
- If your pack, troop or Venturing crew has changed numbers in the past, check those older unit numbers, too.
- Check the name of your chartered organization. While the money they’re owed might not be designated for Scouting, it would still be a Good Turn for you to alert them to unclaimed cash.
- BSA councils should search for unclaimed money, too, as we turned up several councils in our searches.
- Don’t forget to search your own name. Individuals can have unclaimed money, as well.
3. If you find a match, follow the instructions from your state
Did you strike gold? Congrats! Have your unit’s treasurer download the claim form (or submit it online) and provide the requested information. Work with your chartered organization representative on this step, too.
The state will want proof that your unit is the authorized claimant for the dough.
Once the paperwork is squared away, all you have to do is wait for the check and deposit the money into your unit’s bank account.
Important: Consult your chartered organization
It’s possible this unclaimed money actually belongs to your chartered organization, whether that’s a religious institution or a community group. Always check with your chartered organization representative in matters of money.
Also important: Tax implications
For info on how this windfall of cash might impact your taxes, consult a financial advisor.