Regional Girl Scouts group ends partnership with United Way

Published 12:00 am Thursday, May 9, 2013

After many years as a Rowan County United Way member agency, the Girl Scouts, Hornets’ Nest Council of Charlotte has decided to end its affiliation with the organization.
The Girl Scouts have been a member agency for several decades.
United Way funding provided partial assistance — roughly 30 percent — for 319 girls from underserved communities in Rowan County. The Girl Scouts were one of 16 United Way member agencies.
“The Girl Scouts Hornets’ Nest Council is honored to have been a United Way member agency for many years. In an effort to provide a comprehensive Girl Scout program experience for the girls of Rowan County, Girl Scouts is stepping away to allow girls the opportunity to participate in the fall sale program which occurs during the campaign blackout period,” said Katherine Lambert, executive vice president of the Girl Scouts Hornets’ Nest Council.
The agencies sign an agreement not to fundraise during the four-month campaigning period while community volunteers raise money on the member agency’s behalf, United Way officials said.
Lambert said this was not a decision taken lightly, but one the organization felt was in the best interest of all the Girl Scouts in Rowan County. She said by remaining a member agency, they were denying 1,300 Rowan County girls annually the opportunity to participate in the fall sale program, which was deemed competition with the United Way campaign.
“We are stepping away from being a part of the funding process, but certainly not the admiration for the organization and the great work they do in Rowan County,” Lambert said of United Way.
Lambert said their primary reason was the girls’ “inability to fully participate in our program offering as their peers in all seven other counties we serve.”
United Way officials have also said the decision was based on the distance from the Girl Scouts’ home office to Rowan County, administrative time and cost to participate in allocations, campaign events and statistical information required by the United Way.
In weighing whether to end affiliation Lambert said they looked at “how we could best meet their (Girls Scouts) needs based on feedback from volunteers, girls and families.”
The Girl Scouts in Rowan County and the Hornets’ Nest Council will continue to be served, and officials said they are still committed to seeing that financial assistance continues to be available.
“We are very saddened by this change with our Girl Scouts. However, we do understand why they feel it is best for their organization. We have enjoyed our partnership with them for many years and wish them much success,” said James Randolph, vice president of agency relations.
Randolph said the parting was an amicable decision.
Dr. Alan King, president of the United Way board of directors said the United Way wishes the Girl Scouts the best and “hope they continue to serve girls in Rowan County especially girls in need who can’t afford the Girl Scouts program.”
He said the Girl Scouts did receive allocated funds from last year’s campaign and have spent the funds as United Way officials would expect them to do.
The board will have to decide if it will take on another agency or offer additional funding to existing agencies in the upcoming campaign season, King said.
If the board decides to add another agency, King said, it could be an agency that matches very closely with the needs assessment, but it would have to be a full board decision as to what will happen.

Contact reporter Shavonne Potts at 704-797-4253. Twitter: