Housatonic Council, Boy Scouts of America Fund
Organized in 1917 and incorporated in 1920, Derby-based Housatonic Council has the distinction of one of the smallest Boy Scout councils (3rd smallest of 304 councils) and one of the oldest. It was formed by a group of Valley business and community leaders, who understood the benefits that the scouting program could provide to the youth of the Valley.
Frank Gates, well-known community-minded industrialist, was a charter member of the Council Board and served as its Honorary President for over forty years. Mr. Gates and the legendary Ed Strang, a lifelong Scouting leader, were the Council's two recipients of the prestigious Silver Antelope award, the highest award presented by the National BSA.
More than 50,000 Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, and Venture Scouts have benefitted from the programs of the Housatonic Council, which reaches approximately one in every five youth in the Valley area. Each year twenty Eagle Scout candidates lead significant projects benefiting the community, resulting in more than 4,000 hours of service.
The Valley Community Foundation and its partner in philanthropy The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven have been strong supporters of the Council throughout history. The Frank Gates Dining Hall, central structure of the Council's 186 acre Edmund Strang Scout Reservation, was constructed with support from The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven's Gates Fund. The annual "Scouting for Food" campaign, providing basic needs assistance for the indigent and the homeless, has received sponsorship grants by VCF.
The Housatonic Council has a keen respect for the basic rights of all people, and embraces VCF's goal of working with all local charities and non-profits to make the Valley a better place to live and work. It is for this reason the Council transferred its Endowment Fund from The National BSA to the Valley Community Foundation.
"With the support of VCF, the people of the Valley, and our Scouting alumni," says the Council, "we trust that our endowment will grow so that we can increase funding for Eagle Scout Scholarships, Summer Camp Camperships for disadvantaged boys, and for continued improvement of the Ed Strang Scout Reservation."