James West Fellowship Award

James West Fellowship Award Knot


The James West Fellowship Award is probably the one award that sparks the most misunderstanding when spotted on a uniform. Some folks immediately assume that the award was simply purchased, which is not accurate. This award is presented to individuals based on a contribution of $1000 or more to the local Council's West Fellowship Fund. Only registered Scouters or youth members receive and wear the square knot.

The money may be given by a group of Scouters or individual Scouter to honor a fellow Scouter, as a memorial on the death of a Scouter, or to recognize an achievement. For example, a group of Scouters could put the money together to recognize the outstanding efforts of an individual who spent years doing publicity work for a local Council through newsletters, press releases, web pages, etc., for which there is no official recognition. The award can also be given to an individual who makes a contribution on his/her own behalf. Regardless of the source of funding, the award is used by BSA to generate badly needed funds to support critical local Council and national programs which have suffered major losses due to diversion of funding for national-level resolutions of risk-management issues.


1910 Society and Founders Circle

In addition to the James West Fellowship Awards, major donors have two additional honors they can receive, the 1910 Society and the Founders Circle. Members of these two groups wear an device on the James West Knot, shown here.

 Founders Circle and 1910 Society Devices

1910 Society

To qualify as a member of the 1910 Society, an individual donor, company, or organization must contribute $25,000 or more to the local council endowment fund. Recognition will be given for gifts of cash, stock, bonds, lead trusts, or other assets that could be readily converted to cash. The gift to endowment may be in the form of a pledge, but the pledge must be paid within five years of the pledge date.

The 1910 Society was named for the year in which the early, visionary leaders of Scouting founded the Boy Scouts of America. Those who have made endowment gifts to further the Scouting movement are, themselves, modern-day visionaries.

There are four levels of recognition in the 1910 Society:

  • Ernest Thompson Seton, nationally known artist and naturalist, author of the first official American Scout handbook and many other books important to Scouting; Seton level membership: $25,000 minimum gift.
  • Daniel Carter Beard, first chairman of the National Court of Honor, National Scout Commissioner, and author of many well- known books and stories for youth; Beard level membership: $100,000 minimum gift.
  • Theodore Roosevelt, first Chief Scout Citizen, first vice president of the BSA, and President of the United States; Roosevelt level membership: $500,000 minimum gift.
  • Waite Phillips, one of the BSA's first benefactors, and donor to the BSA of almost 130,000 acres of land in New Mexico and what is now Philmont Scout Ranch; Phillips level membership: $1,000,000 and up.

Founders Circle

The Founders Circle recognizes deferred gifts designated for the local council's endowment fund. Donors are recognized for gift commitments with a minimum value of $100,000 made through one or more of the following:

  • Bequest in a will or codicil
  • Charitable trusts, such as unitrusts, annuity trusts, and lead trusts.
  • BSA Gifts Annuities or BSA Pooled Income Fund gifts
  • Life insurance / retirement plan designation
  • Other deferred gifts approved by the local council

Similar to the 1910 Society, there are four levels of membership in the Founders Circle:

  • Bronze $100,000 minimum gift commitment
  • Silver $250,000 minimum gift commitment
  • Gold $500,000 minimum gift commitment
  • Platinum $1,000,000 minimum gift commitment

Page updated on: August 09, 2007



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