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September 6, 2022

How Revenue is Spent at the Girl Scouts (2021)

by Anne Paddock

The Girl Scouts of the United States of America (Girl Scouts) is a tax-exempt, non-profit 501 (c) (3) based in New York, NY. With more than 2.5 members (an estimated 1.8 million girl members and about 700,000 member volunteers) the Girl Scouts works to build “courage, confidence, and character” in young girls.

There are 29 independent voting members (board members) of the governing body (board), although 41 are listed on the Form 990 (2020 for the year ending September 30, 2021) – 36 of the 41 are female while 5 of the 41 are male.

In 2021, the Girl Scouts reported total revenue of $131 million (compared to $112 million in 2020 and $122 million in 2019) which came from:

  • $45 million:  Investment Income, Royalties, Gains on sales of assets
  • $35 million:  Membership Dues
  • $26 million:  Contributions, Gifts, and Grants
  • $16 million:  Sale of Inventory
  • $ 9  million:  Events, Software, Camp

It is important to note the Girl Scouts had $188 million in net assets at the beginning of 2020.  In April, 2020 the Girl Scouts received $7.3 million as a payroll protection program (PPP) loan, which was accounted for as deferred revenue but was reclassified as grant revenue when the conditions for the loan were met and the loan forgiven by the Small Business Loan Administration in July, 2021.  In May, 2021, the Girl Scouts received a second PPP loan in the amount of $2 million which was treated as deferred revenue (and forgiven in 2022). By the end of 2021, net assets were $219 million – more than $30 million higher than before the pandemic.

The question begs:  Why  does a non-profit with more than $200 million in net assets get loans of $9 million loan from the government that will be forgiven? The organization could clearly absorb the costs of keeping their employees (as they were also able to pay for first class or charter travel and make gross up payments and provide tax indemnifications in 2020; note these expenses were discontinued in 2021).

Expenses totaled $100 million (not including $11 million in depreciation) and can be categorized as follows:

  • $42 million (32% of revenue):  Compensation
  • $26 million (20% of revenue):  Office-Related Expenses
  • $15 million (11% of revenue):  Fees for Services (consult, temp staff, fundraisers, etc)
  • $ 9  million (7% of revenue):  Grants (primarily to related Girl Scout organizations)
  • $ 4 million (3% of revenue):  Other Expneses
  • $ 3 million (2% of revenue):  Advertising and Promotion
  • $  1 million (1% of revenue):  Payments to Affiliates

As illustrated above, compensation is the largest expense.  478  employees received $42 million in compensation (compared to 558 employees who received $59 million in compensation in 2020) – or an average of $88,000 each.  191 employees received more than $100,000.  The most highly compensate employee was Sylvia Acevedo, CEO who received $1.6 million although she departed in August, 2020.  In addition, it is important to note the PPP program provided more than $9 million to the Girl Scouts to retain their employees and yet the organization has 80 employees less than the year prior.

So, to answer the question of how revenue is spent, note the following:  Every $100 in revenue was spent as follows:

 $100:  Revenue

-$ 32:  Compensation

-$ 20:  Office-Related Expenses

-$ 11:  Fees for Services (consultants, temp staff, fundraisers, etc)

-$  5:  Advertising, Travel, and Other Expenses

-$ 68: Subtotal Expenses:  Comp, Office, Fees, Advertising, Travel, Other

  $ 32:  Revenue Remaining

-$  7:  Grants

-$  1:  Payments to Affiliates

-$  8:  Subtotal:  Grants and Payments to Affiliates

 $  24:  Revenue Remaining:  To General Fund

As illustrated above, the Girl Scouts spent $68 out of every $100 on organization expenses – primarily compensation for the employees, office-related expenses, and fees for services.  $8 out of every $100 was spent on grants (primarily to affiliates) and payments to affiliates.

To read the IRS Form 990 (2020 for the year ending Sept 30, 2021), click here.

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