George W. Magee Memorial Trust Fund
George W. P. Magee was a theatrical agent and manager who most notably managed Boston's Grand Opera House from the 1890s through 1916. Being very involved in the community, he saw Scouting as a program making significant positive impact on the lives of young men. He turned this belief into a permanent commitment to Scouting, by establishing a trust upon his death. His will reads, in part:
"They shall pay the amounts, during their respective lives, to the individuals mentioned above, and they shall distribute the balance of the net income of the said Trust Fund to such of the councils of the BOY SCOUTS OF AMERICA as are located in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and as, in the opinion of said Trustees, are performing the most efficient service, the said net income to be used, so far as possible, for the purchase and maintenance of summer camps or training camps in New England for the use of Boy Scouts. These payments shall be made by said Trustees after consultation with the officials of the Boy Scouts of America.
It is my desire that the said Councils to whom this Fund is distributed, shall, during the week of August sixth, which date is my birthday have such competitive games, drills and/or exhibitions as may, in the opinion of said Councils, be for the greatest benefit of the said boys and will also tend to permanently impress upon them the nature of the Fund, and, for such purpose, they may award such cups, badges or other recognition of merit as to them may seem proper.
In disbursing the said income, the Trustees have the right to erect in any Boy Scout camp or training field conducted under the auspices of Councils of the Boy Scouts located in Massachusetts, a lodge or general meeting place with a proper inscription showing that the said structure is erected and dedicated by this Fund."
George Magee died in 1939, with France Cornell and Frederick W. Cook becoming the original Trustees of the fund. It took nearly 5 years, until 1944, for the fund to reach the minimum level for income to be distributed ($500,000). In 1944, the fund distributed $11,000. Upon the death of Mr. Cornell in 1961, the Old Colony Trust Company became the sole corporate trustee of the fund.
As of 2004, the fund had a market value of approximately $7.3 million, with an annual distribution of $210,000. Over its lifetime, the fund has contributed over $6.3 million to hundreds of projects, impacting over a million youth, at various Boy Scout camps. Funds are held by the Private Bank at Bank of America, the current successor of the Old Colony Trust Company, and they are advised by a committee composed of local Scouting professionals and volunteers. Many Massachusetts camps conduct a "Magee Night" competition or other similar event to celebrate Mr. Magee's contribution, and it is quite easy to find buildings named after Mr. Magee or with plaques bearing his name.
Councils requesting money typically make proposals to the advisory committee, stating the purpose of the project, the amount being requested, and any moneys being provided through other sources. Only Councils located in Massachusetts are eligible, although as the will reads the camps that benefit may be located elsewhere in New England.
- Last Will and Testament of George W. P. Magee, June 25, 1938
- George W. Magee Memorial Trust Fund (1994). 50 Years of Scouting Support: The George W. Magee Memorial Trust Fund, 1994.
- George W. Magee Memorial Trust Fund (2004). 60 Years of Scouting Support: The George W. Magee Memorial Trust Fund, 2004.