Boy Scout Billionaire Donates $25 Million for 10,600-Acre Park

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Photographer: Gary Hartley/Summit Bechtel Reserve via Bloomberg

The scenic overlook onto what will be called The Summit Bechtel Reserve.

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Photographer: Gary Hartley/Summit Bechtel Reserve via Bloomberg

The scenic overlook onto what will be called The Summit Bechtel Reserve. Close

The scenic overlook onto what will be called The Summit Bechtel Reserve.

Source: Justice Companies via Bloomberg

Jim Justice, chief executive officer of Justice Family Group LLC, stands in front of The Greenbrier hotel in West Virginia which he purchased in 2009 for $20 million. Justice will announce a $25 million gift to help fund The Summit Bechtel Reserve, a 10,600-acre park for Boy Scout of America events. Close

Jim Justice, chief executive officer of Justice Family Group LLC, stands in front of The Greenbrier hotel in West... Read More

Photographer: Gary Hartley/Summit Bechtel Reserve via Bloomberg

A lone bulldozer works on touching up the final grading of Camp E at The Summit Bechtel Reserve. Close

A lone bulldozer works on touching up the final grading of Camp E at The Summit Bechtel Reserve.

Photographer: Gary Hartley/Summit Bechtel Reserve via Bloomberg

Rob Cocquyt, director of Gravity Logic, takes a break from building mountain bike trails and tries out the BMX Pump track at the Summit Bechtel Reserve. Close

Rob Cocquyt, director of Gravity Logic, takes a break from building mountain bike trails and tries out the BMX Pump... Read More

Jim Justice has fond memories of exploring West Virginia as a Cub and Boy Scout.

“I have a real love for the outdoors,” said Justice, 60. “And it began with my dad, with me waddling alongside him.”

Today, the chief executive officer of Justice Family Group LLC will announce a $25 million gift to the Boy Scouts of America, the largest single philanthropic donation he has made.

The money will support the creation of the Summit Bechtel Family National Scout Reserve, a 10,600-acre park near his home in Lewisburg, West Virginia, that will host the organization’s 2013 National Scout Jamboree.

“I can’t think of an organization that has done more for kids,” Justice said by phone, noting that the Boy Scouts of America emphasizes character and citizenship. “If there’s anything we need today, it’s that.”

Justice earned a golf scholarship to the University of Tennessee and then transferred to Marshall University where he excelled in the sport and earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees.

He joined his father’s company, Blue Stone Industries, and took over the business when his father died in 1993. Justice expanded into agriculture, timber, cotton gins and Christmas trees. Justice Family Farms LLC is one of the largest grain producers on the East Coast, according to a company spokesman.

In 2008, he sold the unit Bluestone Coal Corp. to OAO Mechel (MTLR), a Moscow-based metals and mining company, for $1.45 billion. The following year, Justice bought The Greenbrier, a luxury resort in West Virginia’s Allegheny Mountains, for $20.1 million and rescued it from bankruptcy.

Other Gifts

Other philanthropists have made large gifts to support the scout reserve, such as Bechtel Group Inc. Chairman Emeritus Stephen D. Bechtel Jr., who gave $50 million, the largest donation to fund the land purchase for the BSA project.

Walter Scott Jr. of Level 3 Communications Inc. (LVLT) made a $25 million donation, and J. Brett Harvey, chairman and chief executive officer of Consol Energy Inc. (CNX), chipped in $15 million. The BSA has raised about $200 million for the project from donors.

“The people who we track as donors are leaders in their community,” Wayne Perry, president-elect of the Boy Scouts of America, said by phone. “They remember the past, they see how the youth of America need this program. Jim’s gone on to be an unbelievable citizen.”

Justice, who will name one of the parks of the Scout Reserve after his father, said he learned about the BSA project during an elk-hunting trip in Colorado with Harvey.

“It was an easy call for me, but it was also a big, big step,” Justice said about the size of his donation. “At the same time, when you leave this life, it’s all about what you left behind.”

To contact the writer on this story: Patrick Cole in New York at pcole3@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Manuela Hoelterhoff in New York at mhoelterhoff@bloomberg.net.

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