In 1938, composer Irving Berlin instructed attorneys to draw up papers to guarantee that every cent "God Bless America" ever earned went to a place that he thought would help to make the country's future brighter and stronger. In those months leading up to the U.S. entry into World War II, he selected that royalties from the song's go to Girl Scout and Boy Scout programs in impoverished and disadvantaged areas.
CNN reports that trustees of the fund Berlin set up are free to allocate the money to programs where they feel it will be beneficial. It has gone to different Scouting organizations over the years. The current recipients of the royalties are the Greater New York Councils of the Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts. Officials for both groups say it is impossible to overestimate how much good the "God Bless America" royalties continue to do for boys and girls with few advantages or resources; there are Scouting programs in homeless shelters and public housing projects that would not exist were it not for the fund.