William D. Boyce was an American businessman and millionaire who owned numerous newspapers in the United States and Canada as well as a publishing company. In the early 1900s, he started to focus more on philanthropic projects than on business matters. It was during this time, as he was traveling around the world, that legend has it he was shown his way in London by an unknown Scout. The story goes on that the Scout refused gratuity, merely doing his duty as a Scout. The Scout is said to have then directed Boyce to the Scout headquarters.
We do know that Boyce did indeed go to Scout headquarters where Boyce picked up a copy of Scouting for Boys and other documents. Reading these books, he expressed interest in bringing Scouting to America and was given permission to use the British manual. More popular versions of this story have Boyce being guided by the unknown Scout after getting lost in the fog, and meeting Baden-Powell personally.
Boyce incorporated the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) on February 8, 1910. Boyce financially contributed to the BSA and appointed a permanent executive to run the organization. Boyce believed very much in the outdoor activities of the BSA and felt they were necessary and important to develop leadership and responsibility in boys, especially those boys who grew up in the cities, thus turning them into men. In 1915, Boyce created the Lone Scouts of America for Scouts who might not be able to participate in troops, which later integrated with the BSA in 1924. Boyce is also notable for having funded the organization and turning its ownership over to the executive board.