The Miss America Organization has always been — and continues to be — misunderstood by the public. The mission of this organization has been granting scholarship money for those very special women who are revered for their beauty, talent, and academic accomplishments as well as their well-toned physiques and their personal civic-minded platforms.

These women are truly “a cut above” in every respect.

Unfortunately, the glamour has overshadowed the real purpose of what this organization stands for as the country’s largest scholarship competition for women. A new lawsuit claims that the organizations two top leaders ”orchestrated an illegal and bad faith takeover of the Miss America Organization” which includes a restraining order and injunction to stop the current leadership and board from further damage of the organization’s operations as noted in the lawsuit. A hearing in Atlantic City will take place at the Atlantic County Courthouse on Jan. 25.

What troubles me most is the organization, through failed leadership over countless years, has not worked diligently to use its visibility and high profile to create many charitable events, nor has there been any viable attempts at fund-raising through marketing, merchandising, and solicitation.

Instead, the Miss America Organization has relied on handouts from the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority and the Children’s Miracle Network and Television Programming to remain alive. Amazingly, the Miss America Organization has not raised a single dollar on its own in well over 15 years. It has become totally dependent on the financial generosity of others.

It’s time to get back to the basics, to focus on who Miss America is and what she represents.

Miss America does not need a concept change. Things like motivation and support will never be outdated.

But we need to protect and cherish this organization that for so many years has been admired and revered. The Miss America Organization should be raising significant funds and awarding each new Miss America a $1 million scholarship, rather than a mere $50,000. That’s how much money contestants win on the average TV game show.

The Miss America Organization should have a sizable war chest of money to secure the best hosts, star-studded talent, the top judges and to stage a magnificent production. All of that needs to be surrounded by a national publicity and advertising campaign to make sure this night is no less important than any other televised awards show.

Miss America leadership of the recent past and into today have completely missed the mark for understanding the organization. They have forgotten the volunteers, the community, and the business owners who worked to help continue the path first traveled 100 years ago.

Contrary to popular belief, the Miss America pageant isn’t dead.

What the pageant needs now are entrepreneurial leaders with accomplished résumés who are not self-serving and shortsighted. They’re the ones who should lead the pageant further into the 21st century and interweave business and marketing strategies with the thousands of volunteers across the country who love participating in the evolution and shaping of successful young minds.

The pageant needs the strong leadership like the kind you can see on the reality series “Shark Tank,” with business dynamos like Barbara Corcoran, Robert Herjavec, and even the astute mind of Kevin “Mr. Wonderful” O’Leary.

Now is the time for the Miss America Organization to embrace its responsibility to pass the torch to future generation of little girls whose eyes sparkle with wonder as they fantasize about one day earning that crown and fulfilling their hopes and dreams.

Finally, the pageant’s leaders must show some gratitude and appreciation for a century of support by resurrecting and repairing Miss America’s broken relationship with Atlantic City and thanking this gracious community for standing behind Miss America for 90 years.

Without Atlantic City, Miss America would have never become the gold standard of similar competitions around the world.

It’s time for the Miss America Organization to get it right.

Suzette Charles is an American singer, entertainer, and actress. She was Miss New Jersey in 1983, and served as Miss America 1984 for seven weeks after Vanessa Williams was forced to resign from the position that July.