American Independent, 9/21/2012 [Archive]

Corporations Give Big Bucks to Boy Scouts Despite Anti-Gay Policy

Corporations Give Big Bucks to Boy Scouts Despite Anti-Gay Policy

By Andy Birkey, The American Independent

Corporate foundations have given millions to the Boy Scouts of America and its subdivisions in recent years despite that organization's policy of excluding gays and lesbians. Many of those same foundations have policies against giving to organizations that discriminate based on sexual orientation.

This summer, the Boy Scouts announced that a secret committee had decided to reaffirm the group's exclusion of "homosexuals."

The policy states: "While the BSA does not proactively inquire about the sexual orientation of employees, volunteers, or members, we do not grant membership to individuals who are open or avowed homosexuals or who engage in behavior that would become a distraction to the mission of the BSA."

I reviewed the tax filings of the top 50 corporate foundations as ranked by the Foundation Center. Twenty-three provided at least $10,000 to the Boy Scouts. Combined, they gave about $3.6 million. Many of those same foundations also have policies that prohibit giving to organizations that discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation.

Most of the corporations I contacted would not directly say whether the Boy Scouts' affirmation of its discriminatory policy would impact grant funding. The UPS Foundation, however, indicated there would be no change in the in its grant-making. UPS gave around $167,000 to various Boy Scout entities in 2010.

In a statement, UPS International Public Relations Manager Kristen Petrella said the Boy Scouts' decision to affirm their policy excluding "open or avowed homosexuals" will not change the company's funding choices.

"This decision has not and will not impact The UPS Foundation's decision to provide funding to BSA although we evaluate each funding request on an individual basis," said Petrella. She said the foundation is committed to supporting youth development.

She also noted that the foundation has supported LGBT groups, including $100,000 to the Human Rights Campaign and $50,000 to PFLAG in 2010.

Intel has an explicit policy of not giving to groups that discriminate.

That policy states that the Intel Foundation will not fund "organizations that discriminate on the basis of ... sexual orientation."

Yet, according to tax documents, the Intel Foundation gave about $700,000 to Boy Scout chapters in 2010.

Of that, more than $320,000 went to Boy Scout troops and councils connected to the Mormon Church, which has been one of the most vocal advocates for maintaining the Scouts' exclusionary policy. A spokesperson for Intel said the foundation would be reviewing its grant-making process in 2013 and that future grantees would be required to affirm that they don't discriminate.

Several other foundations that have similar policies prohibiting donations to groups that discriminate based on sexual orientation also gave to the Boy Scouts.

The Alcoa Foundation gave $34,000, the U.S. Bancorp gave about $143,000, the Verizon Foundation gave roughly $318,000, and the Eli Lilly and Company Foundation gave about $135,000.

Other foundations that gave to the Boy Scouts didn't have explicit, publically available funding guidelines regarding sexual orientation discrimination. The Pfizer Foundation gave about $191,000, the Valero Energy Foundation gave roughly $189,000, the Wells Fargo Foundation gave close to $227,000, the Bank of America Charitable Foundation gave about $240,000, the Abbott Fund gave about $37,000, the Caterpillar Foundation gave $25,000, Illinois Tool Works Foundation gave roughly $22,000, the Dow Chemical Company Foundation gave $12,000, the Nationwide Insurance Foundation gave about $46,000, the Monsanto Fund gave about $55,000, the PNC Foundation gave about $49,000, and the Allstate Fund gave $21,000. The Emerson Charitable Trust, the philanthropic arm of Emerson Electric, gave $533,000 during its fiscal year ending September 30, 2010.

Some foundations, however, gave mainly to Boy Scout entities that have decided to ignore the national organization's discriminatory policy. General Mills, based in Minneapolis, gave $34,000 to the Boy Scouts in fiscal year 2010. The vast majority went to the Northern Star Council of the Boy Scouts, which allows gay scouts and leaders.

The 3M Foundation gave about $279,000 to the Boy Scouts, most of which went to the Northern Star Council.

The Medtronic Foundation gave $52,000 to the Boy Scouts of America during its fiscal year ending April 30, 2010. About $27,000 of that went directly to the Northern Star Council, and another $13,000 went to individual scout troops within that council.

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©Copyright 2012 The American Independent, distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate.

The American Independent is a nonprofit newsroom that funds and publishes independent investigative journalism, and can be reached at editor@americanindependent.com.

This column has been edited by the author. Representations of fact and opinions are solely those of the author.




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