Intel, one of the largest corporate donors of the Boy Scouts of America has confirmed that it will drop all funding to troops that apply the organisation’s discriminatory polices towards LGBT children and leaders.
The Boy Scouts of America announced in July that it would retain a policy that discriminates against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered (LGBT) people. The Boy Scouts of America has adopted positions since 1991 which state that homosexuality is “inconsistent with the Scout Oath that a Scout be morally straight and in the Scout Law that a Scout be clean in word and deed”.
More than 31,000 people signed a petition started by Eagle Scout Zach Wahls calling on the Intel to stop funding the organisation.
In his article on Change.org, Mr Wahls wrote: “On Intel’s website, the company proudly displays a banner highlighting their 100% rating on the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index. Now, Scouts and Scout leaders across the country urge Intel to act on that rating and help end the Boy Scouts’ anti-gay policy.
“In 2010, Intel gave nearly $700,000 to the Boy Scouts of America, despite the organization’s policy banning gay Scouts and leaders from participating. (1) This is in direct conflict with Intel Foundation’s own funding criteria, which stipulates that Intel will not fund ‘Organizations that discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, veteran or disability status.’
“Until the Boy Scouts of America removes this hurtful policy that is inconsistent with its own principles, they do not deserve the financial backing of companies that strive for workplace equality — especially innovators like Intel.”
Responding to the petition, Intel’s Chief Diversity Officer, Rosalind Hudnell confirmed that the company would only provide donations to Boy Scout Troops that refused to apply the organisation’s discriminatory policy. In a statement, she said: “Intel and the Intel Foundation give millions of dollars annually to great organizations doing valuable service around the globe. Intel has not provided funding to the National Boy Scouts of America organization. The $700,000 in funding from the Intel Foundation was donated to local Boy Scout troops or councils where our employees volunteer their time, through our volunteer matching grants program.
“In an effort to recognize our employees commitment to the communities we call home, Intel expanded its volunteer matching grants program in 2009. Through it, Intel matches the amount of time employees’ volunteer with non-profits with dollars from the Intel Foundation. Due to significant growth in the number of organizations funded, earlier this year we revisited our policies associated with the program, and applied new rigor that requires any organization to confirm that it adheres to Intel’s anti-discrimination policy in order to receive funding.
“Intel is committed to fostering a culture of inclusion and to supporting the communities in which we live and work.
Under the policy, the growing number of Boy Scout troops and councils that refuse to abide by BSA’s discriminating policy would still be eligible for Intel’s funding. Hopefully, the company’s ongoing commitment to its employees and their volunteer work will help more troops shift to a policy of inclusion.”
US President Barak Obama is the honorary president of the Boy Scouts of America, although he refused to resign over the organisation’s discriminatory practices, White House spokesman Shin Inouye said: “The President believes the Boy Scouts is a valuable organisation that has helped educate and build character in American boys for more than a century.
“He also opposes discrimination in all forms, and as such opposes this policy that discriminates on basis of sexual orientation.”
The Girl Scouts of America has a non-discrimination policy.
Both the UK Scouts and Guides movement, as required by British law, do not discriminate against volunteers or members due to their sexuality. Indeed the UK Scouts movement is actively recruiting LGBT leaders and members.