UPS Pulls Boy Scouts’ Funding

Corporate donors are following suit

Photo by Think Stock

United Parcel Service (UPS), a major corporate donor of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA), has pulled its funding for the group until gay Scouts and leaders are welcome within the organization. It’s based on a new policy that prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation.

Eagle Scout Zach Wahls, founder of Scouts for Equality, has been asking companies like UPS to halt funding via a campaign on – resulting in not only UPS giving the BSA the heave-ho, but also Intel, which was one of the organization’s biggest corporate donors. Like Intel, UPS gave hundreds of thousands of dollars to the Boy Scouts in 2010, despite the organization’s anti-gay policy. But since both companies have received very high scores on the HRC’s Corporate Equality Index, they’ve decided to rethink their donations.

“UPS showed true bravery today in standing with the 80,000 Americans, including thousands of Scouts and Scout leaders, who oppose the Boy Scouts’ hurtful anti-gay policy. That bravery is what Scouting is all about,” says Wahls, a former scout. “Corporate America gets it better than most: policies that discriminate aren’t simply wrong, they’re bad for business and they’re hurting the scouting community. You would think that after all the Boy Scouts have lost as a result of this policy, they would understand that.”

UPS confirmed to GLAAD that under revised guidelines, organizations that are unable to attest to having a policy or practices that align with The UPS Foundation’s non-discrimination policy will no longer be considered eligible for funding. According to these new guidelines, organizations like the BSA cannot receive UPS funding while their anti-gay policy remains intact.

Here’s what the website says:

“The UPS Foundation seeks to support organizations that are in alignment with our focus areas, guidelines, and non-discrimination policy. UPS and The UPS Foundation do not discriminate against any person or organization with regard to categories protected by applicable law, as well as other categories protected by UPS and The UPS Foundation in our own policies. These include, but are not limited to race, gender, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, veteran or military status, pregnancy, age and religion.”

UPS’ decision to pull funding from the BSA comes a little more than a month after Intel ceased funding, as well as AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson and Ernst & Young CEO James Turley (both board members) calling for an end to the ban. Former Eagle Scouts have also been sending back their medals in protest.

“As one of more than 2,000 Eagle Scouts who are part of Scouts for Equality, it pains me to watch the Boy Scouts of America undermine all of the incredible work it has done to build America’s future leaders,” says Wahls. “We join UPS in encouraging the BSA to adopt an inclusive membership policy and look forward to the full restoration of corporate support as soon as this policy is over.”

GLAAD, which broke the story of gay mom Jennifer Tyrrell’s removal from her son’s Cub Scout pack in Ohio months ago because of her sexuality, has joined Wahls and Scouts for Equality in celebrating UPS’ decision to cease all future funding from the Boy Scouts while their anti-gay policy remains intact.

“The time is now for the BSA to end this outdated and unpopular ban before other corporate funders pull dollars and scouting families drop their support,” says GLAAD President Herndon Graddick. “All of the great work that the BSA does to help young people will continue to be overshadowed by their blatant discrimination until they join other inclusive organizations like the Girl Scouts of the USA and the 4-H Club.”