SAN FRANCISCO, CA Intel, one of the largest corporate donors to the Boy Scouts of America (BSA), has announced that they will cease all future funding to the Boy Scouts until gay Scouts and leaders are welcome within the organization.
Less than 48 hours ago, Eagle Scout Zach Wahls, founder of Scouts for Equality, launched a campaign on Change.org signed by more than 30,000 Americans urging Intel to pull funding from the Boy Scouts after an American Independent report revealed that the company gave nearly $700,000 to the Boy Scouts in 2010. Intel Corporation has a perfect score on the Human Rights Campaign's Corporate Equality Index, and has an explicit policy of not donating to groups that discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation.
"Intel made the right decision here, in order to live up to their corporate values of diversity, equality and individual liberty," said Wahls. "Companies that support the LGBT community simply can't be in the business of funding organizations that discriminate. Frankly, by sending this message, Intel is upholding the true spirit of Scouting better than the BSA is today."
In a statement released to Think Progress on Friday, September 21, Intel's Chief Diversity Officer, Rosalind Hudnell, said that the company could no longer fund the Boy Scouts of America, so long as the Scouts stand by their long-held policy barring gay troops and leaders from participating in the organization.
"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," said Hudnell.
Other companies that have made sizable donations to the Boy Scouts of America recently include Verizon ($300,000), as well as Wells Fargo, U.S. Bank, and Bank of America, which have each donated upwards of $100,000 to the Boy Scouts.
Intel's decision to discontinue funding for the Boy Scouts comes after a summer where the CEOs of two major companies AT&T and Ernst & Young called for an end to the Boy Scouts' anti-gay policies. AT&T's CEO, Randall Stephenson, and Ernst & Young's CEO, James Turley, both sit on the national board of the Boy Scouts of America.
"Companies and CEOs are joining with thousands of Eagle Scouts, and hundreds of thousands of other Americans calling for an end to discrimination in the Boy Scouts of America," said Wahls. "Until the BSA removes this hurtful policy that is inconsistent with its own principles, companies that strive for workplace freedom must reconsider their financial backing."
GLAAD, which initially broke the story of gay mom Jennifer Tyrrell's removal from her son's Cub Scout pack in Ohio several months ago, joined Wahls and Scouts for Equality in celebrating Intel's decision to cease all future funding from the Boy Scouts while their anti-gay policy remains intact.
"Intel joins current Boy Scouts of America Board Members, President Obama, Mitt Romney and hundreds of thousands of Americans in speaking out against the BSA's practice of unfairly kicking out gay scouts and scout leaders simply because of who they are," said 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 national organizations like the Girl Scouts of the USA and the 4-H Club. The time is now for the BSA to side with fairness, otherwise they will continue to see sponsors and scouting families drop their support."