Atlanta-based UPS has announced a new policy that will cease all future funding to the Boy Scouts of America until gay Scouts and leaders are welcome within the organization. Recent financial reports show UPS gave over $150,000 to the Boy Scouts in 2010
Eagle Scout Zach Wahls, founder of Scouts for Equality, launched the campaign on Change.org just days after Intel Corporation, one of the Boy Scouts largest corporate donors, affirmed the company is no longer supporting the Boy Scouts of America. Like Intel, UPS gave hundreds of thousands of dollars to the Boy Scouts in 2010, despite the organization's anti-gay policy. UPS and Intel have received very high scores on the Human Rights Campaign's Corporate Equality Index, an in-depth annual report analyzing hundreds of companies on LGBT-related policies and practices.
"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," said Wahls. "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, available on UPS' website, organizations like the Boy Scouts of America cannot receive UPS funding while their anti-gay policy remains intact.
"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."
When first asked by the publication The American Independent if they would change their funding decisions over the Boy Scouts' anti-gay policies, UPS said they would stand by their donations to the Boy Scouts. Their new policy change, however, reverses this course.
UPS' decision to pull funding from the BSA comes just over a month after Intel Corporation, one of the Boy Scouts' largest corporate donors, affirmed that they would no longer fund the Boy Scouts. Intel received more than 30,000 signatures from a petition launched by Wahls and Scouts for Equality on Change.org.
"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," added 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."
UPS and Intel join the CEOs of two other major companies -- AT&T and Ernst & Young -- calling for an end to the Boy Scouts' anti-gay policies. AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson and Ernst & Young CEO James Turley both sit on the national board of the Boy Scouts of America.
GLAAD, which broke the story of gay mom Jennifer Tyrrell's removal from her son's Cub Scout pack in Ohio months ago, 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," 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 organizations like the Girl Scouts of the USA and the 4-H Club."