The UPS Foundation today joined a growing number of corporate leaders in providing financial support to those organizations that align with the company’s non-discrimination policy. Under this policy, the Boy Scouts of America is no longer eligible for grants from the UPS Foundation because of the BSA's ban on gay scouts and scout leaders.
The UPS Foundation posted the following on its site:
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 confirmed to GLAAD that under these guidelines, which UPS said have been in development for several months, organizations that are unable to attest to having a policy or practices that align with the Foundation’s non-discrimination policy will no longer be considered eligible for funding. Prior to The UPS Foundation’s non-discrimination language, UPS gave $167,000 to various Boy Scouts of America entities in 2010 and said there would not be a change to grant-making at that time according to an American Independent report in September 2012. UPS has consistently received high marks on the Human Rights Campaign's (HRC) Corporate Equality Index, an annual survey that rates U.S. corporations on their non-discrimination policies and practices toward LGBT employees and consumers.
In September 2012, the Intel Foundation said that the company could no longer fund organizations like the Boy Scouts of America, so long as the Scouts stand by their ban. BSA troops and councils around the country that have stated they will not adhere to the ban may still receive support from the Intel Foundation.
GLAAD, along with Scouts for Equality, is contacting corporate sponsors of the Boy Scouts of America to inform of them of the BSA’s ban on gay scouts and scout leaders. More than 80,000 people signed a Change.org petition started by Co-Founder of Scouts for Equality, Zach Wahls, and supported by GLAAD, which called on The UPS Foundation to end funding from the national BSA.
GLAAD President Herndon Graddick said:
“More and more corporate leaders are enacting strong non-discrimination policies for practices including grant funding and hiring. Equality is not only good for business, but supported by a vast majority of Americans. 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. 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.”
The CEOs of two major companies -- AT&T and Ernst & Young -- called for an end to the Boy Scouts’ anti-gay policies earlier this year. 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.
GLAAD first started calls for the Boy Scouts of America to end their ban on gay scouts and scout leaders in April 2012 after Jennifer Tyrrell, a mom and den leader from Ohio was removed from her 7-year-old’s Cub Scout Pack for being gay. Tyrrell’s Change.org petition has attracted more than 330,000 signatures in support of ending the Boy Scouts’ ban on gay Scouts and leaders.
Jennifer responded to today's news:
"We are finally heading in the right direction in this country and that is the direction of equality for all. It is time that the BSA respects the needs of the American people and stops rejected devoted parents and scouts because they happen to be LGBT. Until the BSA joins the national trend of equality, sponsors of the organization should continue to withhold support or support the growing number of troops that have rejected the ban."
Zach Wahls and Scouts for Equality also spoke out:
“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. 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.”
GLAAD and Scouts for Equality have also called attention to the Americans who are continuing to be harmed by the anti-gay policy, including Kentucky dad Greg Bourke who was ousted from his son’s troop this summer and launched a Change.org campaign to be reinstated as well as 18 year-old Ryan Andresen whose mother started a Change.org petition which is at over 420,000 signatures after he was denied an the rank of Eagle Scout because he is gay.
Earlier this year President Obama, who serves as honorary president of the Boy Scouts of America, publicly opposed the Boy Scouts of America’s anti-gay policy.