The philanthropic arm of shipping giant UPS said it will no longer give money to the Boy Scouts of America as long as the group discriminates against gays, the second major corporation to recently strip funding from the scouts.
The UPS Foundation made the change Thursday after an online petition protesting its annual grants to the Boy Scouts attracted more than 80,000 signatures. UPS, based in Atlanta, follows computer chip maker Intel in withdrawing corporate support for the Boy Scouts…
UPS spokeswoman Kristen Petrella said groups applying for the foundation grants will have to adhere to the same standards UPS does by not discriminating against anyone based on race, religion, disability or sexual orientation.
“We promote an environment of diversity and inclusion,” Petrella said Monday. “UPS is a company that does the right things for the right reasons.”
The UPS Foundation distributed $45.3 million in grants last year. Petrella said she was not aware of any other current grant recipients who would be affected by the new policy.
Petrella said the company had been concerned about discrimination by the Boy Scouts before the petition drive.
The Boy Scouts said this summer it was sticking with the divisive, long-standing policy of excluding openly gay youth and adults as members and leaders.
UPS and Intel changed course after Zach Wahls, an Eagle Scout and founder of the group Scouts for Equality, began online petitions this fall at Change.org calling for corporations to end their financial support of the Boy Scouts. That call has been echoed by such groups as the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, which has highlighted the case of an Ohio mother barred from volunteering with her son’s Cub Scout pack because she is a lesbian.
“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,” Wahls said Monday. “You would think that after all the Boy Scouts have lost as a result of this policy, they would understand that.”
The holier-than-thou-crowd continue to specialize in hypocrisy. For decades, the Boy Scouts of America kept track of staff and volunteers who sexually abused boys – and just as thoroughly skipped reporting abusers to local coppers.
Nice to see that UPS still responds quickly – when social injustice is pointed out to them. In one of my earliest actions against institutionalized racism, I was part of a group that confronted UPS for lily-white hiring policies in the northern industrial city where I lived. It took just the one meeting for them to reverse the program and reach out to the Black and Hispanic community.
Of course, that was 50 years ago. You’d think they might have gotten beyond needing a nudge, by now?