Why the Girls Scouts Turned Down a $100,000 Donation

Photo (cc) by GraceFamily

A $100,000 donation is big money for the Girl Scouts, or any nonprofit for that matter.

But that didn’t stop the Girl Scouts of Western Washington from rejecting a $100,000 gift, once it understood the money came with strings attached.

The donation came with the stipulation that it not be used to support transgender girls, according to SeattleMet. Even though the money represented nearly a quarter of the council’s annual fundraising goal and would cover the cost of sending 500 girls to camp, the Girl Scouts turned it down.

“Girl Scouts is for every girl,” council CEO Megan Ferland told SeattleMet. “And every girl should have the opportunity to be a Girl Scout if she wants to.”

But the Girls Scouts of Western Washington didn’t stop there. The council launched an Indiegogo fundraising campaign on June 29 entitled #ForEVERYGirl to replace the $100,000 it had returned because of its transgender limitations.

“Our vision at Girl Scouts of Western Washington is that EVERY girl in our region — regardless of her race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, gender identity or geographic location — is empowered to unleash her potential, build her future and transform her world,” the fundraising page said.

The money quickly poured in. In just three days, 6,300 donors contributed more than $304,000 to the campaign.

“Together you’ve made sure that more than 1,500 girls can join a troop, go to camp and participate in a multitude of life-changing Girl Scout experiences,” the council said on its fundraising page.

The Girl Scouts of the United States of America welcomes transgender girls. The Girl Scouts describes its stance on its “Frequently Asked Questions” page:

Placement of transgender youth is handled on a case-by-case basis, with the welfare and best interests of the child and the members of the troop/group in question a top priority. That said, if the child is recognized by the family and school/community as a girl and lives culturally as a girl, then Girl Scouts is an organization that can serve her in a setting that is both emotionally and physically safe.

This is the second time in the last five years that Ferland has sent a strong public message about the Girl Scouts’ acceptance of transgender girls, SeattleMet said. In 2012, when Ferland was leading the Colorado council, a 7-year-old transgender girl was denied entry to a Denver troop.

Although the council had never specifically said that it accepted transgender girls, the national organization had always made inclusivity the foundation of its mission. So after checking with the council’s attorney, Ferland issued a public statement welcoming transgender girls and explaining that the council was working to find a troop for the girl who’d been rejected.

Kudos to the Girl Scouts for taking a stand to be inclusive and support transgender girls. As a former Girl Scout, this makes me proud.

What do you think of the council’s refusal of the donation and subsequent fundraising campaign? Share your comments below or on our Facebook page.

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