Merck suspends Boy Scout funding

Merck became the third major company in three months to suspend funding of the Boy Scouts because of its discrimination policies.

The first two companies — UPS and Intel — suspended giving to the Boy Scouts after Scouts for Equality questioned why those companies donated to an organization whose policies are in conflict with nondiscrimination giving guidelines. Merck stopped its donations apparently after an internal “re-evaluation” that was part of a “broader review of funding decisions in 2013.”

“The BSA’s policy of exclusion based on sexual orientation directly conflicts with the Merck Foundation’s giving guidelines,” the giving arm of the drug maker announced on its website.

The foundation re-evaluated funding after the Boy Scouts of America restated its policy to continue excluding based on sexual orientation last summer. That announcement came during the visit to Dallas of Cub Scout mom Jen Tyrrell who had been removed from her position because she is lesbian. During Tyrrell’s visit, the Boy Scouts claimed to have been studying a change to their policy for two years but would not release the study or the names of the 11 people the the group claimed were on the committee that reviewed it.

Tyrrell was in Dallas at the time to deliver a petition to reinstate her that had gathered 300,000 signatures. The petition is still open for additional signatures.

—  David Taffet

UPS cuts funds to Boy Scouts

UPS announced Monday that it will no longer make donations to the Boy Scouts of America because the organization discriminates.

On its community-giving website, UPS wrote:

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.

In October, the Boy Scouts lost its largest donor, Intel, when the group Scouts for Equality convinced the corporation it shouldn’t fund organizations whose nondiscrimination policies contradict its own. Scouts for Equality founder Zach Wahls next targeted UPS because of its 100 percent rating on HRC’s Corporate Equality Index and for its high visibility. Wahls also told Dallas Voice that the timing coincided with the upcoming Christmas package delivery season.

“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,” Wahls said in a press release Monday. “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.”

The BSA stands to lose $700,000 from Intel. Now the organization will lose another $167,000.

In its statement, UPS wrote that diversity drives the company’s business success. The company’s foundation makes donations under five categories — diversity, community safety, nonprofit effectiveness, environment, and economic and global literacy. According to the UPS Foundation’s 2009 annual report, the donation to the Boy Scouts was listed under its diversity category.

—  David Taffet