UPS will no longer be giving money to the Boy Scouts of America, becoming the latest company that has stopped funding or has spoken out against the organization’s policy of prohibiting gay members or leaders.
The Sandy Springs shipping giant confirmed Monday it has changed its policy on charitable gifts to require that recipients have a non-discrimination policy that matches its own.
While UPS stopped short of saying the move was aimed at the Boy Scouts, the youth organization is the only one UPS had given to in the past that would be affected, company spokeswoman Kristen Petrella said.
Gay rights supporters applauded the move.
Boy Scouts of America spokesman Deron Smith said in a statement it will hurt communities.
“We are disappointed to learn about this decision but respect everyone’s right to have and express a different opinion,” he said. “Unfortunately, this decision will have a direct impact on the youth we serve in local communities.”
A local spokesman, Jeff Fulcher, said the Atlanta Area Council has the same reaction as the national organization.
Boy Scouts of America did not have any pending funding requests before UPS, Petrella said. She said company leaders realized there was a gap between its non-discrimination workplace policies and those affecting corporate giving, and wanted to close it.
Mitch Leff, a local resident who has two sons in Scouting, said he hopes UPS’s move will help change the Boy Scouts’ policy.
“It certainly doesn’t portray Scouting as the positive, caring organization that I know it as,” he said.
Computer chip titan Intel, identified by a gay and lesbian news magazine as the Boy Scouts’ largest corporate benefactor, reportedly ended funding to the organization earlier this year.
The chief executives of AT&T and Ernst & Young, respectively, who are both on Boy Scouts of America’s executive board, said they support ending the ban of gay members, and will try to work to change the policy.
An online petition on Change.org by an Iowa Eagle Scout asking UPS to halt its funding received more than 83,000 signatures, but UPS said the process had begun before the petition was started this year.
Change.org said UPS donated $150,000 to the Boy Scouts in 2010, but Petrella said that was a larger amount than the company donated most years. Such a donation from UPS is a relative drop in the bucket in the Boy Scout’s annual revenue.
UPS’s charitable foundation oversaw nearly $100 million in donations and in-kind services to charities last year, according to its annual report to the Securities and Exchange Commission, filed in February.
Boy Scouts of America reported total revenue of $201.5 million in 2011, including $61 million listed under contributions and bequests, according to the nonprofit’s 2011 treasurer’s report, which is posted on its website.
Several Georgia companies did not respond for comment about whether they had donated to Boy Scouts of America in the past, or plan to make any changes.
Atlanta-based Home Depot said it donated $18,000 to various local Boy Scout projects around the country this year and $14,000 last year. Home Depot did not make any donations to the national organization. Spokesman Stephen Holmes said he said he did not know if Home Depot will change change its donation policies, but added its focus has been on veterans.
UPS received a 100 percent rating in the Human Rights Campaign’s 2012 Corporate Equality Index, a survey of firms’ inclusion and treatment of lesbian, bisexual, gay and transgendered employees.
Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.
Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.
Staff writer J. Scott Trubey contributed to this story.