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Valero, other corporations, giving big to Boy Scouts despite anti-gay policies

Photo: Photo illustration by Chuck Kerr, License: N/A

Photo illustration by Chuck Kerr



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The U.S. Bancorp Foundation's website states: "The U.S. Bancorp Foundation charitable contributions program will not provide funding for … organizations whose practices are not in keeping with the company's equal opportunity policy."

According to U.S. Bank's employee handbook: "U.S. Bank prohibits both discrimination against and harassment of any employee or applicant, and ensures that all personnel practices are administered on individual merit and capability without regard to race, religion, color, age, sex, national origin or ancestry, sexual orientation including gender expression or identity, genetic information, disability, veteran status, or other factors identified and protected by law. These practices include, but are not limited to, recruitment, advertising, selection, performance management, compensation, training, placement, transfer, demotion, promotion, disciplinary action and termination."

The Verizon Foundation bars funding for organizations that discriminate. According to the Verizon Foundation's grant guidelines, in order to be "eligible for funding consideration, organizations must … serve the community without discrimination on the basis of age, color, citizenship, disability, disabled veteran status, gender, race, religion, national origin, marital status, sexual orientation, military service or status or Vietnam-era veteran status."

But Verizon gave roughly $318,000 in 2010 to various Boy Scout entities.

Several other corporate foundations provided grants and funding to the Boy Scouts despite having a non-discrimination policy. GE Foundation gave about $68,000 in matching contributions to the Boy Scouts, but also has a policy warning potential grantees that they will be ineligible if they "do not comply with GE's non-discrimination policy," which includes sexual orientation.

The Eli Lilly and Company Foundation, the charitable arm of Eli Lilly and Company pharmaceuticals, gave a $100,000 grant to the Boy Scouts' Crossroads of America Council in Indiana in 2010 as part of a $500,000 grant agreement. Lilly contributed another $30,500 to the Crossroads council and other local troops and councils in a volunteer matching program. According to Indianapolis Star columnist Ruth Holladay, the Crossroads of America Council excluded a gay parent from leadership activities in 2005 and acknowledged it adhered to the national policy. The council's spokesperson could not be reached for comment.

Yet, Eli Lilly's website states that "organizations that discriminate on the basis of race, sex, sexual orientation, age or religion" are "not supported by the Lilly Foundation as a matter of general policy."

Many companies did not respond to requests for information specific to their foundations, including whether they had policies that prohibit funding groups that discriminate. However, all the corporations whose foundations gave to the Boy Scouts did have employment policies that prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation.

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