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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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Among those were the Pfizer Foundation, which gave about $191,000 to the Boy Scouts, and the foundation of Valero Energy, an oil refinery company in Texas, which gave roughly $189,000.

Large financial services companies also gave to the Boy Scouts in 2010. The Wells Fargo Foundation gave close to $227,000, and the Bank of America Charitable Foundation gave about $240,000 to various Boy Scout entities.

(Wells Fargo, which merged with Wachovia in 2008, also administered the Wachovia-Wells Fargo Foundation, and that foundation gave an additional $288,000 to Boy Scout entities in 2010. According to that foundation's tax documents, it has distributed 99 percent of its assets and will cease operations at the end of 2012.)

Both Wells Fargo and Bank of America had withdrawn funding for the Boy Scouts in the past.

According to an Associated Press report, Wells Fargo stopped funding the Boy Scouts in 1992 because the Boy Scouts' policy conflicted with Wells Fargo's non-discrimination policy.

That appears to have changed when Wells Fargo merged with Norwest Corp. in 1998, and area managers were charged with making funding decisions.

"Norwest saw a need to decentralize decision-making, and it was agreed to let local bank presidents decide if they want to donate to the Boy Scouts," said spokesman Larry Haeg, according to a Washington Times article published in 2000.

According to Wells Fargo spokesman Jim Nawrocki, that is the current policy of Wells Fargo. "Our position is that local leaders are in the best position to know the specific needs of their community," he told TAI in an email.

Bank of America found itself the target of dueling boycotts in the summer of 1992. An anti-gay group, the American Family Association, led the initial boycott after the bank pledged to withhold funding to the Boy Scouts because of its policy banning gays.

The AFA said that Bank of America, along with Wells Fargo and Levis Strauss, was "aggressively promoting the homosexual lifestyle." In a July 1992 press statement, AFA head Don Wildmon said, "The fact that they would penalize the Boy Scouts because they would not endorse homosexuality shows that they no longer want or desire the business of the overwhelming majority of Americans."

Republican members of Congress circulated a letter to the Bank of America urging them to restore funding.

Bank of America relented and promised to continue funding the Boy Scouts, according to press reports at the time. That move sparked a new round of boycotts, this time by the LGBT community, but the bank stayed firm in its decision. Bank of America did not respond to repeated requests for information regarding its current policy.

Other corporate foundations giving at least $10,000 to the Boy Scouts in 2010 included the Abbott Fund at about $37,000, the Caterpillar Foundation at $25,000, Illinois Tool Works Foundation gave roughly $22,000, the Dow Chemical Company Foundation at $12,000, the Nationwide Insurance Foundation at about $46,000, the Monsanto Fund at about $55,000, the PNC Foundation at about $49,000, and the Allstate Fund at $21,000. The Emerson Charitable Trust, the philanthropic arm of Emerson Electric, gave $533,000 during its fiscal year ending September 30, 2010.

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